|Wednesday, March 30, 2005|
Mother Nature's Fury Means a Relatively Good Day for the Baby Seals
1200 Hours Atlantic Standard Time
47 Degrees 12 Minutes 48 Seconds North
61 Degrees 33 Minutes 32 Seconds West
Six Miles Southeast of Ile d' Entree Island (Magdalen Islands)
It is a relatively good day for the harp seal pups today. The weather is worsening. Gale force winds are increasing and the ice pressure is building. The sealing vessels are all locked into the ice and we have not observed any vessels moving either visually or on radar.
The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen, with a party of Royal Canadian Mounted Police, is parked in the ice less than a quarter of a mile from the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat. They are there to prevent Sea Shepherd from committing the crime of filming or photographing sealers slaughtering seal pups.
One sealer was just overheard reporting to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that he killed 244 seals yesterday. With a hundred vessels out there, if this is the average, it means the sealers slaughtered nearly 25,000 seals yesterday. The quota set for the Gulf of St. Lawrence is 90,000 of the total 320,000 seals. So it appears that the sealers took just over a quarter of their kill quota yesterday.
They won't be taking that number today. One boat reported taking 30 seals by noon and a second reported taking only 22. None of the vessels observed by the Sea Shepherd crew have taken any seals. Many of the sealers are pleading with the Coast Guard to come and break them out of the ice. Presently the Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker Cornwallis is leading a line of sealing vessels and they are moving towards the Farley Mowat as they seek open water.
There is some other good news. One sealing ship sank yesterday and a few were damaged. It appears that a few more are in trouble today and if the ice pressure increases, the possibility of damage to more sealing vessels is high. The crew of the Farley Mowat find themselves today in the rare position of being at sea and hoping for some truly nasty weather.
"The more freezing rain, the higher and more severe the wind, the greater the ice pressure, the happier the seals and we will be. Mother Nature is venting her righteous fury at those who are murdering her children and we are rooting her on," said Captain Watson.
There are many seals around the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat, which is the safest place for them.
The Farley Mowat is holding well in the gale. The ship is in an open lead and could reach open water but the Captain has decided to stay amongst the seals and risk being temporarily locked into the ice. "We don't intend to abandon these seals," Captain Watson said.
Captain Watson did a live on-air interview with City TV from Toronto this morning. He also did interviews with the London Times and the British newspaper The Independent. Crewmember Mathieu Mauvernay did interviews with media in Quebec and 1st Officer Alex Cornelissen did an interview with the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.