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Marine Life & Conservation

Japanese whaling ship rams Sea Shepherd boat in the South Pole after whale slaughter – watch video



A Japanese harpoon whaling ship has rammed a conservationist protestors’ vessel in dramatic scenes in icy seas off Antarctica.

Video released by anti-whaling organisation, Sea Shepherd, shows the Japanese ship the Yushin Maru 2 crashing into the bow of the Bob Barker last week in the Southern Ocean off the South Pole.

Sea Shepherd claims the collision was deliberate and part of a sustained attack by three whaling ships on the protestors.

Sea Shepherd BoatsThe Sea Shepherd boats, the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin, were patrolling off Antarctica in the RossSea, the most pristine marine ecosystem on earth in which a high concentration of marine wildlife has remained mostly free from pollution, mining and fishing.

Known as “the last ocean”, the RossSea teems with large predatory fish, whales, seals and penguins.

The Sea Shepherd vessels had sailed to the Ross Sea to interfere with a Japanese whaling fleet comprising the Yushin Maru, Yushin Maru 2, Yushin Maru 3 and the world’s only whaling factory ship, the Nisshin Maru.

Sea Shepherd claims the Japanese ships launched a sustained eight hour attack from around 1am Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) on Sunday 2nd February.

Sea Shepherd prepare to ramSea Shepherd said its ships had positioned themselves off the Nisshin Maru’s slipway to block the harpoon vessels from loading the corpses of whales they had caught onto the factory ship.

The Nisshin Maru is chartered by Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), which claims to be a nonprofit research organization of whales and dolphins, but which Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace say is just a Japanese Government-funded operation for slaughtering whales for profit.

In the attack, which continued until 9am, the harpoon vessels overtook the Sea Shepherd ships, crossing their bows and coming within three to five metres in numerous “dangerous manoeuvres”, Sea Shepherd claimed.

It said the Yushin Maru 3 struck the Bob Barker and quoted the ship’s captain, Peter Hammarstedt, and  Siddarth Chakravarty of the Steve Irwin saying the two ships on several occasions had to steer out of the harpoon whalers’ paths, narrowly avoiding potential collisions.

Sea Shepherd Masked Man‘The whaling vessels also made consecutive attempts to foul the propellers of the Sea Shepherd ships by dragging steel cable across the bow of the conservation ships,’ Sea Shepherd said.

Greenpeace claims the Nisshin Maru has twice rammed its vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, although the Institute for Cetacean Research contested Greenpeace was to blame.

ICR says on its website Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd engage in dangerous ‘sabotage’ which endangers life at sea.

‘Sea Shepherd group, one of several Greenpeace offshoots, joined the interference against Japan’s whale research and, imitating Greenpeace methods such as illegal boarding and ramming of research vessels, started to use increasingly dangerous and violent sabotage methods which include entangling devices (propeller foulers), throwing and shooting of chemical-containing projectiles, smoke bombs and incendiary devices,’ ICR said.

Sea Shepherd Jap Research‘Such dangerous actions by these groups are not peaceful protest but unforgivable acts akin to terrorism that threaten human life at sea.

‘Over and over again we have strongly condemned the harassment and sabotage actions by these groups and demand again that they refrain from further spreading violence under pretext of protecting whales.’

Sea Shepherd’s team of volunteers from around the world has photographed the ICR’s harpooning of whales, and slaughter of dolphins in the Japanese port of Taiji.

Australian Alana West told of the scene at Taiji last year, when the Japanese team herded a pod of striped dolphins into Taiji Cove and how she could hear ‘the distress cries of the dying pod members’.

Sea Shepherd boat and dolphins‘Although the noise and confusion of the killing must have been terrifying for these dolphins, they did not swim to the other end of the Cove, as they so wanted to be with their pod members who were in fear and pain and were taking their last breaths,’ Alana said.

‘It was incredibly harrowing to witness.’




Here is the video:

[youtube id=”7QCKpq15qTI” width=”100%” height=”400px”]

Marine Life & Conservation

Blue Marine Foundation launches new partnership with Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance



Ocean charity makes initial grant of $90,000 to marine parks on six Dutch Caribbean islands. Award will fund projects including coral protection, and training youth marine rangers.

Ocean conservation charity Blue Marine Foundation has announced it is awarding $90,000 in funding to support marine conservation in the Dutch Caribbean. A range of projects run by protected area management organisations on six islands will each receive a grant of $15,000. The funding is the first step in a longer-term partnership to support the islands and help secure sustainable financing through the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) Trust fund.

To improve ocean governance, Blue Marine uses a combination of top-down intervention and bottom-up project delivery to help local communities at the front line of conservation. It will work together with the DCNA to help marine-park organisations protect the unique and threatened biodiversity of the Dutch Caribbean.

The new partnership is an important development in the successful management of marine conservation parks in the Dutch Caribbean. The UK-based charity has established a small-grants fund to provide rapid access to support for critical conservation projects run by marine parks.

The individual projects and their local partners are:

Unique ecosystems on the islands are vulnerable to threats such as feral livestock causing sedimentation on reefs, and invasive species, including lionfish and coral diseases. They are also at risk from overfishing, climate change, coastal development, erosion and the build-up of harmful algae caused by waste water.

The islands of the Dutch Caribbean are also home to important “blue carbon” habitats – ocean ecosystems such as seagrasses, mangroves and other marine plants that suck up and lock away carbon from the earth’s atmosphere. Seagrass is so efficient at this it can capture and store carbon dioxide up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests.  The management and protection of these blue carbon habitats is vital in the fight against climate change.

Current marine conservation measures in the islands include a 25,390 square km mammal and shark sanctuary- Yarari sanctuary- across the Exclusive Economic Zone of Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius. All six islands have inshore Marine Protected Areas ranging in size from 10 to 60 sq km.

Blue Marine’s Senior Project Manager Jude Brown commented: “Having recently visited two of the islands, I witnessed first-hand how special this region is. Diving the waters off Saba I saw huge Tarpon swimming amongst shoals of blue tang, and hawksbill turtles feeding on the seagrass beds. I also witnessed the challenges these islands are facing from coral disease to issues with coastal development. It is an exciting opportunity to work in the Dutch Caribbean, bringing expertise and funding from Blue Marine to join with the wealth of knowledge already on the islands, to work together to protect the important marine life arounds these islands.”

Tadzio Bervoets, Director of the DNCA commented: “The Dutch Caribbean consists of the Windward Islands of St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius and the Leeward Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The nature of the Dutch Caribbean contains the richest biodiversity in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The diverse ecosystems are a magnet for tourism and at the same time the most important source of income for residents of the Dutch Caribbean. Nature on the islands is unique and important but it is also fragile. The coming week we will be in The Netherlands to present a Climate Action Plan for the Dutch Caribbean to emphasize the urgent need for a climate smart future for our islands.”

Photo: Coral reefs in the Dutch Caribbean- Photo credit: Naturepics: Y.+T. Kühnast- all rights reserved

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Marine Life & Conservation

CCMI announces launch of two key projects, supported by RESEMBID



Building Resilient Reefs

Project title: Increasing Coral Reef Resilience with Assisted Evolution via Selective Restoration

Via this recently awarded RESEMBID grant, funded by the European Union, CCMI aims to rebuild coral reef ecosystem resilience through cutting-edge restoration techniques. The project will develop assisted evolution methods via selective restoration with stress (heat and disease) tolerant corals, to promote and sustain biodiversity of these threatened ecosystems.

This project will build on CCMI’s past research, incorporating our understanding of coral restoration disease resistance and outplanting methodology, while conducting state of the art experimentation to assess thermal tolerance, all of which will be used to increase the resilience of coral reefs through advanced restoration practices. Visiting collaborator Dr. John Bruno (Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), will be joining the team in the field in April 2022 and will also be present for the press conference. Outcomes from the work will include improved restoration strategies that will be shared regionally – seeking to ultimately increase coral resilience throughout the Caribbean. A short project overview will be given, including the opportunity for Q&As. The press conference will then be followed by a Reef Lecture by Dr John Bruno on the wider threats to global coral reef health.

Adapting to COVID-19

Project Title: Urgent technical assistance to support CCMI’s capacity to be a regional leader in protecting marine biodiversity and improving resilience.

This project is supported by a RESEMBID grant, funded by the European Union, which will enable CCMI to manage the impacts of COVID-19 by improving health and safety features of the facilities infrastructure and adapting emergency management processes. The grant will support enhanced operational resilience, thereby supporting CCMI’s continued work on improving and protecting marine biodiversity in the Cayman Islands and wider Overseas Territories.

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