IWB Letter to UK Minister of State for Europe
The Danish authorities have taken four of Sea Shepherd’s small fast boats during this year’s campaign to disrupt the ‘Driven Hunt’ of pilot whales and dolphins.
Sea Shepherd urgently needs to replace their small boats in order to continue to disrupt this ‘Driven Hunt:’
24 September 2015 – Update from Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson
Shepherding Dolphins Through the Fjords of Death
It has been a tense but successful week in the Faroes as three Sea Shepherd ships and their small boats successfully shepherded hundreds of dolphins past the dark, dangerous shores of the Danish Faroe Islands and back to the safety of the open sea.
Saving the lives of dolphins in the Faroes is considered a crime. It is a crime to intervene against the killing, it is a crime to fail to report the sightings of dolphins to the whalers and it is a crime to divert dolphins away from the coast of the Faroe Islands.
This summer, Sea Shepherd volunteers have joyfully committed illegal acts of compassion by attempting to interfere with the killing and more successfully diverting hundreds of potential victims away from the ruthless killers on the Faroese shores.
This week Sea Shepherd volunteers managed to move hundreds of the dolphins through the fjords without being detected by the Danish Navy or the Faroese whalers.
Over the past three months, the Sea Shepherd ships The MV Brigitte Bardot, The MV Sam Simon, and more recently The MV Bob Barker, in collaboration with the Sea Shepherd land crew, have successfully escorted hundreds of dolphins, including pilot whales, away from the killing beaches of the Faroe Islands.
This week alone pods of pilot whales, white-sided dolphins, white-beaked dolphins and bottlenose dolphins have been led away from the shores of the archipelago by the Sea Shepherd ships. These species are four of the six that, according to local regulations, can be targeted for slaughter in the infamous drive hunt known as the grindadráp.
All of the pods were located close to the islands’ shores and, as such, were at high risk of being spotted by locals and reported to authorities for slaughter.
“Our crews are under constant watch by authorities in the Faroe Islands, including the Danish navy ships and helicopter. It’s incredibly difficult to undertake these kinds of exercises without detection, but we have had huge successes in leading these pods of dolphins and pilot whales away from the killing beaches and out of harm’s way.” Said Capt. Alex Cornelissen Director of Sea Shepherd Global.
These efforts these past three months have seen twelve Sea Shepherd volunteers arrested for interference with the killing and three Sea Shepherd small boats captured by the Danish Navy. A fourth small boat the SPITFIRE was seized last year for escorting dolphins away from the islands and is still being held.
Sea Shepherd now has almost replaced all four small boats with our emergency appeal over the last two weeks. We have raised €173,593 or 87% of the target. We can now replace three of the boats and we have raised half of the replacement cost for the third.
This sends a strong message to the Faroese that we have a powerful support base to back up our operations.
And the truth is that unless we are willing to risk the lost of the boats, unless we are willing to risk arrest and to risk our lives, we will achieve very little.
And these risks have paid off wonderfully and because of the efforts of these courageous and passionate Sea Shepherd volunteers, many hundreds of Pilot whales and dolphins are now swimming free and their blood has not turned the beaches red with this thing called the grindadrap (The murder of whales) that has brought such shame upon the Danish people.
21 September 2015 – Update from Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson
“The Emergency Small Boat Replacement Appeal has Raised €141,847” – reaching 71% of total required to replace all four boats.
“What an awesome response in just under two weeks!”
“We have raised enough to replace three of the four boats lost during the long campaign in the Faroe Islands. Only 29% or €58,183 left to go. Or just one boat to go! A total of 4,545 people have contributed €141,847 for an average donation of €31.”
Can anyone else help a little more?
20 September 2015 – Update from Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson
“451 Pilot whales were slaughtered this summer because of the intervention of new laws and the Danish Navy. However many more would have been killed if Sea Shepherd had not spent the last three months patrolling Faroese waters.”
“This [SOS] appeal was launched to replace the boats the Danish Navy stole from us thus it’s an emergency appeal and it has two purposes. 1. To replace the boats and 2. to send a message to the whale killers and the Danish government that Sea Shepherd has a support base that will respond when we need extra assistance.”
“The Danish Prosecutor has said that our Emergency appeal is evidence that we are losing donations and having financial difficulties because according to her we are losing support because of our opposition to the killing of Pilot whales and dolphins.”
Each year “the grind” (“the Grindadráp”) threatens the lives of hundreds of pilot whales and other dolphins.
Pictures: Courtesy of Sea Shepherd
Entire pods of these magnificent animals are brutally and senselessly slaughtered in the Faroe Islands. Like the infamous drive hunts in Taiji, Japan, “the grind” is a blood-red stain on these otherwise pristine waters.
Sea Shepherd, the leading direct-action marine conservation organization in the world, has led the opposition to “the grind” since the 1980s. This year, Sea Shepherd volunteers descended on the Faroe Islands, with three Sea Shepherd ships in the Faroes driving away any approaching pods of pilot whales and dolphins. There is a land crew of volunteers on shore watching for any signs of approaching pods.
Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson says (18 September 2015):
“Sea Shepherd has been in the Faroe Island, on the water and on the ground four three months. It’s been a tough campaign. We’re up against the power of the Danish Navy and still standing strong.
The Danish authorities have taken four of our small fast boats and we need to replace them and we need to send a strong message to the whalers and the Danish government that our supporters will back us when we take our boats into harm’s way.
Sea Shepherd is committed to ending this horror call the Grindadráp, this is an obscenity that pretends to be a cultural necessity in the Faroe Islands.”
(1) Why are you calling this a ‘Driven Hunt?’
“The local community heads out in small boats loaded with stones, hooks, ropes, and knives. Once they’ve approached the pod, the boats form a small half-circle behind the dolphins. Small rocks attached to lines are thrown into the water to create a wall of bubbles to reflect the sonar of the pilot whale. The cetaceans interpret the bubbles as a cliff wall that they must steer away from – because of this, the small boats are able to herd the cetaceans towards a low-lying shore. As the pod approaches land, the boats continue to harass and frighten the mammals until they’re washed up on the shore. Once beached, a knife is used to cut through the veins and arteries that supply blood to the pilot whales head. Some pilot whales suffer for as much as 30 seconds while others can take up to four minutes to die.”
“Those pilot whales that do not wash ashore have a gaff hook beaten into their blowhole and are then pulled ashore by rope. As a result of public pressure campaigns spearheaded by groups like Sea Shepherd in the 1980s, the gaff hook no longer resembles its sharper predecessor, but the blocking of the cetacean’s airway is incredibly painful and results in panic and injury. The fear and suffering is no less mitigated by a sea that quickly turns red with blood in a bizarre ritual reminiscent of Roman gladiatorial violence. As the entire human community partakes in the blood orgy, the whale meat is divided up among the locals although many times the whale meat is simply left to rot on the beach. Up to 1,000 pilot whales are killed annually in this manner, primarily in the months of July and August.”
(2) Do the Faroe Islanders eat all the whale meat?
“Faroe Islanders told to stop eating ‘toxic’ whales”- New Scientist Magazine, 28 November 2008
“Chief medical officers of the Faroe Islands have recommended that pilot whales no longer be considered fit for human consumption, because they are toxic – as revealed by research on the Faroes themselves.”
“Pilot whale meat and blubber contains too much mercury, PCBs and DDT derivatives(1) to be safe for human consumption.”
“The work has revealed [that the toxins in the whales] damage to foetal neural development, high blood pressure, and impaired immunity in children, as well as increased rates of Parkinson’s disease, circulatory problems and possibly infertility in adults.”
(1) Reference “Oceans of Plastic”– PCBs and DDTs