Now that Ocean Alliance has moved our offices into the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory in Gloucester, MA the next step is to turn the rest of the site into an oceanographic research and education center. To do this we need to finish the second set of larger brick buildings and install docks. We are now focusing on raising the funds to replace the roofs on the larger brick buildings. Read More
Yesterday members of Ocean Alliance joined Sea Shepherd Boston for the World Love for Dolphins Day protest in front of the Japanese Consulate in Boston. The weather cleared long enough to shine some sun on the group with signs in the heart of Boston’s financial district. The protest coincided with demonstrations in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. organized by Sea Shepherd USA, along with a Valentines drive with children sending Valentines from around the country to the Japanese Embassy in D.C. Three Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians — Olga Pristin, Graziella Garri and Alex Shopov were in attendance to answer questions about their experiences on the ground in Taiji, Japan.
The reception of the demonstration in Boston was enthusiastic with lots of horns honking and thumbs up. A group of middle school and high school students cheered as they passed. Lots of Bostonians stopped to ask questions about the situation in Taiji, most had never heard of the dolphin drives and slaughter.
The season in Taiji lasts through the month of March and the Cove Guardians will be there until the end to witness and livestream on their website.
The news broke this week that scientists from the British Antarctic Survey, led by Peter Fretwell, have created new satellite technologies that will allow researchers to conduct whale surveys from space instead of the traditional aerial and land-based surveys.
The BBC News spoke to our Right Whale Program Director Vicky Rowntree about our work with southern right whales in Argentina and what this new technology will mean for the future of whale research. Listen to the interview here.
Ocean pollution met fashion this weekend at the launch of the Vortex Project – a collaboration between Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Bionic Yarn and Cookies for All to turn ocean debris into recyclable fashion. The New York Fashion Week event was held at the American Museum of Natural History under the blue whale with press, fashion industry professionals and celebrities gathered to learn about the first project of the collaboration — Raw for the Oceans, a line of blue jeans with partners G-Star.
Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr was invited to join the lineup of speakers to talk about our work in the collection of data concerning the invisible pollutants that collect in the bodies of marine mammals and ultimately humans. He described the oceans as the blue heart and blood of this planet – the life support system, “And as any NASA astronaut knows, when life support goes down, all is lost.”
Photographer David LaChapelle introduced Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson, who talked about the current state of the oceans and the efforts of the many Sea Shepherd teams around the world battling whaling, poaching and now pollution. Other speakers included Bionic Yarn’s co-founding partners Tim Coombs and Tyson Toussant, G-star CMO Thecla Schaefer and Sea Shepherd consulting scientist, R&D Developer of The Vortex Project, John Davis, and Daniella Russo of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
The celebrity draw of the evening was Grammy-winning artist Pharrell Williams, an investor and ambassador for Bionic Yarns, who wore a shirt made with the product. He talked of the backlash he receives as a successful recording artist, perceived as wealthy and wasteful, when in reality he is passionate about environmental activism and the use of green technologies to solve problems of pollution. A self-proclaimed Trekkie and lover of the work of Carl Sagan, Pharrell impressed the audience with his humility and curiosity in science as a solution. He shared this video he narrated about G-Star’s Raw for the Oceans line, set to his Oscar-nominated hit “Happy”:
At the end of the evening Iain Kerr passed along a gift he had brought for Pharrell – “Songs of the Humpback Whale” by Ocean Alliance President and founder Roger Payne. He was told that Pharrell had been given many a cd’s of songs in his career, but this was definitely the first from whales.
(Pictured top left: Iain Kerr, Tyson Toussant, Thecla Schaefer and Pharrell Williams. Above right: Captain Paul Watson)
Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr and team members Dan Albani and John Graham made another visit to Dr. Drew Bennett at Olin College of Engineering on Monday. We are pushing hard to make our headquarters, the Paint Factory in Gloucester, MA, into a fully functioning oceanographic research center this year and to do that we need a laboratory and docks. The laboratory will be multi-use, but the lead initiative is a robotics lab. This will be a space that is not only used by Ocean Alliance and Olin College for our marine projects, but a space that we hope will be used by school groups and others who are interested in applied engineering solutions. [Pictured – Iain Kerr and Drew Bennett. The yellow copter is a dedicated film platform that we plan to use to document animal interactions with other drones]
For the OA team, going to Olin is a bit like going to a giant toy factory. The equipment they have is remarkable — not only the finished products such as multicopters and airplanes but also the technology that they use such as 3D printers and fine-scale milling machines. We walk through their spaces and they advise us on what worked well for them and what did not. We had a long planning session on the next stages for our SnotBot Program (a small drone that will be used to collect physical samples of whale blows). It should be an exciting year for this partnership.
[Below] Iain Kerr and Olin students Mike and Silas in front of a small milling machine. A drone can be seen on the computer screen and parts can be made on the milling machine. The two black and silver machines in the background are 3-D printers
Dr. Bennett and his students showing Iain a hexacopter (a five engine drone)