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Marine Life & Conservation

Chris Packham, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and Amanda Holden Join Campaign to Stop Satellite-Assisted Slaughter in the Oceans




Environmentalists and broadcasters Chris Packham, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and Amanda Holden today called on a UK satellite company to stop providing GPS data to fisheries that puts vulnerable ocean species at risk of extinction.

Seven senior lawmakers including Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb and Martyn Day MP have also signed a letter drawn up by more than 100 marine conservation groups, scientists, and global lawmakers calling on Iridium Satellite UK Ltd to stop profiting from the overfishing of tuna.

The letter points out that unsustainable industrial-scale tuna fishing in the Indian Ocean is being made possible by satellite companies that provide crucial GPS communications to European fishing companies.

Iridium Satellite UK Limited provides sales, marketing, and technical support to customers in regions surrounding the Indian Ocean where yellowfin tuna populations are crashing towards collapse.

It has supplied tens of thousands of GPS-tracked short-burst data devices that commercial fisheries use to monitor fish across vast swathes of ocean – allowing them to overfish juvenile yellowfish tuna and other threatened species.

The devices also cause widespread marine plastics litter and e-waste pollution when they break apart at sea and wash up on beaches and coral reefs or sink to the seabed.

The letter calls on Iridium to halt the provision of real-time tracking through its short-burst data services to the tuna fishing industry in the Indian Ocean.

Chris Packham, Wildlife TV Presenter, Conservationist and Campaigner, said: “There is something both sad and sinister about the invention and deployment of these dystopian devices. Sad because they seriously exacerbate the rate of decline of increasingly rare fish populations, and sinister because they drift unseen in distant seas on the pretext of offering shelter and respite to marine life. In fact, they are insidious traps set by a greedy unsustainable industry hell bent on maximising profits over any protection of these ecosystems. Bobbing out there, the quiet slop of waves on the buoy, adrift in a vast blue ocean but connected by a clever but dangerous burst of technology which sets in place a slaughter. It’s all very Skynet, in both the Sci-Fi and real sense. And ironic that it’s facilitated by a company that prides itself on saving and protecting lives. Iridium doesn’t need this, the oceans don’t need this, and tuna, sharks, dolphins and turtles don’t need it either.”

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Broadcaster and Campaigner, said: “I was shocked to learn that Iridium, via its ‘low-earth-orbit’ satellite network, is supporting unsustainable commercial fishing activities in the Indian Ocean by providing GPS communications to industrial fishing 2 boats engaged in massive overfishing of tuna stocks. This, I’m told, is leading to the decimation of endangered shark, turtle, whale, and dolphin populations.

“Iridium’s electronic devices should not be in the ocean in the first place as they are contributing to toxic electronic waste and plastics pollution which devastates thousands of miles of coral reefs, seagrass meadows and beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline. Furthermore, these industrial fishing operations are stealing fish from impoverished African communities, so Iridium is complicit in that too. Please, Iridium, just abide by your own commendable environmental commitments as posted on your website, rather than making a completely hypocritical mockery of your professed concern for the future of our oceans.”

Martyn Day, Scottish National Party MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, said: “Iridium has been found to be acting irresponsibly and of being an enabler of unsustainable overfishing and dirty plastics pollution in the Indian Ocean, despite the high-minded environmental claims on its website. What is also shockingly apparent is that low-orbit space is a lawless free-for-all zone where anything goes, and where satellite companies can shirk their corporate, environmental, and social responsibilities.

“The UK government should step in to regulate Iridium’s unsustainable actions which are causing endangered species like sharks, whales, and turtles to be wiped out on an unimaginable scale by greedy industrial fisheries that rely on Iridium’s GPS data. Industrial fisheries will stop at nothing to provide UK supermarkets with cheap tuna at rock bottom prices, but the real cost of cheap tuna is plastics pollution and the depletion of our ocean biodiversity. Iridium is complicit in that.”

U.K. House of Lords Peer, Baroness Jenny Jones of Moulsecoomb said: “The more we abuse this planet and the less care we give it, then the less we get back in return.”

Spanish and French tuna fishing vessels have for years been plundering the Indian Ocean for cheap tuna, much of which ends up on supermarket shelves in the UK. Several endangered species are being pushed to the brink of extinction in the process, including sharks, whales, and turtles.

Alarm is also rising in the science community who say the satellite industry is complicit in the slaughter and that Iridium must take responsibility for its role.

Twelve prominent scientists, including fisheries conservation biologist Professor Callum Roberts of Exeter University, and the Maldives Space Research Organisation have also signed the letter.

Dr April Burt, Consulting Scientist at the Seychelles Islands Foundation, and an Environmental Researcher at the University of Oxford, said: “The implications of Iridium’s satellite devices reach far beyond the immediate wholesale destruction of a species and impact the livelihoods and welfare of millions of people in the Indian Ocean region who are dependent on small[1]scale fisheries.

“Then there are the ever-cascading effects of Iridium-enabled plastic satellite buoys that clog up turtle nesting beaches and break down into smaller and smaller particles that wreak havoc on marine ecosystems, fish biology and ultimately human health.”

Marine Conservation Professor Callum Roberts, of the University of Exeter’s Centre for Ecology and Conservation, said: “In only a few decades, the use of satellite tracked fish aggregating devices has massively accelerated the plunder of open ocean fish, inflicting immense collateral damage on wildlife and habitats. If comparable destructive exploitation was happening on land, in plain sight, there would be an immediate clamour for the practice to be banned.”

Dr Rashid Sumaila, Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries in Canada said: “Technology, satellite technology in particular, should be used to ensure that aquatic ecosystems and the life they sustain are conserved and sustainably managed for the benefits of all generations. Unfortunately, they are currently mostly used to delete fish populations while harming the ecosystem.”

Alex Hofford, a marine wildlife campaigner with UK charity Shark Guardian, said: “Iridium’s behaviour in the Indian Ocean is an affront to decency. They have turned a blind eye to unsustainable overfishing for too long, reaping vast profits as fragile ecosystems are destroyed and endangered shark, ray, turtle, and cetacean populations are decimated by European tuna boats that rely on their satellite data services for their plunder.”

The letter, sent on 26 January 2024, contrasts progressive environmental and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) statements on Iridium’s website with the reality of its partnership with harmful industrial fishing companies.

For the full text of the letter, please click here.


Invitation from The Ocean Cleanup for San Francisco port call



the ocean cleanup

6 years ago, The Ocean Cleanup set sail for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with one goal: to develop the technology to be able to relegate the patch to the history books. On 6 September 2024, The Ocean Cleanup fleet returns to San Francisco bringing with it System 03 to announce the next phase of the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and to offer you a chance to view our cleanup system up-close and personal.
We look forward to seeing you there.

To confirm your presence, please RSVP to


Join The Ocean Cleanup as our two iconic ships and the extraction System 03 return to San Francisco, 6 years and over 100 extractions after we set sail, to create and validate the technology needed to rid the oceans of plastic.
Our founder and CEO, Boyan Slat, will announce the next steps for the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Giving you a chance to view our cleanup system and the plastic extracted.
Hear important news on what’s next in the mission of The Ocean Cleanup as it seeks to make its mission of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic an achievable and realistic goal.
Interviews and vessel tours are available on request.


Date: September 6, 2024
Press conference: 12 pm (noon)
Location: The Exploratorium (Google Maps)
Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green Street), San Francisco, CA
Parking: Visit The Exploratorium’s website for details.
Video & photo material from several viewing spots around the bay

We look forward to seeing you there!

The Ocean Cleanup is an international non-profit that develops and scales technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. They aim to achieve this goal through a dual strategy: intercepting in rivers to stop the flow and cleaning up what has already accumulated in the ocean. For the latter, The Ocean Cleanup develops and deploys large-scale systems to efficiently concentrate the plastic for periodic removal. This plastic is tracked and traced to certify claims of origin when recycling it into new products. To curb the tide via rivers, The Ocean Cleanup has developed Interceptor™ Solutions to halt and extract riverine plastic before it reaches the ocean. As of June 2024, the non-profit has collected over 12 million kilograms (26.4 million pounds) of plastic from aquatic ecosystems around the world. Founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup now employs a broadly multi-disciplined team of approximately 140. The foundation is headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and opened its first regional office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2023.

Find out more about The Ocean Cleanup at

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Marine Life & Conservation




A shark has been spotted approaching Royal William Yard in Plymouth, much to the surprise of swimmers, paddleboarders and onlookers.

With its distinctive dorsal fin cutting through the water, the sizeable shark swam along the coastline, before turning to head inland towards Firestone Arch at Royal William Yard. The appearance drew a crowd, who were captivated for more than an hour by the unusual sight – and it was all caught on video.

The shark is one of many expected sightings at Royal William Yard over the coming weeks… because today marks the start of Shark Month!

In reality, the ‘shark’ spotted along the Plymouth shoreline was actually a custom-made model, created by the team at Royal William Yard and sailed underwater by Caroline Robertson‑Brown​​​​ from the Shark Trust, who donned scuba diving gear for the occasion.

The stunt took place to launch Shark Month in style and draw attention to the work of the leading international conservation charity, which is based in Britain’s Ocean City. Spectators were reassured that the water was safe and many entered into the spirit of the performance, swimming or sailing alongside the shark.

Shark Month will take place across Royal William Yard throughout July and will feature an extravaganza of art, entertainment and advocacy for everyone to enjoy. The packed programme of events starts with an art exhibition and ends with a trip on paddleboards with shark experts – with everything from a shark quiz to a Jaws screening in between.

Paul Cox, CEO of the Shark Trust, said: “There are often assumptions and misconceptions when it comes to sharks. This was certainly the case with the shark spotted at Royal William Yard! While the British coastline is home to many species of shark, this was not one of them. However, we’re thrilled it caught people’s attention, because seeing a shark is a special and memorable moment. That is precisely why we want to celebrate these incredible creatures, highlight the need for conservation, and ask for help to safeguard their future.”

For more information about Shark Month at Royal William Yard, visit the Shark Trust Website.

Images and video: Jay Stone

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