For many years, Sea Shepherd acted alone as the only direct-action marine conservation group in the world willing – in accordance with the mandate of the United Nations World Charter for Nature -- to uphold international conservation laws. We chased poachers, pulled up illegal nets, blocked whale harpoon vessels, and exposed the criminals destroying our seas and slaughtering marine wildlife with impunity.
But some of our greatest successes -- especially in the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing -- have been a direct result of our partnerships.
Since the summer of 2016, Sea Shepherd has assisted local authorities in Gabon and São Tomé & Principe (Operation Albacore), Tanzania (Operation Jodari), Liberia (Operation Sola Stella), and East Timor (Operation Apex Harmony -Timor Leste) with the arrest of 48 IUU fishing vessels.
That’s 48 fewer ships fishing without a license, finning sharks, devastating mangroves, using illegal nets and fishing gear, killing threatened and endangered wildlife, and poaching on an industrial scale.
That’s almost 200,000 sharks saved since the arrest of the illegal shark-liver oil vessel Labiko 2 (Operation Sola Stella) last November.
And that’s made a real difference to the local subsidence and artisanal fishers who saw their livelihood threatened by massive trawlers stealing their fish. “It is my firm belief that the campaigns that we are doing in Africa are the most important campaigns that Sea Shepherd has ever undertaken,” says Captain Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd Global’s Director of Campaigns.
“Working with governments is a priority for Sea Shepherd because we are achieving results that we could have never achieved on our own.” It is estimated that if current fishing rates continue that by 2048 all of the world’s major fisheries will collapse.
At the same time, the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh the amount of fish. We’ll reach 2048 in just over 30 years; in less time than Sea Shepherd has even been around. We are running short on time. So how do we mount the most effective possible response to the global assault on our oceans as we can’t possibly protect all of the world’s oceans with our small fleet of vessels?
“We identify key areas of biodiversity, places where we dig in our positions, draw our battle lines, and fight back against those who have pillaged the oceans for too long,” says Captain Hammarstedt.
In countries like Tanzania, Liberia and Gabon, where local authorities have the political will to protect their sovereign waters from IUU fishing activity, Sea Shepherd provides a patrol vessel and experienced crew, while the partner country provides armed law enforcement officers such as the Coast Guard, National Police.
Fisheries Inspectors and other officials with the authority to board, inspect, and arrest vessels found to be breaking the law. Additional partners such as FISH-i Africa help coordinate enforcement efforts and intelligence across borders through their coalition of eight African coastal states, making it even harder for rogue vessels fishing illegally to find a safe harbor in neighboring ports.
When you support Sea Shepherd, you’re helping put an end to the blatant plundering of African coastal waters from the newly-designated Marine Protection Areas of Gabon and the mangroves of Tanzania.
Thanks to you, every day we’re on patrol is another day illegal fishing operators are deterred, another day that fish and shark populations are given a respite, and another day local law enforcement officials have the opportunity to train and build the capacity and the skills that will continue to be used in the fight against IUU fishing long after the departure of Sea Shepherd.
Learn more about our campaigns in Africa: https://www.seashepherdglobal.org/our-campaigns/