Thursday, July 21, 2011

Different Weapons - Same Target

As I blogged last Saturday, Sea Shepherd is heading to the Faroe Islands...
It plans to disrupt the annual grindadráp (pilot whale massacres), by dropping acoustic buoys into the water to divert the mammals [see update below].
NZer Pete Bethune (ex-skipper of the rammed-and-sunk hi-speed SS vessel Ady Gil) is also en route, but not as Captain Paul Watson’s sidekick.
After his acrimonious split from SS, Bethune founded Earthrace Conservation. This new marine group hopes to gain support for stopping the killings, by adopting a diplomatic peaceful approach. The group will introduce educational campaigns on wider global marine issues and environmental care, as well as organising beach clean-ups. It’ll talk to locals about their attitudes towards the traditional grinds and will have a permanent presence on the Faroes. Earthrace Conservation Faroe Islands will be headed by islander Ms Turid Christophersen:
"I saw a need to speak out about local marine life – from whales and puffins (which are in serious decline), to the pollution of sea birds and over-fishing. Having met the team from Earthrace Conservation and appreciated their approach while on the islands, I decided I could achieve that through joining them."

As well as on the Faroes, there are now Earthrace Conservation chapters in Sweden, UK, USA, Africa, NZ and Australia with more on the way. Having a global network means the organisation can carry out specific missions in different areas, and address marine issues on a local basis relevant to each country. Earthrace believe they’re doing it the right way by avoiding an aggressive approach.
Whether it’s Bethune’s diplomacy, Watson’s aggression, organised commercial boycotts or just plain common sense and decency that eventually bring about the demise of the grindadráp, it matters not. As they say: there’re many ways to skin a cat. And in the end, all camps (and public opinion at large) are on the side of the whales…

Update: Just as Sea Shepherd was about to leave the Shetland Islands to launch the Operation Ferocious Isles campaign, court officials hit them with a detainment notice, because a Maltese fishing company filed a civil suit alleging SS had damaged their property. This relates to damage allegedly done to bluefin tuna fishing gear by SS in the Mediterranean in 2010. SS was able to send Brigitte Bardot to the Faroes as planned, but Steve Irwin will be delayed (and possibly SOLD!) unless they can post a US$1.4m bond...!

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