Monthly Archives

January 2014

Iain Kerr Reports from the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference

By | Gulf of Mexico, Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

This post comes from Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr in the snowy Gulf of Mexico:

John Wise and Iain KerrIt was a very full few days here at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference.  Over 800 dedicated people.  If there is any good news coming out of the BP disaster it is the increased interest in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.   Part of what drives me is to try to get people to appreciate that we live on planet Ocean not planet Earth.  The largest mediating force on this planet is our oceans, not our land masses. Alas the oceans are downhill from everything and as a consequence are becoming humanity’s sewer. Read More

Thank You Pete Seeger

By | Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

Pete Seeger At 89 AlbumToday we say good-bye to musical and environmental icon Pete Seeger. Roger Payne spent time with Seeger sailing on his boat the Clearwater on the Hudson River. The sloop was symbolic of the fight and the right for clean water in the Hudson and around the world. In 1970, after hearing Roger’s recording Songs of the Humpback Whale, Seeger wrote “Song of the World’s Last Whale,” but the song wasn’t recorded until 2007 when he released the album At 89 which went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. The lyrics are shockingly current:

I heard the song
Of the world’s last whale
As I rocked in the moonlight
And reefed the sail

It’ll happen to you
Also without fail
If it happens to me
Sang the world’s last whale

It was down off Bermuda
Early last spring
Near an underwater mountain
Where the humpbacks sing

I lowered the microphone
About a quarter mile down
Switched on the recorder
Let the tape spin around

I didn’t just hear grunting
I didn’t just hear squeaks
I didn’t just hear bellows
I didn’t just hear shrieks

It was the musical singing
And the passionate wail
That came from the heart
Of the world’s last whale

Down in the Antarctic
There, the harpoons wait
But it’s up on the land
You decide my fate

In London town
They’ll be telling the tale
If it’s life or death
For the world’s last whale

So here’s a little test
To see how you feel
Here’s a little test
For this age of the automobile

If we can save
Our singers up in the sea
Perhaps there’s a chance
To save you and me

I heard the song
Of the world’s last whale
As I rocked in the moonlight
And reefed the sail

It’ll happen to you
Also without fail
If it happens to me
Sang the world’s last whale

“My job,” Seeger said, “is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.” Peter Seeger’s songs were not for him, they were for the world to sing, especially the children.

Questions Raised at Gulf Oil Spill Conference

By | Gulf of Mexico, Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

Iain Kerr at Gulf Oil Spill ConferenceOcean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr and Dr. John Wise from the Wise Laboratory are currently in Mobile, Alabama at the Gulf Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference, presenting their findings on the effects of dispersants on sperm whales in the Gulf.

In addition to presentations there are also daily discussion groups for members. Sunday’s discussion was as follows:

Setting the Record Straight: Debunking Myths and Misconceptions about Oil in the Gulf and Promoting Ocean Literacy

  • How does the 2010 Gulf oil spill, and its subsequent impacts, compare to other spills?
  • How and where did the oil move?
  • What happened to the oil?
  • How does the amount of oil leaked from Deepwater Horizon compare to natural and other releases of oil in the Gulf?
  • What is the impact of oil spills on organisms that live in the water, including those that we eat?
  • How do they clean an oil spill and can it ever be totally cleaned up?
  • What’s going to happen next time there is an oil spill?

The conference continues until Thursday and Iain will bring back as much information as he can to share.

Ocean Alliance and the Wise Laboratory at Gulf Oil Spill Conference in Mobile

By | Gulf of Mexico, Ocean Alliance News, Operation Toxic Gulf | No Comments

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 10.14.53 AM
Today Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr is traveling to the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference in Mobile, Alabama with Dr. John Wise and team from the Wise Laboratory at the University of Southern Maine. They will be presenting findings from our work in the Gulf beginning in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, specifically on the effects of chemical dispersants on the sperm whales of the Gulf. Read More

Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr Is Asking You to Help End the Taiji Dolphin Hunt

By | Commercial whaling, Ocean Alliance News, Sea Shepherd | No Comments

Iain Kerr with Atlantic Spotted Dolphins - Photo by Leonard AubeIt’s hard to express how deeply disturbing it is to see the act of barbarism that is going on in Taji, Japan right now. I consider quite a few Japanese people as close friends and I know that they abhor this hunt, so I don’t see this as a cultural act (the hunt started in 1969) but the act of a small group of individuals who have found a way to make a lot of money very quickly while hiding under a banner of culture.  Even if it was cultural this does not excuse all sins — cannibalism and slavery were once considered cultural, but as we have developed as a society we have realized these acts are unacceptable. Read More

Operation Toxic Gulf Video Highlights

By | Gulf of Mexico, Ocean Alliance News, Operation Toxic Gulf, Sea Shepherd, Sperm Whales | No Comments

Last summer was our fourth expedition in the Gulf of Mexico following up on the BP Oil Spill and we hope to return again this year. This month Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr and Dr. John Wise of the University of Southern Maine will travel to Mobile, Alabama to present findings at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference, but there’s more data to gather.

Here’s a look at some highlights of living aboard the RV Odyssey during Operation Toxic Gulf:

MEET OUR SCIENCE LIAISON IN THE SOUTHERN OCEAN – EVA HIDALGO

By | Commercial whaling, Ocean Alliance News, Pollution, Sea Shepherd Australia | No Comments

Eva HidalgoEva Hidalgo, Bosun’s Mate on the Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin, has dedicated her life to the conservation of whales and their environment. For this season’s  campaign in the Southern Ocean, Operation Relentless, not only is the Sea Shepherd fleet trying to thwart Japanese whalers, but they’re collecting invaluable data from an environment that is not easy to work in or even access. Read More

FORMER ODYSSEY CREW CONFRONT JAPANESE WHALERS

By | Commercial whaling, Ocean Alliance News, Sea Shepherd Australia | No Comments

As I write this, commercial whaling (under the false premise of scientific whaling) is going on in Antarctic waters.  Roger Payne calls this, “as egregious a misuse of science—the field I love—as I have ever seen.” This year three RV Odyssey Operation Toxic Gulf crewmembers (our 2013 Gulf of Mexico campaign) are there to try and stop it. Hillary Watson, Eliza Muirhead and Erwin Vermeulen are on board the Sea Shepherd fleet as it confronts Japanese whalers. When these three came to the Odyssey to work last summer they were already veterans of Sea Shepherd’s campaigns around the world. Now they’ve left the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico for the harsh conditions of the Southern Ocean.

Front from left - Eliza Muirhead, Lauren Paap, Second row from left - Andy Rogan, Bob Wallace, Iain Kerr, Erwin Vermeulen, Hillary Watson, Camron Adibi

Front from left – Eliza Muirhead, Lauren Paap, Second row from left – Andy Rogan, Bob Wallace, Iain Kerr, Erwin Vermeulen, Hillary Watson, Camron Adibi

The news broke this week that the Sea Shepherd fleet – the Bob Barker, Steve Irwin and Sam Simon had found the Japanese whaling fleet, but not before they had harvested four minke whales, three of which were on the deck of the factory ship, and one that had evidently already been processed. As we are collaborating with the Sea Shepherd fleet collecting sightings and other data in Antarctica, Roger Payne has been in touch with Eliza Muirhead and identified the sex of the whales lying on the deck of the Japanese ship. From left to right in the photo they are male, female and the far right whale we think but cannot confirm is also female.  Males have two genital slits while females have one, in the case of Minke whales the females can grow to be a lot larger than the males, which is what suggest to us that the far right animal is female.Dead Minkes on Nisshun Maru - Photo by Sea Shepherd Australia

We will be thinking of the safety and well-being of our friends and everyone working in that hostile environment during this campaign.

OCEAN ALLIANCE PRESENTING DISPERSANT STUDY AT GULF CONFERENCE

By | jan14, News from the Gulf, Ocean Alliance News, Operation Toxic Gulf | No Comments

 

A Guest Post by Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr:

Odyssey with oil rigOcean Alliance collects data that we hope will be used to affect change. Since the mid-eighties the Japanese and other groups have claimed they are killing whales to collect scientific data. To counter this Roger Payne proved through the development of benign research techniques that you don’t have to kill a whale to understand it biologically. Over the last four years we’ve been working in the Gulf of Mexico looking at the effects on marine mammals of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. In this case we are worried that the cure (the massive use of dispersants) was potentially worse than the illness. Read More

“WHALE WARS” CREW TO COLLECT DATA FOR OA IN ANTARCTIC WATERS

By | jan14, Ocean Alliance News, Sea Shepherd Australia | No Comments

Sea Shepherd fleet - photo by Iain KerrAt this moment a fleet of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Australia vessels are heading to the Southern Ocean to prevent Japanese whalers from killing and processing whales. For 10 years Sea Shepherd vessels have run annual campaigns in Antarctic waters; in the last few years these campaigns have been documented in the Animal Planet series “Whale Wars,” but this year they have a new objective to add to their campaign. Read More

GLOBAL STUDY REVEALS LEVELS OF LEAD IN SPERM WHALES

By | jan14, Ocean Alliance News, Voyage of the Odyssey | No Comments

Ocean Alliance believes that the greatest threat facing whales (& ultimately humanity) is ocean pollution.  Based on that premise, OA has been focusing its efforts for the last 15 years looking at the concentrations and effects of pollutants in the world’s oceans. Ocean Alliance’s five-year global study, the Voyage of the Odyssey, collected the first ever baseline data on ocean pollution using sperm whales as an indicator species. This study continues to bear fruit, with the publication of a new paper in the Marine Pollution Bulletin by our science partners at the Wise Laboratory. Read More