Friday, 25 February 2011

Reinforced Sea Shepherd to Return for Tuna Season

That is some piece of kit!

Reinforced Sea Shepherd to return for tuna season
Times of Malta
24th February 2011

Fresh from its Japanese victory, marine conservation vigilante organisation Sea Shepherd will be back in the Mediterranean for the tuna fishing season with two vessels, not one.

“We’re returning to the Mediterranean in May, June, July,” Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson said.

“We’ll be looking for poaching operations and if we find them we’ll cut the nets and release the tuna like we did last year.”

The organisation has just celebrated a victory after last week Japan recalled its whaling ships in the Antarctic due to safety concerns in the face of stepped-up actions by the organisation, raising hopes of an outright ban on whaling in the region.

Capt. Watson has attributed the victory in part to his organisation’s increased resources.

Last year, Sea Shepherd hit the headlines in Malta after confrontations between its vessel Steve Irwin and fishing boats, in which two Maltese divers were injured.

This year, the campaign will be stepped up as the Steve Irwin, named after Australia’s famous wildlife TV personality known as The Crocodile Hunter, will be joined by the Gojira, a high-tech trimaran, whose name translates to Godzilla in Japanese.

Asked whether the organisation would be applying political pressure on the EU and Mediterranean countries, Capt. Watson said political pressure was only a side-effect of their anti-poaching tactics. “We don’t really do that, we’re an anti-poaching organisation, so we intervene and I guess the action might have some political impact but mainly we’re interested in physically obstructing poachers and releasing their catch.”

Poaching, by Capt. Watson’s definition, includes “fishing without permits, without having the observers on board, fishing after the dates they’re not supposed to and taking more tonnage than they’re allowed”.

“Something has to be done about bluefin tuna because it’s becoming more and more endangered and the Gulf oil spill didn’t help them much.

Basically, it’s the stockpiling of tuna in Japan that is a real big problem,” Capt. Watson said.

Atlantic bluefin tuna has been on the decline. A report by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species said that “the absolute extent of decline over the 50-year historical period ranging from 1957 to 2007 is estimated at 74.2 per cent, the bulk of which (60.9 per cent) was in the last 10 years”.

The same report had recommended that Atlantic bluefin tuna be listed as an endangered species, meaning it could not be traded or caught.

This proposed ban did not however win enough support from the international community.

In November, Malta and other countries blocked the EU’s proposed reduction of tuna quotas for this year’s tuna fishing season.

In 2009, tuna sales alone fetched €37 million whereas the figure in 2007 was €97 million, according to official Maltese statistics. Times of Malta



    That is some piece of work, who designed this craft H do you know?... a lovely story about dolphins who saved a dogs life, brings a tear to the eye.

  2. I don't know, short of looking it up. There is Multimarine, who built this slightly different concept, a VSV. (very slim vessel)

    I only mention it because I had occasion to witness this VSV or more likely its forerunner because I don't remember it being this big. Whatever. But what I do remember from my viewing point on high, that it went from SE at 50 knots, to NW at fifty knots in about two seconds flat. A truly remarkable piece of kit in its own right.

    Where would we be without wiki?