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It took five years, but Sea Shepherd Australia finally forced the release of footage the Australian government did not want their own people to see for fear of upsetting relations between Australia and Japan.

“The Australian Government has suppressed this footage for years,” said Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia. “The main reason given was that the images of this horrific slaughter would harm diplomatic relationships with Japan. The Australian Government has chosen to side with the poachers instead of defending the whales of the Southern Ocean.”

Sea Shepherd has been a part of a joint effort fighting the Australian Government to release rare whaling footage obtained on a 2008 Australian Customs mission to the Antarctic. “Through the Freedom of Information (FOI) process we worked with the Environmental Defenders Office NSW and Humane Society International Australia to make sure the public could finally see what this taxpayer funded operation filmed,” said Hansen.

The Japanese whalers are in contempt of the Australian Federal Court and have been fined a million dollars that they refuse to pay. The Japanese whalers have been condemned by the International Whaling Commission and the International Court of Justice. The ICJ ruled that Japanese whaling operation were not scientific and thus illegal. Japan is defying the ICJ, the IWC, the Australian Federal Court.

 

"With the whaling fleet now in the killing grounds, the question must be asked, does the Australian Government represent the wishes of the people of Australian or Japan?"

Jeff Hansen, Sea Shepherd Australia Director

 

Sea Shepherd releases suppressed Australian Government whaling footage

“This footage shows the bloody brutality, cruelty and senseless killing of such beautiful, intelligent and majestic animals. These whales are hunted down, before being hit with an explosive harpoon that sends shrapnel through their bodies, while prongs come out so that the whale cannot escape. The whale dives to try and get back to the depths below, to its family, but it can’t as the whale killers retract the cable, slowly bringing the whale to the surface, thrashing about in pain before he/she gets to eyeball their killer, before being shot until finally dying, many minutes later in a sea of blood,” said Hansen. 

“Sea Shepherd has been relentless in our opposition of the Japanese whaling fleet, filling a void in doing the job that the majority of Australian’s want to see done. Now is the time for the Australian Government to live up to its pre-election promises and send a vessel to oppose whaling by Japan. With the whaling fleet now in the killing grounds, the question must be asked, does the Australian Government represent the wishes of the people of Australian or Japan?”

Sea Shepherd is asking the Australian Government to do all it can to end whaling, by not only sending a ship to the Antarctic but to also take Japan to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, where Japan can be challenged over its activities as Japan is not meeting its international obligations to sustainably protect whales. The tribunal has a system of mandatory dispute settlement, one that's very difficult to opt out of and there is very little Japan could do about it,” concluded Hansen. 

Join the fight to convince the Australian government to protect the whales in its waters. Take action now by writing to Australia's Prime Minister Malcom Turbull or sending a Selfie to show your support.

Sea Shepherd assists Liberian Coast Guard in arrest of notorious internationally-blacklisted vessel for illegal fishing

In a joint operation in partnership with the Liberian Ministry of National Defense to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Republic of Liberia, West Africa, Sea Shepherd has assisted the Liberian Coast Guard in the arrest of a notorious fishing vessel that is on three different international blacklists. Scroll down to the bottom to watch the arrest video.

F/V was using gillnets prohibited under their licensing conditions. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
F/V was using gillnets prohibited under their licensing conditions. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

The F/V Labiko 2, a 54-meter fishing vessel provisionally registered to Liberia, was boarded by the Liberian Coast Guard with the assistance of the Sea Shepherd vessel M/Y Sam Simon on November 15th when it was intercepted actively deploying non-authorized fishing gear in Liberian waters. While the F/V Labiko 2 was licensed in Liberia to use longline fishing gear, they were deploying gillnets, which are a more destructive fishing practice given the high amount of by-catch, or non-target species catch associated with that fishing method.

F/V Labiko 2 actively fishing with illegal gear in Liberian waters. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
F/V Labiko 2 actively fishing with illegal gear in Liberian waters. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

Using non-authorized fishing gear is considered “illegal fishing” and is one of the most serious offenses under the Liberian Fisheries Regulations. On inspection, not a single longline was found on board the vessel.

The M/Y Sam Simon assisting the Liberian Coast Guard to board and inspect the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
The M/Y Sam Simon assisting the Liberian Coast Guard to board and inspect the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

The F/V Labiko 2 had been only recently issued with a Domestic Provisional Certificate of Registry by Liberian authorities. The fishing vessel was previously flagged to the Republic of Guinea and the last known beneficial owner was linked to Galicia, a region of Spain where many infamous IUU fishing vessel owners have operated from.

Much of the F/V Labiko 2 catch was sharks. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Much of the F/V Labiko 2 catch was sharks. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

In the course of the inspection, the Liberian Coast Guard discovered that the F/V Labiko 2, under its former name F/V Maine, is listed on three different Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) IUU fishing blacklists for fisheries offenses, including the blacklists of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) and the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organization (SEAFO). RFMOs are international organizations that manage fisheries for particular areas.

Sea Shepherd photographer Alba Treadwell from France documents the boarding and inspection. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

“The F/V Maine is a vessel known to Sea Shepherd, a vessel of great interest to the three RFMOs that have blacklisted it, and one that has not been seen since the Republic of Guinea stripped the vessel of its registry. It has now attempted to bring its criminal activities to Liberia, hoping to slip under the radar by using a new identity, a ruse that did not escape the watchful eye of the Liberian Coast Guard.”, said Sea Shepherd Director of Campaigns Peter Hammarstedt.

Sea Shepherd small boats from the M/Y Sam Simon delivered the Liberian Coast Guard to the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd small boats from the M/Y Sam Simon delivered the Liberian Coast Guard to the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

Not only was the F/V Labiko 2 carrying illegal fishing gear, it was also carrying 28 crew members even though it was licensed to carry a maximum crew of 23 people. Of those 28 crew members, 16 had invalid work contracts. One of the crew members had to be handcuffed after assaulting a Liberian Coast Guard boarding officer. The vessel was arrested and is now detained at the Liberian Coast Guard base in the Port of Monrovia.

Liberian Coast Guard on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Liberian Coast Guard on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

“Using illegal fishing gear in Liberian waters is a criminal offense that demands strong legal action. Liberia is not open for business to unscrupulous operators that have a history of violating the laws of other countries and who do not respect international fisheries regulations. Any attempt to similarly break the laws of Liberia will not escape the vigilance of the Liberian Coast Guard, and perpetrators will face justice in Liberia”, said Minister Brownie Samukai, Liberia’s Minister of National Defense.

Much of the F/V Labiko 2 catch was sharks. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Much of the F/V Labiko 2 catch was sharks. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

Since September 17, the marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd has been patrolling the waters of the Republic of Liberia in West Africa in an operation under the coordination of the Honorable Minister Brownie Samukai.  Sea Shepherd’s vessel the MY Sam Simon is patrolling Liberia’s coastline with 19 crew under Captain Bart Schulting, ten Liberian Coast Guard sailors with the authority to board, inspect and arrest ships suspected of violating Liberian law, and two Israeli maritime advisors and conservationists providing training assistance.

Liberian Coast Guard on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Liberian Coast Guard on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

Named Operation Sola Stella, the campaign has resulted in the arrest of six IUU fishing vessels earlier this year, including a Nigerian-shrimping trawler certified to export “sustainably-caught” shrimp into the European Union and a refrigerated cargo vessel committing identity fraud and planning to offload 460 tons of undocumented fish cargo in the Port of Monrovia.

Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing, which accounts for up to 40% of the fish caught in West African waters. Operation Sola Stella will help Liberia crack down on unlicensed foreign industrial vessels operating in its waters and protect the six nautical miles closest to shore reserved for subsistence, artisanal and semi-artisanal fishing, which employs at least 33,000 Liberians.

In 2016 Sea Shepherd partnered with the government of Gabon for Operation Albacore, resulting in over 80 fishing vessel inspections at sea and the subsequent arrest of five IUU Congolese fishing trawlers and one Spanish long-liner. Operation Sola Stella is a continuation of Sea Shepherd Global’s commitment to work with national governments to help end IUU fishing.

Liberian Coast Guard on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Liberian Coast Guard on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Shark fins on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Alba Treadwell/Sea Shepherd.
Shark fins on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Alba Treadwell/Sea Shepherd.
Shark fins on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Alba Treadwell/Sea Shepherd.
Shark fins on board the F/V Labiko 2. Photo Alba Treadwell/Sea Shepherd.

Large Fishing Trawler Arrested in Covert Operation by Sea Shepherd Global and the Liberian Authorities

In a joint operation with the Liberian Ministry of National Defense to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Republic of Liberia, West Africa, Sea Shepherd Global has assisted the Liberian Coast Guard to arrest a St Kitts and Nevis-flagged trawler for fisheries crimes including fish smuggling and violations of tax and customs laws.

The boarding of the F/V Dzintars by Liberian Coast Guard and Sea Shepherd. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
The boarding of the F/V Dzintars by Liberian Coast Guard and Sea Shepherd. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

The F/V Dzintars, a 56.11meter trawler, was boarded by the Liberian Coast Guard on the 28th of September, after the vessel shut down their Automatic Identification System (AIS) before crossing from neighboring Sierra Leone into Liberian waters. AIS is a tracking system that allows vessels to be identified by vessel traffic services including law enforcement. The F/V Dzintars stopped transmitting their identifying details and position four miles before entering Liberian waters.

The Liberian Coast Guard boarded the F/V Dzintars with the assistance of the Sea Shepherd vessel M/Y Sam Simon. After checking the vessel’s paperwork, the boarding team found that they had not declared their catch upon entering Liberian waters, a violation of Liberia’s “Catch On Entry” regulations. The vessel was also found to be without a landing declaration or the proper Liberian Import Permit for Fish and Fish Products as required under Liberian law to discharge the catch in Monrovia, the vessel’s next declared port.

Given that the Master of the vessel had deliberately turned off the AIS before entering Liberian waters, had not declared “Catch On Entry” as required by Liberian Fisheries Regulations, and did not have an Import Permit for Fish and Fish Products as required under Liberian Law, the F/V Dzintars was arrested on suspicion of illegal and unreported fishing with the criminal intent of avoiding tax and customs laws in Liberia. A wild monkey was also found on board in the fish processing plant, for which there was no paperwork provided. The vessel was detained at the Liberian Coast Guard base in the Port of Monrovia.

A Liberian Coast Guard sailor pats down the bridge crew of the Dzintars. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
A Liberian Coast Guard sailor pats down the bridge crew of the Dzintars. Photo Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
The fish hold of the Dzintars. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
The fish hold of the Dzintars. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
A wild monkey found on board in the fish processing plant. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
A wild monkey found on board in the fish processing plant. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

About Operation Sola Stella

For the past four weeks, the marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd has been secretly patrolling the waters of the Republic of Liberia in West Africa in a covert operation under the coordination of the Honorable Minister Brownie Samukai.  Sea Shepherd’s vessel the MY Sam Simon is patrolling Liberia’s coastline with 19 crew under Captain Bart Schulting, ten Liberian Coast Guard sailors with the authority to board, inspect and arrest ships suspected of violating Liberian law, and two Israeli maritime advisors and conservationists providing training assistance.

 

“The Liberian Coast Guard continues to be at the forefront of protecting Liberia’s sovereign waters from those who circumvent our law and regulations. The Ministry of National Defense sees fisheries crimes as both a maritime security issue and a national security issue and thus combatting IUU fishing is a priority for the Ministry of National Defense.”

Minister Brownie Samukai.

 

Named Operation Sola Stella, the campaign resulted in the arrest of five IUU fishing vessels earlier this year, including a Nigerian-shrimping trawler certified to export “sustainably-caught” shrimp into the European Union and a refrigerated cargo vessel of identity fraud and planning to offload 460 tons of undocumented fish cargo in the Port of Monrovia.

“Effective law enforcement requires constant pressure and that is why Sea Shepherd has decided to return to Liberia. Although we essentially shutdown IUU fishing in Liberia earlier this year with the arrest of five vessels, it’s clear that some operators are still flaunting Liberia’s laws and regulations in pursuit of profits,” said Sea Shepherd Director of Campaigns Peter Hammarstedt. “We commend the Honorable Minister of National Defense for his steadfast resolve in prioritizing fisheries crime and bringing fishing pirates to justice.”

Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing, which accounts for up to 40% of the fish caught in West African waters. This campaign will help Liberia crack down on unlicensed foreign industrial vessels operating in its waters and protect the six nautical miles closest to shore reserved for subsistence, artisanal and semi-artisanal fishing, which employs 33,000 Liberians.

In 2016 Sea Shepherd partnered with the government of Gabon for Operation Albacore, resulting in over 80 fishing vessel inspections at sea and the subsequent arrest of five IUU Congolese fishing trawlers and one Spanish long-liner. Operation Sola Stella is a continuation of Sea Shepherd Global’s commitment to work with national governments to help end IUU fishing.

Liberian Coast Guard training on board Sea Shepherd's M/Y Sam Simon. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Liberian Coast Guard training on board Sea Shepherd's M/Y Sam Simon. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

Report by Robert Read – Chief Operations Officer at Sea Shepherd UK.

Covert Op Bloody Fjords updateSea Shepherd can now reveal that as part of our ongoing Operation Bloody Fjords we coordinated ten weeks of covert land-based patrols from July to early September this year in the Danish Faroe Islands. The patrols involved a total of 18 crew from the United Kingdom and France with the aims of exposing the continued barbaric killing of dolphins and pilot whales by the Faroese, and gaining footage and photographs to look for potential breaches in Faroese animal welfare legislation.

Centrally coordinated by Sea Shepherd UK, the crews were based in six different Faroese towns covering 19 designated whaling bays. During the ten weeks our volunteer crew who used their personal vacation time to blend in with other tourists managed to document nine separate grindadráp, which accounted for the deaths of 198 Atlantic white-sided dolphins and 436 pilot whales. Crewmembers also recorded evidence of the annual Fulmar hunt, recorded the public pilot whale butchering demonstration at Klaksvik, and -- for the first time -- the transportation of six pilot whales from a grindadráp at Hvannasund to Klaksvik and across the islands for processing and sale within the main supermarket in Torshavn.

Turtle by-catch being discarded on the Montecelo. Tara Lambourne/Sea Shepherd.

With the arrival of the M/Y Bob Barker in Bremen, Germany for three months of repair work and maintenance, a joint operation between Sea Shepherd and the Gabonese government to tackle illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in Central West Africa, has officially concluded.

The campaign, Operation Albacore II, aimed to expand existing monitoring, control and surveillance measures to detect and deter IUU fishing activity, while also monitoring legal compliance by licensed fishing operators in the waters of the Republic of Gabon. During a four-month period, Gabonese Navy (Marine Nationale) and officers with the Gabonese Fisheries Enforcement Agency (ANPA) were stationed on board the Bob Barker, working alongside Sea Shepherd crew to patrol Gabon's sovereign waters. Admiral Giuseppe de Giorgi, the former Chief of the Italian Navy also crewed on the Bob Barker with Sea Shepherd, contributing his experience and skills to increase law enforcement capability in the region.

Wild Herring school pass in from of farmed salmon in Wicklow fish farm pen

Sea Shepherd and scientist Alexandra Morton have new evidence on the impacts that salmon farms have on wild fish in British Columbia, Canada.

Sea Shepherd’s research vessel, the R/V Martin Sheen, is currently in the middle of Operation Virus HunterII, a salmon defense campaign off the coast of British Columbia, assisting Morton in her investigation on the impact that salmon farms have on wild salmon and herring populations in the province.

The M/V Ocean Warrior with the Fu Yuan Yu fleet off the coast of East Timor. Photo Jake Parker/ Sea Shepherd.East Timor (Timor Leste), Southeast Asia – A joint operation conducted at dawn on September 9th by the marine conservation group Sea Shepherd Global and the East Timor National Police (PNTL - Policia Nacionale Timor-Leste) resulted in the capture of the Hong Long Fisheries / Pingtan Marine Enterprises fishing fleet at anchor off the coast of Com, East Timor.

Where Does Your Entertainment Come FromDo you know where your entertainment comes from? Video asks

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has released a video about dolphin captivity today, the same day that Japan begins its annual six-month dolphin drive in Taiji.

The video, titled "Where Does Your Entertainment Come From?" begins with shots of dolphins performing at a marine park to enthusiastic crowds. The video takes a turn when the same footage begins to go in reverse, but goes further back to trace just how dolphins end up in these dolphinariums in the first place.

Second salmon farm now occupied by First Nations

Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw arrive at Wicklow Fish Farm to begin the occupationThe Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, led by Hereditary Chief Willie Moon, occupied another Marine Harvest salmon farm, Wicklow Point, in the Broughton Archipelago off northeastern Vancouver Island, on Thursday.

This second occupation follows their August 23rd day-long peaceful occupation of Cermaq’s Burdwood Farm.

On August 24th, hereditary Chief Ernest Alfred led a group of Namgis and Mamalilikala First Nations as they occupied the Marine Harvest-owned Swanson salmon farm. Today is the eighth day of the occupation. 

Ernest shakes hands with RCMP he knows them and teaches their kidsHereditary Chief Ernest Alexander Alfred, along with a group of First Nations people, have peacefully occupied the Marine Harvest salmon farm, Swanson Island.

They state they will remain on the farm until their Chiefs are satisfied that the Province of British Columbia has cancelled that farm’s Licence of Occupation and forcing it to leave their territory. The farm is located 17km east of Alert Bay. 

On April 23, 2017, Ernest Alfred and other Hereditary Chiefs invited all political candidates to the Namgis Big House in Alert Bay to state their position on removing salmon farms to protect wild fish. Both the Green Party and the NDP candidates stated they would work to remove salmon farms from the territories of First Nations who do not want salmon farms operating in their waters.

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Sea Shepherd news articles from 2012 and earlier.

For articles from 2013 and newer, visit our Sea Shepherd News page.

 
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