Ten Wins for the Oceans in 2019

Monday, 06 Jan, 2020

In 2019 Sea Shepherd conducted 33 direct-action marine conservation campaigns, making this our most active year ever. Check out some of the notable results these campaigns have achieved for the oceans!

Between 2002-2016, we conducted eleven Southern Ocean Whale Defense Campaigns, saving the lives of over 6000 whales from the whaling fleet's deadly harpoons. When the Japanese government announced that the whaling program in the Antarctic was finally over, this year became the first year that the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary was just that: a sanctuary.

Read commentary from Captain Peter Hammarstedt about this massive victory for the whales of the Southern Ocean:

Sea Shepherd expanded our campaigns to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, now partnering with seven African coastal states. Through joint at-sea patrols, our ships and crew work with national authorities and regional partners to defend marine wildlife in areas previously plundered by poachers. Thanks to these unique partnerships, 50 vessels have been arrested to date.

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After Sea Shepherd’s Dolphin ByCatch campaign exposed industrial trawlers responsible for killing over 6000 dolphins per year off the Atlantic Coast of France, the French government has now completely banned all pelagic trawling from the Rochebonne Plateau in the Bay of Biscay.

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Operation Milagro, Sea Shepherd’s campaign to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise in the Sea of Cortez, has removed more than 1000 pieces of illegal fishing gear polluting the vaquita’s habitat since the campaign started six years ago. That’s 650,000 feet (200,000 meters) of illegal gear, equivalent to over 450 times the height of the Empire State Building.

In 2019 researchers spotted three pairs of mother vaquitas with with their calves, giving renewed hope for the species.

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Sea Shepherd’s long-term collaboration with the government of Gabon, a country along the coastline of Central Africa, has taken on a new dimension thanks to a € 1.98 Million Extra Project Award from the Dutch Postcode Lottery. The generous award will help halt the demise of sharks and rays through the establishment of Africa’s first shark sanctuary. 

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After Sea Shepherd’s campaign documented the death of 146 fin whales, including 21 pregnant whales, widespread public pressure resulted in investigations of the Hvalur Hf whaling company for violating animal welfare and sanitation regulations as well as deliberately failing to provide whaling logs to Icelandic fishing authorities. Due to the ongoing investigations the Icelandic government did not issue Hvalur Hf a permit to hunt fin whales in 2019, sparing over 150 whales from slaughter.

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The M/V Bob Barker and its crew helped clear over four tons of abandoned fishing gear and other plastic debris from the beaches of Cabo Verde, one of the world's largest nesting sites for vulnerable loggerhead sea turtles.

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As part of our campaigns to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, Sea Shepherd worked with the Gambian law enforcement agents, the Department of Fisheries and The Gambia Navy to covertly apprehend and arrest ten illegal fishing vessels in The Gambia in just one day.

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After pressure from Sea Shepherd Australia and the Great Australian Bight Alliance, Karoon Gas decided to ditch its exploration permit located in the Great Australian Bight. Karoon is the third major oil company to abandon its drilling plans for the Bight, joining BP and Chevron.

Learn more about our ongoing work to defend the Great Australian Bight

During patrols around Italy’s Aeolian Islands for Operation Siso, Sea Shepherd retrieved and confiscated 77 illegal fish aggregating devices (FADs) with 150 kilometers of polypropylene twine and hundreds of tanks with dangerous and highly polluting residues. All were turned over to the Lipari Coast Guard. This was carried out with the help of the Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund and Smile Wave in collaboration with local artisanal fishermen.

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Thanks to supporters like you, Sea Shepherd has been able to continue defending, conserving, and protecting the world’s oceans for over 40 years.  Find out how you can join the Sea Shepherd movement today!

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