Preparing for Operation Blue Rage
Captain, M/Y Steve Irwin
On March 15th, after only 8 days in port following an intense 3 month Antarctic Campaign, the Steve Irwin let her dock lines go and began a 60 day journey towards the Mediterranean Sea, the staging ground for Sea Shepherd’s upcoming Tuna Defense Campaign, Operation Blue Rage.
With little time for landfall, and a crew of 18 on board, the Steve Irwin has been tracking steadily eastwards half way around the world via New Zealand, Pitcairn, Panama Canal, the Caribbean, and the North Atlantic.
We now find ourselves off the coast of Florida, just a few days from making landfall in New York City on Earth Day, where we will make preparations for our last puddle jump across to Europe, and begin Operation Blue Rage.
With ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna - aka - the International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna) allowing quotas to be set much higher than scientists recommend, and with European leadership failing to assume the seriousness of the bluefin stock's decline (the bluefin was not added to CITES last month), we are facing a free for all in both the legal and black market fisheries.
Indiscriminate purse seining and transferring of bluefin in the Mediterranean to tuna ranches or fattening farms is wiping out pelagic stocks by capturing female bluefin (and their eggs), and placing them in pens before they can breed in the wild, thus breaking the natural life cycle in the ocean.
The Mediterranean is a breeding ground, and the breeding is being nipped in the bud by people who regard the bluefin tuna as an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars while it lasts, and not a species.
More than ever, direct action is needed where species are in danger. With the bluefin tuna in a state of near collapse, we are pulling our resources together to make an impact in the Mediterranean this summer.
On behalf of the crew of the Steve Irwin, we thank you for continuing to support Sea Shepherd's mission to protect threatened species worldwide.