Sea Shepherd ship films rare species of Orcas

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Another press release from Sea Shepherd:

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SEA SHEPHERD SHIP FIRST TO FILM RARE “ECOTYPE D” ORCAS

On December 26th 2014, the Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, encountered a pod of rare, “Ecotype D” Orcas while passing between the Crozet and Kerguelen archipelagos in the South Indian Ocean, in pursuit of the toothfish poaching vessel,Thunder.

The encounter was photographed and filmed, and images of the encounter were forwarded to Marine Ecologist and (Antarctic) Orca expert, Robert L. Pitman, of Southwest Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra tion in the United States, for review.

Mr. Pitman examined the photographs and confirmed that these were, “definitely a Type D Killer whale,” adding, “I don’t think they have ever been filmed alive.”

First identified in 1955 when a pod stranded on Paraparaumu Beach, New Zealand, the Ecotype D Orca is characterised by large bulbous foreheads, similar to those of Pilot whales, and tiny post-ocular eye markings.

Following the 1955 stranding, this type of Orca was not seen again for almost 50 years. It is believed that there have been approximately 13 sightings to date, including the most recent sighting by the Bob Barker crew.

Bob Barker Chief Engineer, Erwin Vermeulen, was one of the crewmembers who photographed the encounter. He recounts, ”The crew watched in awe as the 13 killer whales, including a small juvenile and a large male, used the six-metre swell to surf across the bow. For almost an hour the surf-show continued and was accompanied by bow riding, tail-slaps and breaches.”

DNA retrieved from the 1955 stranding revealed that Ecotype D’s genetic differences point at a divergence from other Orcas about 390,000 years ago. This makes Ecotype D the second oldest Orca type, and second most genetically divergent.

Determining how many species of Orcas there are is critically important to establishing conservation measures and to better understand the ecological role of this apex predator in the world’s oceans.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sea Shepherd ship pulls huge illegal gillnet from Southern Ocean

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This release is from Sea Shepherd. Another great effort from this organization.

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SEA SHEPHERD RETRIEVES 25 KILOMETRES OF ILLEGAL GILLNET FROM THE SOUTHERN OCEAN

In an operation that lasted for five days, the crew of the Sea Shepherd ship, Sam Simon, has successfully completed the retrieval of an illegal gillnet, abandoned by the poaching vessel, Thunder. The outlawed fishing gear was located at 62˚ 16’ South 081˚ 14 East, inside the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) area of management, in the Southern Ocean.

The thirty-strong crew, made up of volunteers from fifteen nations, worked 24 hours a day to retrieve the illegal gillnet, which measured a total of 25 kilometres in length.

Over 200 targeted Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish were found dead in the gillnet, the largest approximately 1.6 meters long. Scientists on board the Sam Simon confirmed that a number of the dead toothfish were females of a reproductive age, and were carrying eggs.

Non-target species including rays, jellyfish, crabs and a staggering number of grenadiers were also found dead after being caught in illegal fishing gear. A majority of the crabs caught in the net were still alive, and were able to be released back into the Southern Ocean.

Captain of the Sam Simon, Sid Chakravarty, said, “With the confiscation of the illegally laid gillnet set combined with the pursuit of the Thunder by the Bob Barker, Operation Icefish has achieved what it had set out to do in less than a month from when it was kicked-off. The shadowlands of Antarctica, used by this wasteful and destructive industry, are being cleared of their illegal vessels, and the marine life of this pristine ecosystem is being given the protection they deserve.”

He added, ““Having hauled in the illegally-set gill net continuously for 5 days, the Sam Simon crew has given the world a chance to observe first-hand the destruction caused by this fishing method. Never has any conservation movement seen the recovery, confiscation and documentation of such length of gear. The onus is now on the relevant international authorities to use this evidence to prosecute the Thunder.”

Starting tomorrow, the Sam Simon will continue to scout the region around Banzare Bank on the lookout for more gillnet sets laid out by the Thunder.

Captain Chakravarty has reported the salvage operation to the relevant authorities, including Interpol, CCAMLR, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Australian Federal Police. The confiscated equipment will be kept as evidence of the Thunder’s illegal activity, and handed-over to the relevant port authorities to aid in the prosecution of the vessel.

A known poaching vessel, the Nigerian-flagged Thunder was issued with an Interpol Purple Notice following a joint effort by Norwegian, New Zealand and Australian authorities, and is currently included on CCAMLR’s black-list of IUU fishing operators.

The Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, has been in pursuit of the Thunder since the vessel first fled on December 17. Yesterday, the conservation ship escorted the poachers out of the CCAMLR region.

The use of gillnets has been outlawed by CCAMLR since 2004, and the Commission has specifically expressed concerns regarding the impact of this fishing method on the marine ecosystems of Antarctica.

Operation Icefish is Sea Shepherd’s 11th Southern Ocean Defence Campaign, and the first to target IUU toothfish fishing operators in the waters of Antarctica Sea.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sea Shepherd halts another poaching ship

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I received the following release from Sea Shepherd:

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Wanted Poachers Try To Shake Pursuit Through Treacherous Ice Chase

Yesterday, at approximately 2300 hours AEDT, at 61˚ 32’ South, 075˚ 27’ East, the wanted poaching vessel, Thunder, attempted a hazardous escape from the Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, by fleeing at speed through a field of pack-ice.

The Nigerian-flagged Thunder, which has been issued with and Interpol Purple Notice, and which is on the CCAMLR black-list of illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessels due to its poaching activities, led Captain Peter Hammarstedt and his international crew of 28 volunteers on a three-hour long chase through the ice-field.

The Bob Barker was forced to break-through ice in order to maintain the hot pursuit. Captain Hammarstedt said, “At times the ice was almost impassable. I had to use my ship as a snow plough in order to break-through and continue chase.”

The incident comes two days after the Bob Barker intercepted the poaching vessel engaged in illegal fishing activities inside the CCAMLR area. Thunder is known to utilise gillnets – a method of fishing that has been outlawed by CCAMLR since 2004.

On locating the Thunder two days ago, Captain Hammarstedt notified Interpol, CCAMLR, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Fishing Management Authority of the vessel’s activities. As yet, there is been no response to these reports.

Captain Hammarstedt has called on the Australian government to assist with the arrest of the illegal vessel. He said, “We have caught these poachers in blatant violation of international fishing regulations. We have documented their poaching activities, we have reported them, and we are ready to hand them over to the authorities. It is not the responsibility of Sea Shepherd to uphold CCAMLR regulations, but in the absence of legal action from Australia, we remain the only sheriff in town.”

IUU (Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported) fishing of toothfish continues inside the CCAMLR region, despite the Commission’s efforts to eliminate this threat to the Antarctic ecosystem. Currently six operators, including Thunder, are known to be involved in IUU fishing of toothfish inside the area.

Operation Icefish is Sea Shepherd’s 11th Southern Ocean Defence Campaign, and the first to target IUU toothfish fishing operators in the waters of Antarctica.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sea Shepherd: More whales horribly slaughtered within sanctuary

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Sea Shepherd has some sad news to report this morning. The full media release follows:

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MORE WHALES SLAUGHTERED IN WHALE SANCTUARY

Sunday March 2, 2014 – Melbourne, Australia — Today, at approximately 10:05 AEDT, Sea Shepherd located the factory vessel of the Japanese whaling fleet, the Nisshin Maru, at 74°23’ S, 178°55’ W inside the Ross Sea Dependency, with a dead, protected Minke Whale onboard, and blood running from the side of the ship. Slabs of whale meat were also photographed on the deck, along with the severed head of a recently butchered whale.

The factory vessel was located by The Steve Irwin’s helicopter, which has found the whaling fleet on four occasions this season. The Steve Irwin and The Bob Barker are now closing in on the factory vessel.

Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt, said, “Each time we have located the Nisshin Maru, the Sea Shepherd Fleet has been attacked by the whalers in night time ambushes. With darkness just a few hours away, as we close the distance to the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, we are well aware that we are soon likely to have harpoon ships crossing our bows towing steel cables, and the strong possibility that our ships could become disabled in the treacherous and frigid Antarctic waters. After sustaining two grueling assaults, we believe a third attack by the whaling fleet is imminent. We have thirty-eight Australians and three New Zealanders on board the Sea Shepherd ships. We call on the governments of Australia and New Zealand to stand up to the Japanese government and send a clear message that they will not tolerate another unprovoked attack on their citizens upholding international law.”

It is the second time this whaling season that Sea Shepherd has documented the Japanese whaling fleet in the act of poaching whales within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. On January 5, Sea Shepherd released damning images and footage of the Nisshin Maru with three dead, protected Minke Whales killed in the Sanctuary. The blood-stained decks of the factory ship were smeared with the remains of a fourth whale, including a head and spinal column.

It is the second time in six days that Sea Shepherd has located the Japanese whaling fleet. The whalers have remained outside their preferred self-allocated hunting grounds of the Ross Sea due to Sea Shepherd’s relentless patrolling and monitoring of the region. Sea Shepherd believes that, at the first opportunity that the whalers have had to resume operations, they have successfully interrupted whaling once again.

In July 2013, the governments of Australia and New Zealand challenged the legality of Japan’s so-called “scientific research” whaling at the International Court of Justice. A decision on case is pending.

Captain of The Steve Irwin, Siddharth Chakravarty, said, “It is not enough for the politicians, whose obligation it is to keep these whales alive and protected, to ignore their international responsibilities and the wishes of their constituents. I urge the Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt and the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, to look at this dead Minke Whale, brutally killed in an internationally recognised Whale Sanctuary that both Australia and New Zealand claim a commitment to uphold, and ask themselves if they truly believe that they and their governments have done everything within their power to stop this illegal slaughter.”

Sea Shepherd remains the only organisation in the Southern Ocean committed to upholding the sanctity of the Whale Sanctuary, directly intervening against the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet.
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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Release: Sea Shepherd back to work

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From Sea Shepherd Australia:

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Sea Shepherd Fleet departs for Tenth Antarctic Whale Defence Campaign:

Operation Relentless

Dec. 18, 2013 – Australia — This morning friends, family and supporters gathered at Sea Shepherd Australia’s Operations Base in Williamstown, and at Elizabeth Street Pier in Hobart to bid a fond farewell to crews of The Steve Irwin ,The Sam Simon and The Bob Barker as the ships depart for Sea Shepherd’s tenth Antarctic Defence Campaign, Operation Relentless.

Last year, the Sea Shepherd Fleet was successful in shutting down the poaching operations of the Japanese whaling fleet, saving the lives of 932 whales. In the nine previous Antarctic Whale Defence Campaigns, Sea Shepherd has saved over 4,500 protected whales from illegal slaughter.

Over the last decade, Sea Shepherd has enjoyed great support from people all around the world, particularly from Australia where the Sea Shepherd Fleet has called home for several years.

Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen, says: “The crew on these ships carry with them the hope, the aspirations and the expectations of people from across the world who hope to see the end to this slaughter.”

Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden, says, ”The departure of the Japanese whale poaching fleet is an offence to an international community patiently waiting on the expected ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Sea Shepherd will now, again, head south as the only authority acting to restore law and order to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”

Captain of The Steve Irwin, Siddarth Chakravarty of India says: “The Steve Irwin’s course is set for due South. Within a week my crew and I will be among our much-loved clients, the whales. We will not return until peace has been restored in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”

This year, over 100 Sea Shepherd volunteers from 24 countries around the world will once again stand guard at the gates of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to uphold the 1986 ban on commercial whaling.

Sea Shepherd Global Director, Alex Cornelissen of Netherlands, says: “Like all poachers we encounter in our global campaigns, we will deal with the whalers the same way we always do: Relentlessly.”

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Bob Barker teaming with ADI to stop the exploitation of elephants at fairs

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Bob Barker continues his ongoing efforts in helping animals, and this time it’s elephants. The former Price is Right host is teaming with Animal Defenders International (ADI) to bring attention to the suffering of elephants used at fairs.

The Press Release –

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Bob Barker Spearheads New ADI Campaign to End Elephant Suffering at Fairs

February 28, 2013, LOS ANGELES, CA – Animal Defenders International (ADI) has launched the first nationwide initiative in the United States about the use of elephants giving rides or making appearances at public events.  At the heart of the campaign is a new DVD narrated by Emmy award winning TV host Bob Barker entitled ‘No Fun For Elephants,’ featuring harrowing undercover footage from inside elephant training facilities in California, as well as abuse of an elephant on tour by a Texas-owned company.

Bob Barker introduces the video, “To many, it looks like harmless fun, but elephants pay a heavy price for the few minutes of entertainment they provide when performing in circus shows, giving rides, or making appearances at parades, weddings or other events.  Most of us marvel at the majesty of wild animals and I can understand why people want to see animals like elephants up close.  But isn’t it especially tragic when animals are suffering and being abused simply to entertain us?”

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