Launched in May, 2017, Sea Shepherd London, Ontario is among the newest chapters of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), and the fourth chapter in Canada!
Our goal in this region is to further the mission of SSCS to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.
Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.
Sea Shepherd London, Ontario is the official chapter for information, outreach and volunteers in and around the southwestern Ontario area. Sea Shepherd London, Ontario is also centred in North America’s Great Lakes with dedicated volunteers who spend their free time participating in tabling at concerts and festivals, hosting movie screenings, holding educational seminars, being a voice for marine wildlife at special meetings, and otherwise representing Sea Shepherd in and around the southwestern Ontario region.
If you would like to get involved, please contact Chapter Coordinators, Susy Costello and Dede Layte, at [email protected]!
Welcome to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s page for official North American chapters!
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is predominantly a volunteer-based organization, which means that we couldn’t defend marine wildlife and habitats without passionate, forward-thinking people like you! If you’re interested in getting involved with Sea Shepherd in your local area as an on-shore volunteer, use the interactive map below to locate your nearest official chapter by zooming in or out. By clicking on a red pin, you will see the name of the local chapter as well as their email address. If you click on the chapter name, you will be redirected to their page where you can view upcoming events, photos, and more. Want to get an idea about what it's like to volunteer on-shore with Sea Shepherd? Check out our Past Events page for recent reports. Don’t dismay if you don’t see a local chapter near you, there are still other ways to get involved. Please visit Sea Shepherd Onshore Volunteering for more info.
Thank you for taking the initiative to learn more about volunteering for Sea Shepherd. Together, we will make a difference and protect marine wildlife.
Sea Shepherd's invitation to the opening of the Augusta whale watching season recognises the group's outstanding conservation efforts in the Southern Ocean.
Looking out across Flinders Bay, you can't help but marvel at the beauty of the West Australian coast. It's a place where river meets sea, the Southern and Indian Oceans' collide and the meeting place for over 5,000 whales that stop by on their northern and southern migration to play, mate and give birth. The town is Augusta, just 3 ½ hours south-west of Perth; in the region renowned for its natural beauty, forests, wine and surf.
As the sun rose on Friday 6th June 2008, so began the celebration of nature at its best. The start of the whale watching season was a triumph for those whales that survived the harpoons but a time to reflect on the Piked (Minke) whales that didn't.
With clear skies and a slight breeze, it was on this day that the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association (AMRTA) chose to launch the town's whale watching season. Attended by key community leaders, local business people, media and Sea Shepherd members, the event heralded the official start to the region's six month whale watching season.
Clif Edwards, Chairman of the AMRTA, welcomed all in attendance. He warmly introduced Sea Shepherd's Perth Coordinator Jeff Hansen and thanked the organisation for bringing the whales safely back to Flinders Bay.
Explaining the context and success of Operation Migaloo, Jeff presented Sea Shepherd's passion for the conservation of all whales and detailed how on its own, the Steve Irwin and crew succeeded against a whaling fleet of eight. Jeff also conducted media interviews with ABC Radio's Morning Show and News, regional television station GWN as well as local print media who were all eager to learn more about Sea Shepherd's conservation work.
From Left: James (SS), Steve Mitchell (Naturaliste Charters), Jeff Hansen (SS), Valerie Vallee, (AMRTA), Jess & Marina (SS)
"We were absolutely thrilled to be invited to take part in this event. It's recognition of our efforts over the summer which saw 484 whales saved from Japan's illegal whaling operations in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary," said Jeff. "We look forward to coming back every year to celebrate the arrival of these majestic marine mammals."
Next to the podium was Steve Mitchell from Naturaliste Charters, who has previously attended International Whaling Commission meetings on behalf of the Australian whale watching industry. Steve spoke how the location of Flinders Bay and its unique marine landscape provides sensational whale watching, and stated had it not been for Sea Shepherd's conservation efforts, Australia's AU$350 million whale watching industry would be in serious trouble. The fear of being harpooned by a whaling ship would no doubt scare these intelligence creatures away from any vessel.
Following the launch, guests took to the water being treated to a very special whale watching tour on board the Cetacean Explorer, courtesy of Naturaliste Charters. Augusta's protected Flinders Bay provides the perfect retreat for Humpback, Southern Right and Piked whales eager to breed and calf in the warmer waters, after a summer feeding on krill in Antarctica.
The first cruise of the season was nothing short of spectacular with a dozen magnificent humpback whales in the bay, many of whom showed what whales do best - putting on a spectacular display of breaching and fin/tail slapping. Raising awareness around their conservation values was done simply by the whales themselves; the crowd just couldn't get enough!
In between whale spotting, Steve Mitchell invited Jeff to the microphone to talk first hand about Operation Migaloo and Sea Shepherd's other marine conservation campaigns.
Emotions ran high with some on board moved to tears. For Sea Shepherd volunteer Jess it was her first experience up close to the whales she has tirelessly fought to save. Jess and husband James have volunteered hundreds of hours for the Perth chapter, educating the public and raising much needed funds for the organisation.
As the boat headed back to shore, the thrills and spills were not over. As if the day couldn't be topped, the boat was then greeted by a party of dolphins at the mouth of the Blackwood River. The dolphins took delight in riding the bow with speed, grace and some amazing acrobatics.
Sea Shepherd would like to specially thank Valerie Vallee from the AMRTA for showing Sea Shepherd volunteers James, Jess, Marina and Jeff such wonderful hospitality and inviting the group to be part of an unforgettable experience.
As a mark of respect for the species that gives so much to the people of Augusta, locals will be marking the inaugural National Whale Day, Saturday 14th June 2008, with a silent protest against whaling at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. 551 black crosses will be placed in the lighthouse grounds - one for every Piked whale killed by the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary during the 2007-2008 whaling season.
Finally, in celebration of the start of the whale watching season in Augusta, the AMRTA is holding a ‘Spot the Whale' competition. The winner will receive an Augusta whale watching weekend for two adults and two children, which includes two nights' accommodation, whale watching with Naturaliste Charters, free passes to the Leeuwin Lighthouse and three local caves. To enter go to www.margaretriver.com.
So go, get out there and enjoy in the splendor that an experience of whale watching brings!
Written by Marina, Ground Crew Support Volunteer
These shots were taken by James, SS
Photos Courtesy of Peter Simpson, Naturaliste Charters
Event Report by Delphine Martin-David - Sea Shepherd France board member
It was our first big event for Sea Shepherd France, and the members of the French board: Lamya Essemlali - Président, Anne Fourier - Treasurer, and myself - Webmaster, were a bit anxious at how many people would participate.
Publicity had been rather minimal: no big press announcement, word of mouth, a few email exchanges and simple announcements posted on websites.
The conference with Paul was set for 2.30 pm on Saturday June 7th. We hoped to get at least a hundred people attending, and that the awareness we had helped raise this past year would be reflected on this event. So just in case, we had booked a three hundred person room at the University of Jussieu Paris VI -in a lecture hall.
Sea Shepherd had received some publicity in the recent months with several articles in French magazines about Captain Paul Watson and his achievements -especially in Antarctica.
Around 11.00 the entire board of Sea Shepherd France met and we started preparing the room, arranging merchandise on a table, and hooking the Farley Mowat's Jolly Roger flag on one of the black boards facing the audience.
Tanguy Goge, his brother Hervé, and their friend Arnaud from Brest came to lend us a hand as well as Paul Gasc from Mazamet. We took turns grabbing a sandwich while people started coming in at 1.00 pm. I personally left at about 1.20 and there were already about 10 people ready to attend the conference. When I came back by 1.50, that number had tripled and people were really starting pouring in -literally- by 2.00 pm.
Captain Paul Watson, Alex Earl- Development Director, and Kim McCoy- International Executive Director, took their positions at the table down before the board while journalists from the Kappa Agency and a TV crew from Canada set their cameras and microphones.
At 2.30, the three hundred people room was packed and there were even people standing up for lack of chairs! Lamya Essemlali introduced the event, presenting Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and in particular Sea Shepherd France, before Captain Paul Watson started his presentation with the help of Olivia Amos, who served as interpreter.
Captain Watson explained his deep emotion when seeing the sperm whale's eye as he died and spared his life, how mankind was plundering the oceans with such avidity that there would be nothing left by 2030, and how we could learn so much from the whales, dolphins and other intelligent life on our very planet before trying to search for intelligent life on other planets.
Not a sound came from the audience; people were captivated by his words... It is one thing to read them on a website or in a press article, it is entirely another to be able to listen to them, because the man carries his words with the force of his convictions.
When asked if he was worried about the death threats of which he has been the target, Captain Watson said he was not afraid, and that he would rather die saving a whale than in his own bed.
After a two hour conference, Captain Watson kindly replied to questions ranging from ocean wildlife issues to human life on Earth and human population, or even what kind of food we should be eating and what his stance was on several traditions such as bull fighting or force-feeding geese.
At 5.00 pm, Lamya Essemlali drew the conclusion to the conference, announcing that Sea Shepherd France offered an informal vegetarian buffet. She had just finished speaking when the entire room stood up erupting with applause and deafening whistles.
I checked my watch... Captain Watson's standing ovation lasted almost three minutes.
The reaction of those people was truly amazing. I watched them during the conference, they hung to Captain Watson's words, spoken almost for the first time in our country -I learned afterwards that people had come from Spain, Switzerland, all corners of France to hear him. His passion and his dedication to the cause have not wavered one second in more than 30 years, and they are what makes us what we are, Sea Shepherds, the ocean defenders.
Now that all is set and done, the assessments are made, and we can lay back and relax, I think we can all say - at Sea Shepherd France - that we hope the seeds were thrown and that they have taken root. Now is the time for us from all over Europe to join the fight and take a stand to protect our oceans.
I never dreamed of such a huge success, and I don't want to speak for my fellow Sea Shepherd France board members, but I think they were amazed at the response we received as well. We hope it's a sign of the good things to come for Sea Shepherd in France...