Anti-whal­ing drive stepped up

Pilbara News - - Pilbara Lifestyle - Louise Alling­ham and Ali­cia Per­era

Not-for-profit con­ser­va­tion group Sea Shep­herd fin­ished a na­tion­wide tour to pro­mote an up­com­ing anti-whal­ing cam­paign in Antarc­tic wa­ters with an event in Ex­mouth re­cently.

On Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 2, Sea Shep­herd Ex­mouth hosted an event at the Pot­shot Ho­tel for the Ocean De­fence Tour, the last of nine events held across Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing one in Perth, to raise aware­ness and funds for the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s up­com­ing Antarc­tic Whale De­fence Cam­paign in the South­ern Ocean.

Sea Shep­herd Ex­mouth co-or­di­na­tor Grace Keast said the tour had all been lead­ing up to the an­nounce­ment of the new pur­pose-built Sea Shep­herd ves­sel the Ocean War­rior, which will soon travel to Aus­tralia from the Nether­lands.

Crew mem­bers will then steer it on to the South­ern Ocean to seek out the Ja­panese whal­ing fleet and try to put a stop to their ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The Ocean War­rior is the fastest ves­sel that Sea Shep­herd has ever owned and was largely funded by the Dutch Post­code Lot­tery,” Ms Keast said.

“The pur­pose of the Ocean De­fence Tour was to raise funds to be able to fuel the ships to go on the cam­paign.”

The en­vi­ron­men­tal event also gave the au­di­ence in­sights into the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s past cam­paigns.

Sea Shep­herd Cap­tain Peter Ham­marst­edt spoke about two past Oper­a­tion Ice­fish cam­paigns to com­bat il­le­gal tooth­fish poach­ing in Antarc­tica by six ves­sels wanted by In­ter­pol and dubbed The Ban­dit Six.

He said they had been big suc­cesses, re­sult­ing in the poach­ers be­ing charged, fined and im­pris­oned.

Capt. Ham­marst­edt went on to speak about Ja­pan con­tin­u­ing to flout the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice rul­ing on the il­le­gal­ity of its whal­ing in the South­ern Ocean.

“It has now been two years since that judg­ment in 2014 and the authorities are still fail­ing to up­hold the law,” Ms Keast said.

“It is there­fore Sea Shep­herd’s duty to go down to Antarc­tica to try to save the self-ap­pointed quota of 333 minke whales from slaugh­ter.”

“No prom­ise is made that we will find the fleet or save all the lives, but we will try and one whale saved will be enough to make it worth­while.”

Pic­ture: Nelli Huie

New Sea Shep­herd ves­sel the Ocean War­rior in port at Amsterdam.

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