Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

By Eliza Crunch

The Sea Shepherd is a real life band of pirates. They are guardians of the ocean, shepherding marine mammals, keeping them safe from illegal whaling and over fishing. Japan kills hundreds of whales per year in the name of research and also results in selling the leftovers and making bank. Whale meat is a cash crop in Japan. However, The Steve Irwin Foundation and many research facilities in California have dedicated their time and efforts to develop non-lethal or even non-harmful ways of gathering the same data. The ways are developed and being finely tuned everyday. The cash crop ‘research’ that Japan engages in could be done without the bloodbath.
Cpt. Watson of the Sea Shepherd has developed non-lethal pirate techniques to stopping the slaughter. Greenpeace just stands aside and whines, “Please let them go.” But Sea Shepherd has acknowledged that petitions haven’t made them stop, and has taken the stand (as the only organization doing this) to put themselves physically between the Japanese boats and the whales.
Conservation means protecting and preserving what little is left. Right now in Antarctica the boat, The Steve Irwin, is patrolling the area with a helicopter and a gas powered little inflatable boat I like to call Speedy. There are multiple cameras being used at all times because documentation is everything. Catching every action made internationally protects the Sea Shepherd and is evidence against Japan. From Speedy, crew members throw stink bombs on whaling boats which A) make the boat smell offensive to possible oncoming whales and B) make the boat smell so offensive that the crew gets nauseous and have to turn around ASAP. From Speedy, they can also deliver official international notices of violating ocean laws. For example, certain areas in the Antarctic oceans are protected as breeding grounds for species like humpbacks whales, going there for the purpose of slaughter is against the law!!!!
SSCS also protects seals in Canada from being clubbed. They were the first to get film footage of the massive bloodbath dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. This footage got on international news so the world could see the reality that occurs every year. And what about the sharks in South Africa? Or the habitats being destroyed in the Galapagos? The SSCS is about education and action but they need our help.
The Sea Shepherd runs off of donations. Fall term, an individual recognized the need to help them and organized a pirate costume party fundraiser at the Campbell Club that raised $553. SSCS ACTUALLY save the Whales. Look forward to a follow up party Winter term. To stay up to date, watch Whale Wars on Animal Planet.

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