Our friends from Sea Shepherd Boston were kind enough to join us this week for a shoreline clean-up of Horton Street in Gloucester, MA–home of Ocean Alliance. The rocks along our shoreline create a trap for fishing gear, water bottles, stryrofoam cups and other debris that needs to be collected every few months to prevent it from washing out to sea. It’s another example how organizations can accomplish more when they work together:
We are halfway to our goal of raising enough funds to put in a floating dock at our headquarters, the Paint Factory in Gloucester. If we’re going to reach our goal of celebrating staff-member Kim’s birthday on the dock this month we need to step up the pace. Read More
Guest Post by Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr:
What a remarkable weekend in Vermont at the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society International Summit. Sea Shepherd staff, volunteers, consultants and friends from around the world gathered to review past, current and future projects.
Dr. Roger Payne and I were invited to attend the conference to speak about the work we’re doing with Sea Shepherd on Operation Toxic Gulf. We had the privilege to meet and speak with a huge variety of people, from Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson to the newest volunteers. We were really impressed by the dedication and energy we encountered across the board. It was exciting to see how interested everyone was in the science that we are doing and the potential for future collaborations.
Highlights for me were a compilation video that documented much of Paul’s life, and meeting program managers such as Gary Stokes from Hong Kong who has helped to expose the shark finning trade, Jeff Hansen of Sea Shepherd Australia, and Captain Peter Hammarstedt of the Bob Barker (as seen in “Whale Wars”). It was nice to see Susan Hartland of Sea Shepherd USA and Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global. Our good friend Cyrill Gutsch of Parley for the Oceans and Tim Coombs from Bionic Yarn also gave a powerful presentation about the “cradle to cradle” philosophy.
I like it when we can identify a problem, look for solutions, and help educate the public to bring about change and I found this philosophy very prevalent at the conference.
A Guest Post from Our Sea Shepherd Science Liaison in the Southern Ocean–Eva Hidalgo:
After a few weeks of sailing between the 60°S and the 70°S latitudes, the amount of whale sightings seemed to be below our expectations. That may not be very good news for our data collection program, where we collect information from all the sightings of cetaceans; but it was certainly comforting, as we don’t forget how the whaling fleet never sleeps. While the reasons for this lack of sightings may vary, as the days went by, it seemed to become a bit clearer where some of the whales were hiding. As we sailed into the mouth of the Ross Sea, the southernmost sea on earth, numerous small spouts were appearing on the horizon, and some encounters started taking place. The sun was shining on a relatively warm morning, when a pod of fast minke whales joined us, and started what seemed like a race against our ship across the calm ocean. During the summer months, while the rest of baleen whales seem to prefer the periphery of the Ross Sea, Antarctic minke whales seem to have found paradise in one of the most remote oceans on the planet. Read More
This year we are extremely lucky to have a science partnership with the Sea Shepherd fleet currently in Antarctic waters pursuing Japanese whalers. Our science liaison Eva Hidalgo is on the Steve Irwin and sends this update: Read More
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.
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.
We will be thinking of the safety and well-being of our friends and everyone working in that hostile environment during this campaign.
This Sunday, August 4, Open Books will host the final presentation of the summer from the Operation Toxic Gulf crew, who are currently wrapping up the last leg of their 2013 study. Representatives from Ocean Alliance and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will present photographs and results of their work at the event, which begins at 7 p.m.
On Monday, August 5, the Ocean Alliance-Sea Shepherd team will open their boat, the Research Vessel Odyssey, for tours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Palafox Marina. This will be the third and final time the public will be able to check out the ship. Like Sunday’s presentation, the ship tours are free, but donations are accepted. Read More
Tomorrow I will celebrate my one year anniversary as a Sea Shepherd crew member. Over the past 12 months I have sailed enough miles to circumnavigate the globe. I have been a part of defending two of the last remaining pristine wildernesses areas left on this planet: Antarctica, and The Kimberley region in Western Australia. I’ve seen the same humpbacks breaching against the blue mountains of icebergs while they’re feeding in Antarctica, breach against the red cliffs of the Kimberley coast while they socialize and calve in Western Australia.
But today I find myself somewhere quite different: The Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf of Mexico could not be more opposite to Antarctica and the Kimberley, it’s a picture example of what it means to “industrialize” a body of water. Hundreds of oil rigs light up the horizon through the night and bright orange buoys scatter the surface attached to long lines that stretch their deadly tentacles 3 miles into the depths. In the Gulf we have sailed through oil slicks that we could smell before we could see them, casting their rainbow sheen over the horizon. Over a 100 miles from land we’ve picked up human trash in the form of styrofoam boxes, discarded fishing buoys, balloons celebrating birthdays and newborns and floating plastic versions of just about everything imaginable. Read More