Sea Shepherd joined forces with a group of scientists last month to conduct research on two separate projects off the coast of Mexico: humpback whales and ocean plastics.
From March 8th to the 19th 2017, Sea Shepherd’s R/V Martin Sheen welcomed four scientists under the supervision of Dr. Jorge Urban, from Universidade Autonoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS) and sailed to the remote Archipelago of Revillagigedo for scientific studies.
Revillagigedo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Pacific Ocean that is made up of four volcanic islands approximately 240 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, in the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. These include three inner islands, San Benedicto, Socorro and Roca Partida, and the outer island, Clarion.
On April 8th 2017, the M/Y Sam Simon pulled up its 100th illegal gill net from the Gulf of California, which was promptly followed by illegal gill net number 101 and number 102.
That same day, the M/V Farley Mowat pulled up 2 nets, which brought the total of illegal fishing devices retrieved from the Upper Gulf of California since last December to 200.
It is both a great result achieved by the two Sea Shepherd vessels and their crews, but at the same time, very disturbing, as this proves that there are still many nets laying under the surface. These nets kill wild animals, amongst them the endangered totoaba and the near-extinct vaquita, who suffocate when they get entangled in them.
Judge issues restraining orders to further protect the group’s ships and crews
Thanks to a swift response by the Mexican government, a potentially dangerous confrontation by hostile fisherman towards Sea Shepherd was averted on Thursday March 30.
A temporary restraining order issued against the fisherman on March 28 by the Attorney General’s office was ratified by a judge on April 5th.
Protesting fishermen, led by one of San Felipe’s fishing cooperative leaders, held a demonstration on March 26th where they threatened to burn Sea Shepherd ships if they were still in the Gulf by Thursday, March 30th at 14:00 hours.
Sea Shepherd is currently in the Gulf, also known as the Sea of Cortez, for Operation Milagro III to protect the near extinct vaquita porpoise and the endangered totoaba bass. The campaign is in partnership with the government of Mexico.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recently published a draft resolution titled, Abusive use of the Interpol System: the need for more stringent legal safeguards.
It cites the Red Notice issued on Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Founder, Captain Paul Watson by Interpol at the request of Costa Rica among the examples of a broken Red Notice system that has been “abused by some member States in the pursuit of political objectives, repressing the freedom of expression or persecuting members of the political opposition beyond their borders.”
The report states the purpose for the International Notice System is to enable police to alert law enforcement in other countries of potential threats, or to ask for assistance in solving crimes.