An aboriginal subsistence quota for whaling is only supportable as a category if it is reserved for people who truly do subsist by hunting whales. The trouble is that it is largely used by corrupt claimants in notoriously crooked ways. Most outrageous is the aboriginal subsistence quota that the Russians have gotten in Kamchatka for their “aboriginal subsistence hunt” of gray whales (and that Paul Watson so memorably exposed when he invaded the Soviet Union and filmed frozen whale meat being used to feed mink and sable that were living in captive breeding cages on a soviet fur farm). The catcher boat used by the Soviets to kill those gray whales was a modern vessel and no true aboriginals feasted on the spoils of that hunt. Read More
Ocean conservation leaders met up in New York City this week to collaborate on solutions for the problems facing our oceans. Ocean Alliance President Roger Payne and CEO Iain Kerr were invited by Parley for the Oceans to join scientists, activists and artists, including music producer Pharrell Williams, legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle, NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, and Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, to talk about our work studying the effects of pollutants on whales. Read More
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.
(Pictured at top: Alex Cornelissen, Peter Hammarstedt, Roger Payne, Susan Hartland, Paul Watson, Iain Kerr, Jeff Hansen; Photo by Eliza Muirhead. Group photo from drone by Iain Kerr)
Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images for G-Star
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)
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
At 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
Delegates from the United Nations were educated about the state of the oceans yesterday, as activists including Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr gathered for World Energy Day. In a session called “A Vision for A Sustainable World” organized by Parley for the Oceans, the speakers included Paul Watson and representatives from Sea Shepherd Society, Louis Psihoyos from the Ocean Preservation Society and “The Cove,” Daniella Russo and Dianna Cohen, founders of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Lewis Perkins from Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, and Ghislaine Maxwell, founder of the Terramar Project. Read More
This video is a final update from the 2013 campaign onboard the RV Odyssey and features Paul Watson, Dr. Roger Payne and Dr. Iain Kerr. Operation Toxic Gulf is a collaborative campaign between Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Ocean Alliance.
This campaign has focused on Gulf sperm whales because they are at the top of the Gulf’s food chain and, as such, they can act as a bio-indicator of the health of the entire ecosystem. Ocean Alliance, its scientific partners and Sea Shepherd will be able to put any discoveries they make in the Gulf into a global context due to the fact that from 2000 to 2005 the RV Odyssey circumnavigated the globe collecting baseline data on the levels of pollutants and metals in sperm whales.
We hope to return to the Gulf in 2014 so this winter we will be fundraising and working with our scientific partners to analyze the data that we and the Wise Laboratory team have collected in the Gulf over the last four years. Since we are looking at the chronic effects as against the short-term effects of this disaster this analysis will take years.
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