Sea Shepherd Successfully Helps Guatemalan Officials Halt Poaching Operation
Crew of Sea Shepherd Vessel Brigitte Bardot to Continue Assistance in Patrols, Spread Conservation Awareness
Sea Shepherd’s high-speed trimaran, the Brigitte Bardot has returned from its first successful patrol assisting the Guatemalan Department of Fisheries in its anti-poaching enforcement operations. Asked by Fisheries officials to help battle poaching in Guatemalan waters, Sea Shepherd is helping to lower the impact of illegal fishing of billfish by commercial fishermen.
The Sea Shepherd crew of the Brigitte Bardot joined a three-person Naval delegation and two officials of the Fisheries department for this patrol.
During the first night of patrols, as many as seven boats were boarded by the Guatemalan officials. Upon inspection, two of these boats proved to have an illegal catch of sailfish. The illegally caught wildlife was documented and then returned to the sea. Administrative action has been taken against the fishermen.
There are two types of fishing methods that the Sea Shepherd crew and Fisheries officials can encounter during these patrols: longlines and gill nets. These fishing methods, which are highly destructive and often indiscriminately kill ocean life, must both be in compliance with a set of Guatemalan government standards which this confiscated illegal catch did not meet.
The Bardot crew will continue offering assistance to the Fisheries department on patrols. The main goal of these anti-poaching operations is to gather evidence to present to the Guatemalan government. Sea Shepherd is hopeful that if these patrols show that illegal fishing takes place on a large scale and presents a significant threat in Guatemalan waters, more action will be taken to combat this serious problem.
“Guatemala cares deeply about their natural world and we applaud the government for taking this pro-active approach against illegal fishing activities that endanger the country’s natural balance and the environment as a whole. Sea Shepherd believes that direct action is needed to fight the serious and imminent threats facing the world’s oceans,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen, Sea Shepherd Global Executive Director.
When not on patrol, the crew of the Brigitte Bardot will continue to give talks at schools, spreading awareness and emphasizing the urgent need for ocean protection.