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Marine Life & Conservation

PAUL WATSON & SEA SHEPHERD

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Introduction by Jeff Goodman

There are many ways in which we as individuals and conservationists can influence how our ecosystems and the dependent wildlife may be protected. Some of us simply talk about issues over a cup of coffee or pint of beer. Others may join a wildlife group or donate money to a popular cause. Any effort made in the name of conservation is worthwhile, but some people are driven to make that effort become their life’s work.

While many talk the talk, some are walking the walk and they are putting themselves physically on the line, protecting our natural world from those who would destroy it. Paul Watson is one such person.

I first met Paul in 1987 near Plymouth in the UK. He was about to start a campaign against the Pilot Whale slaughter that takes place in the Faroe Islands every year. The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing country within the Danish Realm since 1948 and have taken control of most of their domestic matters.

I was trying to convince the BBC that we should follow Paul and his crew to document this appalling and unsustainable killing of these migratory animals. They weren’t sure…. then as luck would have it a few local schools in Plymouth got behind the campaign and raised money to support it. This gave me the link to local BBC I needed and the film was commissioned. I feel I got to know Paul well on that trip and was humbled by the man’s determination to save our marine life. Not only that, he was a really genuine, cheerful and very intelligent person. I last worked with him a few years later on an anti drift net fishing campaign in the North Pacific and then we met again briefly in 1990. Paul has endured many hardships during his campaigning, trying to make this world a better place for all of us.

He is continually hounded by governments and international agencies who seem to have financial gain high on their agendas and very little regard for the environment. It is now 2013 and I am back in touch with Paul because of my conservation role with Scubaverse. I asked him for an article that would inspire people, who were unfamiliar with his work, to think about and even take an active role in conservation. The following is that article. You can learn more about Sea Shepherd at http://www.seashepherd.org.  I will be following the work of Sea Shepherd and Paul closely and will report regularly on their activities.

 Eco-Exile Adrift in a Sea of Trouble

15th July 2013

By Captain Paul Watson

I am writing as an exile upon the ocean. I cannot come to land anywhere because I have been placed on the Interpol Red List by Costa Rica and by Japan.

I have been at sea now for eleven months.

I did not kill or even injure anyone. I did not damage any property nor did I steal anything. What I did was much worse in the eyes of some governments – I saved lives!

Costa Rica at the request of Japan dug up an incident from 2002 where at the request of the government of Guatemala I stopped a Costa Rican long liner from catching and finning sharks in Guatemalan waters.  The warrant calling for my arrest on the charge of “creating a danger to ships or aircraft” came only days after the President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla met with the Prime Minister of Japan.

Costa Rica requested my name be placed on the Interpol Red List but this request was rejected by Interpol. It was for an incident a decade earlier which had been dismissed at the time on the basis that our film and witnesses demonstrated that the charge was simply the complaining of shark finners caught in the act of poaching in foreign waters.

Then in May 2012 while on my way to France on a Lufthansa flight from Denver, Colorado I was detained at Frankfurt airport by Germany on the Costa Rican request. I pointed out that Interpol had rejected the request. The Germans responded by saying that Germany made the decision to act independently of Interpol. This was two weeks before the state visit to Germany by Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.

And so I was detained for 8 days in a maximum security prison and then released on a €250,000 bond and ordered to remain in Frankfurt until a decision on extradition was made.  I waited patiently, reporting to the police twice a day for two months until around the end of July I received a confidential phone call from a supporter inside the German Ministry of Justice who warned me that I was to be arrested the next day and extradited to Japan.

While I was waiting in Germany, Japan had requested extradition from Germany.

Knowing that if extradited to Japan I would most likely never leave that country, at least not alive, I elected to depart Germany.

The Japanese were accusing me of ordering Peter Bethune to trespass on a Japanese whaling ship by boarding it after the ship had cut his own vessel in two. Bethune was arrested and taken back to Japan where he struck a plea agreement with the Japanese, exchanging a suspended sentence for an accusation that I had ordered him to board the vessel.

In actual fact I am on camera on the Animal Planet show Whale Wars advising him not to board the Japanese vessel.

I left Germany and boarded a small sailboat in the Netherlands where I proceeded to cross both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. I did not have any passports or papers so I could not go on land. However I did manage after four months to reach the waters off American Samoa in the South Pacific where I rejoined my ship the Steve Irwin in time for the voyage to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to once again intervene against the illegal whaling operations by the Japanese whaling fleet.

It was a week after leaving Germany that the Costa Rican and the Japanese warrants were accepted by Interpol making it impossible for me to land onshore anywhere. This was done more on Germany’s request than Costa Rica or Japan although Germany has since dropped their warrant for me.

Pete Bethune has since signed an affidavit stating that he signed the accusations under duress but despite this, Interpol refuses to drop the Red Listing.

No one has ever been placed on the Interpol Red List for trespassing and especially when the person was not the actual person trespassing.

However I am not overly surprised. The real reason that I am on the list is because I have led eight campaigns to the Southern Ocean to oppose the illegal whaling activities of the Japanese whaling fleet and it has cost them tens of millions of dollars in lost profits.

In 2011, the Japanese whalers were allocated $30 Million U.S. from the Tsunami Relief Fund for the purpose of shutting down Sea Shepherd and myself. With that money they are suing Sea Shepherd in the U.S., hiring P.R. firms to demonize Sea Shepherd and myself, and increasing their security around their ships.

Despite this, Sea Shepherd interventions in January and February 2013 prevented the Japanese whalers from killing 90% of their intended victims.

And despite shutting down funding for the campaign from Sea Shepherd USA through the U.S. courts, Sea Shepherd Australia is continuing to lead the effort to stop the whale poachers off the coast of Antarctica. In December 2013, the Sea Shepherd fleet and more than a hundred volunteers will once more return for Operation Relentless.

Although many people think that all Sea Shepherd does is protect whales, the fact is that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has become a global network of national groups addressing issues right across the world’s oceans from working with the rangers in Ecuador to protecting the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve, to taking Gooseneck barnacle poachers to court in France.

Sea Shepherd is battling Bluefin tuna fishermen off the coast of Libya and in the British Courts and Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians spends half the year working to defend dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

What is unique about Sea Shepherd is that we are a network of passionate volunteers working globally to intervene and uphold international conservation law when governments refuse to do so. We are also unique in not spending donor’s money on promotion and fund-raising. Sea Shepherd money goes into ships and campaigns and as a result Sea Shepherd, founded in 1977, has become the world’s most aggressive marine conservation society.

We have one basic message and it is this; our ocean is dying and if the ocean dies, we die. We cannot live on this planet with a dead ocean. It is as simple as that.

sea-shepard-2These are dangerous times to be a conservation activist. Last month 26 year-old turtle conservationist Jairo Mora Sandoval was murdered on the beach where he was trying to defend turtle nests from turtle egg poachers. Jairo had been asking for police protection for weeks before his death and after his murder one Costa Rican government minister insensitively stated that he would not have died if he had not put himself in such a dangerous place.

Not much about this murder has been in the international media. Just another death of someone trying to defend life on the planet. Meanwhile when we succeed in non-violently preventing the killing of a whale in a whale sanctuary, the stories describe us as violent, radical, and even eco-terrorists.

Our oceans are in trouble and governments are doing very little. The only thing that stands between the destroyers of oceanic eco-systems and their victims are passionate individuals who are jailed, beaten and murdered for their efforts.

This is everyone’s fight no matter where people live for what we are fighting for is to maintain and defend the life support system for the planet.

Whatever the risks, they are risks worth taking, because if the oceans die, sooner or later we all die.

In addition to being one of the co-founders of Greenpeace in 1972 and Greenpeace International in 1979, Paul Watson is the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - an organization dedicated to research, investigation and enforcement of laws, treaties, resolutions and regulations established to protect marine wildlife worldwide.

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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the ocean cleanup
  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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Marine Life & Conservation

Dive with a Purpose: Shark Guardian’s Expedition Galapagos

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Shark Guardian has just unveiled their largest and most exciting expedition yet: a seven-night, eight-day adventure in August 2026 aboard the Galaxy Diver II, a state-of-the-art
vessel specifically designed for divers exploring the enchanting waters of the Galapagos
Islands. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage deeply with marine
conservation in one of the world’s most revered diving destinations.

Shark Guardian is a UK registered charity dedicated to protecting sharks and marine
ecosystems worldwide. Founded by marine biologists and conservationists, Brendon
Sing and Liz Ward-Sing, Shark Guardian leads educational programs, research projects,
campaigns and expeditions aimed at fostering a better understanding and respect for
marine life. Their work spans several continents and focuses on direct action,
education, and advocacy.

Shark Guardian’s ethos revolves around the concept of “diving with a purpose.” This
philosophy underscores the importance of not just experiencing the wonders of the
underwater world but actively learning and contributing to its preservation. Participants
in Shark Guardian expeditions engage in citizen science projects, which involve
collecting data that supports ongoing research and conservation efforts. These
activities empower divers to make a tangible difference, turning each dive into an act of
conservation.

One of the newer additions to the Galapagos diving scene, the Galaxy Diver II, is
specifically tailored for divers. Its design prioritises comfort, safety, and environmental
responsibility. The vessel boasts modern amenities, spacious dive decks, and the latest
navigational technology, ensuring that every dive is not only memorable but also has
minimal environmental impact.

A highlight of this expedition is the opportunity to dive at Wolf and Darwin islands,
renowned for their vibrant, untouched marine ecosystems and as a haven for large
pelagic species. These islands are famous for their schools of hammerhead sharks,
whale sharks, and manta rays, offering spectacular diving that attracts enthusiasts from
around the globe.

Shark Guardian have developed this trip to ensure a hassle-free experience. The
expedition package also includes internal flights from Quito, Ecuador, to the Galapagos,
plus accommodation in Quito before and after the trip. This allows divers to relax and
enjoy the experience without worrying about logistics.

Participants will join a diverse group of passionate divers and conservationists. This trip
offers a unique opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are eager to
learn about and contribute to marine conservation. It’s a chance to share experiences,
knowledge, and a commitment to protecting the marine world.

sharks

Shark Guardian is offering an early bird price available until May 31st 2024. This special
rate provides a fantastic opportunity to secure a spot on this exclusive expedition at a
reduced cost. Availability is limited, so interested divers are encouraged to act quickly
to ensure they don’t miss out. All the details can be found on their WeTravel page, where
bookings can be made easily and payment instalments are available.

Expedition Galapagos, aboard the Galaxy Diver II offers more than just a diving
holiday—it is an investment in both personal and planetary well-being. By participating,
divers not only witness the majesty of one of the world’s premier diving locales but also
contribute to its preservation for future generations.

Find out more about Shark Guardian at www.sharkguardian.org.

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