Monday, March 31, 2014

Incredible Verdict From World Court!!!!!!

Greetings everyone and welcome back to Operation Bleeding Seas II. Today is a fantastic day for the whales of the Southern Ocean and anyone who has fought to see the Japanese Whaling Fleet stopped. Before I get started on this though, this blog will be about whales despite whales not being focused on during this operation, this news is beyond needed to comment on. Getting back to the matters at hand.

Early this morning the International Court of Justice announced that Japan's JARPA II whaling program is not a scientific whaling program. They ordered that Japan revoke all whaling permits under JARPA II be revoked. Also, no permits may be given to kill whales under the JARPA II program. The vote passed 12-4. The court stated that Japan's whaling program was not scientific whaling as defined by the International Whaling Commission. This officially means that Japans whaling program is illegal. Now there is no disputing this. The scientific claims have been defeated and now it is clear as day that Japan's whaling program was nothing more than commercial whaling hiding under the banner of scientific whaling.

For many years now, including this year, Japan had used the JARPA II whaling program to get under an international ban on commercial whaling which was handed down by the International Whaling Commission. Japan claimed that they were killing whales for scientific research when in reality, all they were doing was killing whales for profit, not science. That is no longer an opinion. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society knew this all along as year after year they met with the whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and engaged in the now famous Whale Wars. Now that the mask of scientific whaling has been taken off, one major question exists in my mind. Is Japan done?

Now that the International Court has ruled that Japan's whaling program is not scientific whaling will Japan call off it's annual whale hunt? For now that is an unanswered question. Japan has already claimed that they will not give up on research whaling just yet. The North Pacific will still see the Japanese whaling fleet doing what they do as Japanese representatives try to figure out what they will do with their Antarctic program. Japan's North Pacific Whaling Program was not covered in Australia's lawsuit against Japan's Antarctic program so they are still allowed to whale in those waters as far as I understand. Hopefully this is the long awaited end of the Whale Wars. Hopefully a harpoon is never again fired into the spine of a whale in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. If Japan does again head south to kill whales against the court's orders, than the Australian and New Zealand Government should send ships and arrest each and every one of the poachers and confiscate the ships of the fleet as well. Should these governments fail to uphold international law and allow poaching in Australian waters, then Sea Shepherd will once again be down there to uphold what can now be officially known as international law.

Today is a fantastic day for the whales and everyone who has ever fought for them. From Greenpeace, to Sea Shepherd, to every other organization that has taken a stance against whaling, to every individual person who has spoken out against this whaling program, thank you. We have all fought (some longer than others for sure) to see Japan's Antarctic Whaling Program JARPA II be deemed illegal and now it officially is. If the Japanese poachers return to the Southern Ocean, we will all return as well until the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is what it is supposed to be, a sanctuary.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Operation Bleeding Seas II Conservation Playlist Number 1

Greetings everyone. I've decided that for Operation Bleeding Seas II I will be posting a few blogs with several videos about the conservation of manta rays, sharks, bluefin tuna, as well as videos on the Faroe Islands whale slaughter. This is the first of those blogs. Not too much to say about them before you watch. You'll have to watch to understand what each of them are about. I will warn you, some of the footage may be graphic. At the same time though, as you watch, keep in mind that these are things going on in our world. These are the fights that we need to step up in. These animals cannot ensure their own survival alone. It is up to us to spread the word about each of these plights and help put an end to the killings in anyway we can. With that being said we will start off with the video entitled Manta Ray of Hope.

While on the topic of manta rays, here is another video highlighting the plight of the manta ray entitled  Manta Ray of Hope- Global Threat to Manta and Mobula Rays

Lastly on the manta front for today, a public service announcement by the founder Virgin Group (which contains more than 400 companies) Sir Richard Branson. The video is entitled Sir Richard Branson PSA- Protect Manta Rays

From manta rays I'll move to a couple shark videos. Sharks are one of the most important animals in the world and their numbers are literally crashing as overfishing continues to see populations decline worldwide. The first video some of you may have seen back in 2008 during CNN's Planet in Peril series. This video is entitled Wild Aid- Planet in Peril: Shark Finning

The next video is what happened when insanely popular chef Gordon Ramsay ate shark fin soup for the first time. If you are a fan or have heard of the good chef, you will without a doubt not want to miss this. The video is entitled Gordon Ramsay eats Shark Fin Soup for the first time!

While on the note of public service announcements, I'll wrap up the shark videos for today with a public service announcement from Yao Ming, a former NBA star! The video is entitled WildAid PSA- Yao Ming: Shark Fin Soup.

In the Faroe Islands there is a slaughter that takes place every year. The slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe islands is nothing more than a massacre that takes place basically as a celebration of past culture. It has no real part in the world today as the Faroe Islands no longer rely on the whales as a food source, rather as just a means to celebrate in an extremely brutal way. Here is a short rundown of the controversial slaughter entitled Faroe Whale Cull- Faroe Islands

On a not so controversial note, bluefin tuna populations around the world continue to decline. Now we are in danger of losing this amazing fish forever. Once gone, things will never be the same which is why we need to act now to save these animals. The final video in this blog is a clip from a documentary Track of the Tuna.

So this brings the first video playlist blog of Operation Bleeding Seas II to a close. I hope you found these videos interesting. I'm not quite sure yet as to how many of these blogs I will do, but this was a test run of a new idea for this blog. Time will tell if I keep doing these or not, but for now expect more in the future. Thank you all for reading and watching. The next blog of Operation Bleeding Seas II will probably be an introduction blog to the plight of sharks.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Manta Ray Gill Trade Threatens Gentle Giants With Extinction

Greetings everyone. I've decided to kick off Operation Bleeding Seas II with a blog about the manta ray. First off, allow me to introduce you all to these animals. Manta rays are not your average everyday ray that you might find swimming just offshore. They are not stingrays nor are they electric at all. In fact these rays have no natural defense other than their massive size. These rays are gentle giants and as such have never harmed a human being.

Manta rays have also been quite generous to scuba divers, often times even approaching them to see just what they are.

Incredibly majestic, the manta ray is a favorite among divers and have a most mysterious lifestyle. We know very little about these animals, but there are things we do know. For example. We know that these animals are filter feeders. They glide through the water with their mouths open and sift the water out their gill rakers while trapping any krill or other small creatures inside. We also know that these animals have an incredibly slow reproductive rate. Some manta rays are though to possibly give birth to just one pup every few years, or even one pup in an entire lifetime. You can imagine that these animals must have somewhat of a long lifespan if they have such a slow reproductive rate. Predator wise, the manta ray has very few. Large sharks are known to prey on them as are orcas, but for the most part, the size of the manta keeps any would be predators at bay. Outside of their size, they have no real defense.

Sadly, all species of manta ray are currently threatened with extinction. This has nothing at all to do with there being too many natural predators eating them. No this has everything to do with man. Yes even the gentle manta rays are being driven to extinction by us. The sad thing is, we don't even use these animals as a real food source. You don't here people saying that they are going fishing for mantas to make manta steaks like you here some fishermen say about sharks. It just doesn't happen that way. No, these animals are hunted for a much more disturbing reason. These animals are hunted for one thing. Their gill rakers.

It is the gill rakers that people want. The rest of the manta ray, despite being so large, has very little value. Check out this graphic on just how much manta ray gill rakers are worth.

Yes, you read that correctly, and that chart is accurate. So why in the world are these gill rakers so expensive you ask? The reason is that these gill rakers are being sold as traditional Chinese medicine. Strangely enough, the gill rakers are not a part of traditional Chinese medicine. So they are really being false advertised as a part of that medicine. None the less, people buy into them. They are said to cure many ailments ranging from the chickenpox to cancer. In reality, they have been scientifically proven in none of these claims.

So these gill rakers that are supposed to have this magical curing ability really do nothing at all for human health. Until some solid scientific proof comes out that these animals do have the power to cure anything, I will continue to believe that these animals do not have that power. The fact that these gills are being sold is just a disturbing example of human greed. We are selling these gills for literally no reason. We are once again taking advantage of animals that do not stand a chance against us. So people want to make money off of manta rays? Why not do it in a responsible way? As I mentioned earlier, mantas have never harmed a human, and short of running into them, cant really hurt a human. So why not take advantage of that in a way that wont harm the animal? Why not focus more on manta ray tourism? People all over the world want to have the chance to swim with these animals. I've done it once and it was simply incredible to see one of these animals swimming just under me. I could have reached down and touched it and it would not have cared. Despite probably not even knowing what I am, she showed no fear and way completely content with me being nearby. If you don't think that would bring in more money than selling the gill rakers, I have some facts that may change your mind.

Value of the global manta ray gill raker trade: 11 million dollars USD
Value of global manta ray tourism: 100 million dollars USD
Tourism value of one manta throughout the course of it's life: 1 million dollars USD

Instead of taking advantage of these figures, people are choosing to do this to them. WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES AHEAD!!!!!!!


It's a brutal thing that we are doing to these animals isn't it? An animal that couldn't harm us even if it wanted to and we are literally eliminating it from the world for money. This is not overhunting of a food source. This is straight slaughter of an animal that has zero business in being slaughtered. The demand for gill rakers in on the rise. It needs to be ended before it is too late for these majestic beings. We are not talking about an animal that does nothing for the environment, we are talking about a large filter feeder that helps to keep populations of small organisms in check while maintaining it's own populations through an incredibly slow reproductive rate. The loss of these animals will drastically change the face of the areas they live in. The time to end the gill raker trade has come. Visit www.mantarayofhope to see what you can do to help put an end to this barbaric trade.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Welcome to Operation Bleeding Seas II

Hello everyone and welcome one and all to Operation Bleeding Seas II! For those of you who do not know who I am, I will tell you as that is probably a good place to start this introduction. My name is Doug. I have been typing on this blog for over a year now and am a huge advocate for the animals living in our oceans. I am a supporter of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and other conservation groups who are actively working to defend aquatic life. I grew up not even a mile from the ocean and have loved it my whole life. I have worked with many marine animals including sharks, seals, penguins, and a plethora of fish. With that being said, lets take a look at this operation shall we?

Operation Bleeding Seas II will take place from today, March 19th, 2014, till whatever the last day of summer is. This campaign is going to focus on the conservation of sharks, manta rays, and bluefin tuna. I will also be focusing on the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands. For those of you who may have been following along for dolphin conservation stuff, I do apologize as this time of the year I tend to focus on mantas as opposed to dolphins. As always though, if anything major were to happen I would still type about it. Just because they are not a major focus of this operation does not mean that I am not paying attention as to what is going on. So that's my little disclaimer on that. This campaign, as with all of my other campaigns will have both facts and opinions in the blogs. If I have an opinion on something I will simply say "in my opinion" before finishing the sentence. Otherwise take things here as facts. I will be doing my best to spread news about these animals as I read them and will also be doing some blogs that are more educational than about changing the world. Personally, I think those two things are really one and the same, but others would surely argue that. Also, I will warn you now that the blogs in this operation are going to have graphic images and video. I didn't call this Operation Bleeding Seas II for no reason. As always though, I will warn you before any of these images or videos are shown so you may quickly scroll on by them.

 Now lets look at why I am focusing on sharks, mantas, bluefin tuna, and the Faroe Island slaughter.

Sharks will be the number 1 focus of Operation Bleeding Seas II. Movies like Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, Sharknado, and about a million others have instilled a fear of sharks into the hearts of millions and millions of people worldwide. Throughout the world these animals are also being hunted for their fins for use in a soup known as shark fin soup. In certain parts of the world, these animals are straight up being slaughtered for no reason. We will take a closer look throughout the campaign on these issues.

We will look at the effects that the media has had on people's views of sharks. We will tear down the myths and get down to the truths about these animals. We will see that these animals are not the monsters that Hollywood has made them out to be. While we fight that battle, we will also fight a far more serious one. Shark finning is a massive cause of plummeting shark populations worldwide. It is estimated that 100,000,000 sharks are being killed on an annual basis. This is simply inexcusable and must end now if we ever want these animals to have a chance in the future. Sharks reproduce very slowly and some species will only give birth to one pup at a time. This is just one of the reasons like states such as West Australia should not be having a wholesale slaughter of these animals. The slaughter of sharks worldwide must come to an end or they will be lost forever.

Manta Rays
One of the gentle giants of the seas. Nearly everyone has heard of them. They majestically swim through the water and perform spectacular flips and jumps while hunting or freeing themselves of parasites. They would never hurt a human and have swam side by side peacefully with them. Now though, people are killing these animals at an extremely dangerous rate. Why you ask? For just one part of their bodies, their gill rakers. The gill rakers are used in filter feeding, but for humans they do nothing. Despite this fact, they are sold as a part of traditional Chinese medicine while not actually being traditional Chinese medicine. You did read that right. The bottom line is these animals are going to vanish if this gill raker trade continues to run unchecked. Mantas, like sharks are very slow to reproduce, and some mantas will only give birth to one pup during the course of it's life.

Bluefin Tuna
Of all the species of large fish in the world, the bluefin tuna is certainly one of the most prized. Often sold as sushi or at dining establishments, this endangered fish is now facing extinction. Contrary to sharks and mantas, bluefin tuna do have a pretty rapid reproductive rate once the animals mature and begin spawning. It is when these animals group up though that humans will scoop entire schools out of the seas. We have completely decimated this once abundant species of fish and now overfishing is pushing them to a point they will not be able to recover from. There is still time left to save these animals, but we need to quickly change our ways before overfishing claims them and eventually the rest of the seas.

The Faroe Islands
This little island chain holds an incredibly dark secret. Every year a slaughter of hundreds of pilot whales takes place in these islands and not only is it a slaughter, but a family affair. You read that right. Men, women, and even children participate in one of the most barbaric slaughters in the entire world. This inhumane slaughter sees pregnant whales have their wombs cut open and their unborn calfs spilled onto the ground, and that's just the start of the horrors that will be exposed.

Operation Bleeding Seas II is officially on! Expect the first blog of the operation in the very near future!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Operation Kibou Finale!!!!

Welcome welcome one and all to the finale of Operation Kibou! First of all I want to thank each and every one of you guys who have read this blog throughout the fall and winter months. To say it was a wild ride is an understatement. I never in a million years expected this blog to continue to take off as it has and looking back at the charts, well I can say that this campaign is by far the most successful yet! Again, thank you thank you thank you! So here we are at the end of Operation Kibou. Lets take a look back at some of the major events that had happened during this campaign and take it from there shall we?

On September 1st, 2013 Operation Kibou was launched. The title literally translates to Operation Hope as Kibou is hope in Japanese. On the very first day of the campaign Japan rounded up between 60 and 70 bottlenose dolphins at the cove in Taiji, Japan. It was certainly a grim way to kick off a campaign that was originally going to be about holding onto hope for these animals, but that grimness would only last for so long. During this campaign, the documentary Blackfish aired on CNN and I did my first reaction to a documentary on it. Of course Blackfish continues to be shown around the world and more and more pressure is being placed on Sea World, but my focus has always been on those animals in the wild, so as a late add in to Operation Kibou, I added the Orca to the campaign. Due to a ton of other stuff coming up which I could simply not forsee happening, only two blogs would actually be about the orca. November marked the first time that I had done over 10 blogs in one month. Simply put, a lot of stuff happened in November. The Carolina shark was named, Anonymous's Operation Killing Bay kicked off, New Zealand decided to ban shark finning, and Sea Shepherd's Operation Relentless began to undergo it's final preparations. From then on Operation Kibou was focused largely on dolphins while things remained largely quiet on the shark and whale fronts. The campaign also featured two blogs by another author (Chelsey) who did a fun Christmas blog and a interesting blog on overfishing. Something I'm hopeful she will like to add to Operation Bleeding Seas II.

December was a month that had a nice mix of blogs including a blog about orcas and also contained the first mentions of a possible shark cull in West Australia. Something that we now know is all too real. Just before the holidays, this blog had it's 100th post! Talk about a milestone I never thought this blog would make. Just goes to show you never really know what is going to happen right? 2013 came to an end with the number of blogs in this campaign at 33. For an idea as to how large this campaign becomes, there were 19 blogs in the entire previous campaign. 2014 kicked off with a few updates on Sea Shepherd's Operation Relentless and protests over a potential shark cull in West Australia. Operation Killing Bay was still raging on and a shark that was thought to be extinct was rediscovered! February I feel was the darkest month of the campaign. Operation Killing Bay came to an end as the members of Anonymous refocused on other human issues such as the situation in Ukraine and other countries. February also saw the launch of West Australia's shark cull, a cull which has now claimed the lives of over 100 tiger sharks. As things started to wind down on the fronts of whales and dolphins, one thing became apparent. That one thing was that the West Australian Government meant business with their shark cull and it continues today. Elsewhere in the world, the states of Illinois and California have shown that their shark fin laws are not to be messed with and more and more countries are looking into defending these animals. So that leads us up to today. Today marks the final blog of Operation Kibou and what an Operation it was!

I don't know about you guys, but for me, this fall/winter I have a renewed hope. Take a look at what has happened over the past few months. Yes dolphins, sharks, and whales were all slaughtered, but look a this. Throughout each of these respective slaughters, more and more people became aware of what was going on. Anonymous brought an entire new breed of person into the fight to save the dolphins of Taiji. They brought in hackers and other computer enthusiasts who may have had zero idea as to what was going on in the cove. Sea Shepherd continued to bring attention to the issue of commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean and have also helped to, along with West Australians for Shark Conservation and other groups, bring mass attention to the shark cull in West Australia. Rallies continue around the world for these slaughters to end and I still have a ton of hope that they someday will! Until those days come though I still have much work to do. At 57 blogs long, Operation Kibou is officially my largest campaign to date.  So with that Operation Kibou is now officially over! It has been an incredible ride and again, I have to thank you guys for reading and spreading the word about these real world issues. I now look forward to Operation Bleeding Seas II.

In case you missed my Bleeding Seas II preview blog, the campaign will focus largely on sharks, manta rays, and the annual pilot whale slaughter of the Faroe Islands. I will also be doing some blogging about the bluefin tuna as well. Look forward to the official Operation Bleeding Seas II introduction blog sometime tomorrow night or Wednesday!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Shark Holocaust of West Australia Continues

Greetings again everyone. I hope you are all doing well. First I have some good news of a sort I guess. I have to apologize to you all on something. It has come to my attention that I made a slight error on a previous blog entitled "West Australia's Government Gets it's Prize.... For Now...". Actually it was a rather large error. The news that I had reported on was in a sense fabricated. The white shark that was caught and killed in Australia was not off of West Australia, it was off of the Gold Coast of Australia on the Eastern side of the continent. I apologize to all of you for the false information and I can promise you all that it will not happen again. I try to bring you guys accurate news coupled with my own opinions and well in this case, I failed at that. So now here is an update on what is really going on in West Australia's Shark Cull.

The holocaust against the species of shark known as the tiger shark continues to ravage the tiger shark populations off of West Australia. The only thing that is becoming apparent in this cull is that the tiger shark is playing a very important role in the ecosystem off of West Australia. I am seriously starting to wonder just how much of an impact this cull is really going to have. It is now estimated that over 100 tiger sharks have been killed in this cull. West Australians for Shark Conservation put out a very, well harrowing graphic that paints a perfect picture of the results of this cull so far...

Remember... This cull was designed originally to catch white sharks. So far zero of them have been caught, at least zero that have been listed. It is possible that an undersized great white was misidentified as a blacktip shark. That is a possibility though and nothing more. Also notice that there have been zero bull sharks killed. This chart just further paints the picture that this cull is a failure. They wanted to catch this massive great white that was terrorizing the beach visitors. Well, they have not done it yet. All they have done is slaughter a species that has not committed any violence towards humans in West Australia for over 70 years.

Earlier today, images surfaced of a real tragedy at sea in this cull. Yet another large tiger shark was caught, shot, and then dropped to the bottom of the sea. I warn you, this image is quite graphic.

These two photos really paint the perfect picture of this cull. This shark was shot not once, but twice. Vomited up it's stomach, and then while still alive, was dumped out at sea. Talk about the definition of horrific. This is the kind of stuff that needs to end. There is no excuse for any animal in the sea or on land to have to endure this kind of torture. This is not a quick and painless death. This is a death that should be reserved for the worst kinds of people. This is the kind of stuff that you would see in crazy Halloween murder movies. It's simply horrible. By all rights, the tiger shark should not even be a part of this cull, but sadly they are. The West Australian Government continues to be totally inept as to the way they are handling this cull. The politicians still believe that they are making the beaches safer. I honestly fail to believe how killing an animal that has not killed a single person in over 70 years has any business being killed.

So that is what is going on in this cull now. The holocaust against the tiger sharks of West Australia are in deep, deep trouble for literally no legit reason. They should not be being killed, but the government just absolutely does not comprehend that these animals have not been involved in a fatal attack in over 70 years! Again, I have to apologize for the incorrect information that was posted in an earlier blog. The blog has since been removed and it will not be happening again. Stay tuned for the big finale blog of Operation Kibou!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Japanese Antarctic Whaling Season Comes to a Close

Greetings once again everyone. As we draw ever closer to the end of Operation Kibou, Sea Shepherd has reached the end of Operation Relentless. This means that the Japanese Whaling fleet is heading North, back to Japan and Sea Shepherd is following them out of the Whale Sanctuary. With the International Court decesion on the legality of the whaling due to come down at some point, this could very well have been the last season for the whaling fleet if the courts rule in favor of Australia. With the whaling season now at a close, we begin the waiting game to see just how effective Sea Shepherd's Operation Relentless was. Early estimates from Captain Paul Watson is that the Japanese may have killed just over 200 whales. That seems like a large number, and it is. Financially however, this number would result in another disasterous year for the whaling fleet as they typically need to kill around 500 or so to even break even on expenses. 

Despite that being a possibility, there is still zero reason for this whaling issue to even exist. At the start of Operation Kibou I made note of the fact that there is an International moratorium on commerical whaling. Japan goes down to the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary with a self imposed quota every year to perform lethal scientific research. The Internaional Whaling Commission allows the meat of any of these whales that are killed for scientific purposes to be sold as opposed to just going to waste. It is a loophole that the Japanese expose each and every year. They claim to be doing research, but with virtually no research coming out of Japan and a very large number of whales being killed, things just don't add up to scientific research. They hunt in the name of sciene, but really are only in it for the money. What that means is that this is not scientifc whaling, but it is commercial whaling, which is illegal. Also, the whaling fleet hunts in a whale sanctuary established by and controlled by Australia. What do we call people who go in and kill lions in wildlife preserves? Poachers. So what is the difference between them and the whaling fleet? Nothing other than the fact that it is the Japanese Government that continues to ignore the sanctuary and allow it's ships to enter Australian waters and kill whales. However, I can no longer solely place the blame on Japan for the continuation of this slaughter every year.

Despite multiple claims by the Australian Government, they have done very little to fight Japan over the issue of whaling. Yes they took them to International Court. That was a smart thing to do. Hopefully it pans out in Australia's favor, but there remains a much larger issue. When the Australian Government got voted into office, they promised to put an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean. They have failed on that promise, and largely even failed to act on it. They said they would send a ship to monitor the whaling fleet. They didn't. They said they would send a ship to monitor clashes between the whaling fleet and Sea Shepherd. They didn't. They said they would use an aircraft to monitor the whaling fleet and Sea Shepherd. There was one breif fly over and that was it for the entire season. If you were the government of Japan, would you stop whaling down there knowing that nobody besides conservationists are going to try and uphold international law? Japan has no fear of the consequences of their actions because there are none. If Sea Shepherd wasn't down there and Japan was allowed to catch their quotas, they would have a nice, illegal, little operation going on in a whale sanctuary. Even if the International Court rules in favor of Australia, it would not surprise me one bit to see the whaling fleet again attempting to poach whales because Australia wont actually do anything about it. 

So what can we hope for now? Well if I understand things right, it is nearing election time in Australia. We could hope for a change in government to one that will actually do something about the whaling issue since it is actually on the minds of many Australians. We can also hope that the Internationl Court does rule in favor of Australia and even if they do not do anything, perhaps another nation (New Zealand?) would be willing to step up and uphold international law. We can also hope that by some miracle Japan realizes that whaling has no place in the world. The days of needing whale meat to sustain peoples are largely over save for a few native peoples who kill what they need and are not supplying entire countries. The whales have a major purpose in our oceans and for us to continue to drive species to extinction is simply not a right thing to do. There is a ton that we can learn from these animals without killing them and if Japan realizes this, than I have zero doubts that Japan could become the country doing the most whale research. Until then, I do not think for a second that killing over 500 whales a year is going to provide some massive whale research as opposed to producing a questionable profit and nothing more. 

As I close out the whaling portion of Operation Kibou I want to remind everyone of something. Japan is not the only nation killing whales. Iceland continues to have it's own commercial whaling program that it carries out in it's own waters as well. Earlier in the campaign I even did a blog about Iceland actually processing whale meat into a beer. The Faroe Islands, which I will be looking more into during Operation Bleeding Seas II, continue to have an annual pilot whale slaughter as well. While these two whale slaughters may not garner the attention that Japan does, they are hardly different. The main difference is that Japan is doing some of their killing in a whale sanctuary which brings much more controversey. Whaling has no place in the world we live in today. The fight for the whales is not a new thing. It has been going on for quite some time now and it is a fight that I think we will eventually win. The vast majority of the world is opposed to commercial whaling and as time goes by I think more and more of the world will be. Thank you all for reading the whaling blogs of Operation Kibou. I hope that you guys found some interesting things in these blogs and hope you will join me for the special Faroe Islands blog topics that will be a part of Operation Bleeding Seas II. Remember a whale is a whale no matter how small and the pilot whales of the Faroe Islands deserve far better than what the people of those islands give them...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Illinois's and California's Shark Fin Laws Showing Bite!

Greetings everyone. Well it looks like both Illinois and California are not taking their shark fin laws lightly. In both states it is illegal to posses, sell, or trade shark fins. In those two states that does mean that shark fin soup is an illegal dish as well, shark fins are in the soup. So what has happened in these two states over the past month or so? Let's take a look shall we.

Lets start with Illinois. This state is situated in the mid west with no borders that are oceans.

Of all places in the United States, Illinois is probably one of the last places the average person would expect to see with a shark fin problem. Well just like states on the coast, they do have a shark fin problem and they have acted on it. In 2012, the State Government of Illinois  passed a law banning the sale and trade of shark fins. After a very short time, the state started to make moves to get shark fins out of the state. In late 2013 Illinois Conservation Police purchased shark fin products from 6 different companies in Chicago. Some of the purchased items included shark fin soup off a menu, cans of shark fin soup, as well as frozen and dried shark fins. All of these items were confirmed to have shark fin in them by the Field Museum in Chicago for DNA analysis. This past February officers returned to those locations with citations. The citations were for unlawful commercialization of shark fin and operating a fish market without a Resident Retail Aquatic Life Dealer License. When the officers returned, they confiscated a total of 22 more cans containing shark fin and also confiscated 11 packages of frozen blue shark fins.

At this time, Illinois has issued 12 shark fin citations with 80 violations since the law has been enacted. The shark fin citation is considered a Class A Misdemeanor which is punishable by 1 year in jail and $2,500 dollars in fines.

Over on the west coast, another state has seen their shark fin laws enforced. That would be the large state of California! California's law basically mirrors that of Illinois and was enacted in 2011.
Big news came out of San Francisco recently about a massive shark fin bust. Usually business owners cited for selling shark fins only have a small amount of them, well Mr. Michael Kwong has been cited for holding over a ton of shark fins! The fins were discovered after authorities questioned Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood in a nearby town. As with Illinois, having shark fins is a misdemeanor. Kwong could face up to six months in prison as well as fines under California state law. Despite this, he has asked authorities to keep the fins refrigerated and has demanded that they be returned to him as soon as possible. It is unknown, but doubtful I would think that authorities would comply with those requests.

So there you have it. Two states, one on the coast and one in the middle of the country upholding the laws they passed in an effort to save sharks. While some of the Asian populations of those states continue to call the law racist, I applaud both of those states as well as Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Maryland, Delaware, and New York for having their own shark fin laws in place or preparing to be implemented. I hope that sooner, rather than later, even more states follow the example that these states have set.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sea World Facing it's Worst Nightmare

Greetings yet again everyone, busy night right? Well I have one more bit of information that I would like to share with all of you. News has come out that California is considering banning Orcas from performing in shows. What does that mean? Well, it means first of all that Sea World's nightmare could be coming true much to the joy of many a conservationist. Sea World has long had Orcas in captivity and now they could be facing a very big problem. Since the documentary Blackfish was shown on CNN, Sea World has really been taking a beating.

Sea World has had to endure incredible ridicule about the way they treat their animals. They also have had to deal with many of the artists who were scheduled to play at the parks dropping out in protest of the company. Now they have to endure this new news. Many people in California are apparently in favor of this banning. Of course there are also those who are in favor of the Orcas staying. So here is my two cents on the situation.

I think at this point it is time for Sea World to at the very least change their ways. The conditions that the Orcas live in are undeniably poor. We are not talking about some small fish or medium sized sharks swimming in a tank, we are looking at massive marine mammals that travel miles and miles a day. They should never had been taken out of the wild to begin with, but at the same time, just how many people would care about them if Sea World never existed? It's a catch 22 if you ask me. Obviously these animals would be far better off in the wild than in captivity, but if there were never any in captivity, who would really care about them? Is it time to just empty the tanks? I have no idea the right answer to that. Orcas have proven to the world that they can be released and go on to live perfectly normal lives. Again though, will the general public lose interest in them if they could only see them by going on a boat? Or at this point would that actually garner more interest for the animals? Again I don't have the answer. Then there is the whole trainer/animal relationship. It's another topic of great debate. Some people say that yes, the animal becomes bonded with it's trainer, and then there are those who say the animal is only doing what the trainer asks because it knows that is the only way it will be fed. My opinion on the matter?

Again I feel like I am in the middle of the road. I have seen with my own eyes relationships between marine mammals and their trainers that are legitimate relationships where the animal shows affection even when no food is present. I've never seen it with orcas, but in general I have seen it. For the animals with a higher intelligence level such as dolphins and whales, I really don't know how I feel. They're plenty aware that only doing what the trainer asks will get them food. So is there a human/orca relationships? I have no idea really. I know that many trainers believe there is, but until I see things proven, I just cant 100% buy into it. Getting back to the main topic though as my focus is on what could happen right now...

Sea World has not been making smart moves since the release Blackfish. They failed to defend themselves against the accusations the documentary made from the get go and have now unleashed a massive campaign on Twitter claiming that Blackfish is nothing but propaganda and that Sea World respects the bond between mothers and baby orcas. Two things that are blatant lies that have done nothing but angered people even more. Time and time again Sea World has severed the bond between calf and mother and Blackfish, though one sided, does offer a great deal of facts about Sea World. This coupled with the things I mentioned above makes this new potential law very interesting to me. What if Sea World has to give up the orcas? What would happen to them. I highly doubt they would give into conservationist wishes and release them. People who think that are blind to what will probably happen. It would not surprise me one bit if the following scenario occurs. Sea World is forced to get rid of the orcas, so they move some of them to Orlando or another park. If they cant fit them all, then they will sell them for as much money as they can to a park in China or somewhere else in the world. They will never release these animals if they are told they cannot keep them anymore. Sea World has far too much money invested in them and sadly, once again, that is what it will come down to. It will not come down to what is better for the animals. It will be what is better for Sea World and what will make the most money. Either way, things are certainly getting interesting in this war over what should be done with the orcas of Sea World.

Unless more comes out about this potential new law, this will probably be the final blog on orcas during Operation Kibou. I know there was only a couple, but between the everything that happened in Taiji this year and now West Australia, I simply did not have enough time to really delve into the situation of orcas in captivity as much as I thought I would. Again, for the record I have taken no stance on the issue as I have great relations with people on both sides of the fence and my primary focus is on the animals in the wild. That being said, I do not think a single orca should be taken out of the wild ever again. Thank you all for reading once again!  

Operation Bleeding Seas II Preview

Greetings once again everyone. We are just 10 short days away from the end of Operation Kibou and I have decided that it is time for my very first operation, Operation Bleeding Seas to come back as Operation Bleeding Seas II. For those of you who have read my blog from the beginning, you may recall that Operation Bleeding Seas was a short campaign to get things started. I focused on Sharks and Manta Rays during that campaign, but since then my drive has increased massively and now it is time to revisit where it all began. Operation Bleeding Seas II will without a doubt be my most aggressive campaign yet. Here is a preview of some of the things you can expect from Operation Bleeding Seas II....

Shark finning and long line fishing continue to have horrific impacts on the world's sharks. Some species face extinction within our lifetimes. Despite this, shark kill tournaments remain in place and a government even supports the killing of sharks in a bogus campaign to make beaches safer. We are bleeding these animals off the face of the Earth and the time for change is now. Sharks are some of the most important animals in the entire world and without them, we will cease to exist. Through news, facts, opinions, and first hand accounts I will be fighting non stop to save these animals before it is too late. Sharks will be a major focus in Operation Bleeding Seas II. The truth about what happens to them will be revealed to all who read. Early Caution: Odds are extremely high at this point that there will be many videos and photos of people committing cruelty on sharks. I urge those with sensitive stomachs to heed any kinds of cautions that may exist in said blogs...

Manta Rays
The gentle rays of the Earth continue to see their populations devastated due to overfishing. The manta ray gill raker trade remains a major trade in China and the fight to save these animals is about to heat up. Shark Savers is preparing to continue it's Manta Ray of Hope campaign and actually have a campaign within China. These animals that have never harmed a person are in very grave danger and only we will be able to save them before it is too late. In order to do this though, the truth about these animals must be exposed!

Faroe Islands
Obviously the Faroe Islands are not animals. This will be the first time that I will be aiming at one location in particular. Every summer, the Faroe Islands commit horrific displays of barbarism against pilot whales. With the summer just around the corner, the eyes of those who keep watch over the cove in Taiji during the winter shift to the Faroe Islands where a wholesale slaughter continues every year. Men, women, and children all take part in these killings that even see unborn whales spilled from their mothers. The Faroe Islands have quietly done this long enough. I will be following Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as they undergo Operation Grindstop 2014. I'll share the news that they bring from the front lines in the Faroe Islands. I will also be exposing the bloody past years of these islands slaughters. This form of barbarism has no place in the world we live in. The time is up for the Faroe Islands to quietly go about slaughtering hundreds of whales every year.

Bluefin Tuna
Taking a step back from last summer, the bluefin tuna will play a smaller role in Operation Bleeding Seas II. Sharks, mantas, and the situation in the Faroe Islands will play the major roles in the operation. Still though, I will be making several blogs of the bluefin tuna throughout the campaign as they are just as threatened with extinction as the other animals of the campaign, and in some cases, even moreso.

If you are more of a visual learner, here is why I will be focusing on the above mentioned animals... Caution: Graphic Images ahead. These are the types of images that will be all too common in the upcoming campaign.



Manta Rays 

The Faroe Islands Pilot Whale Slaughter

Bluefin Tuna

It's obvious what needs to be done. People must become educated about each of these issues. Shark finning, long line fishing, gill raker harvesting, and slaughtering whales in unimaginable ways needs to end forever. In closing. In 10 days Operation Kibou will end and it will be time for me to shift gears once again. The issues facing sharks and mantas will once again take the forefront with the issue of the Faroe Islands appearing whenever they seek to kill innocent whales and the bluefin tuna issue appearing from time to time as well. I will be doing whatever I can do to help see these horrific things come to an end. So strap yourselves in because those of you who were not here for Operation Bleeding Seas are in for something different than anything you have seen me type. Stay tuned in 10 days!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Australian Government Starts to Show it's True Bloody Colors

Good evening everyone. Earlier today I posted a blog with a small update about what is going on in the Southern Ocean between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese Whaling Fleet. The conclusion of that blog is that the Government of Australia has basically abandoned the whale sanctuary by failing to keep up it's campaign promises. They vowed to end whaling in the Southern Ocean and they also vowed to send a ship to monitor the whaling fleet. They have done neither and now it seems like the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott has really started to show his true colors.

News broke today that the PM now fully supports West Australia's Shark Cull. Originally, he seemed to be torn about it after 7 fatal shark attacks occurred off the coast in three years. Now though it seems that any doubt that he had in his mind that killing these animals is wrong is simply gone. I am sad to learn this. I really am. Since I got on board with the conservation of whales and sharks I viewed Abbott as a respectable man who could help to bring about change. Well he certainly has done that now. He has made it okay to slaughter species of shark that are on the brink of becoming endangered or extinct. He has essentially surrendered the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to Japanese Poachers while conservationists are down there doing what his government should be doing. He has failed to keep the promises he made to the people of Australia. It truly has saddened me. I really used to look at Australia as a country with marine life conservation on it's mind. Now I have little choice but to think of them as a country with marine life devastation on it's mind. I'm not talking about the good people of Australia for the record. I am specifically talking about it's government so please do not start screaming racist at me. I am far from that in this case.

Take a look around the world. People everywhere are calling for this ridiculous cull to end. They want to see whaling in the sanctuary to end. What has Australia done? Taken Japan to court where a verdict has yet to be delivered on the issue of whaling as opposed to keeping their campaign promises and now they have given the green light to slaughter protected species of shark. It's disgusting. When you have a government saying that they want to help save life in the seas, but then gives the green light to murder pregnant sharks. Something is a little wrong with that. That brings yet another issue to the cull. What is the justification of killing pregnant sharks undersized or not. Just the other day a large, pregnant tiger shark was killed and dumped at sea. In reality, a lot more than one shark was killed that day.

Sharks in general are slow to mature and breed very slowly. It's their own way of keeping their own populations in check as apex predators. It's natural. With that though, sharks become very vulnerable to overfishing which has a lot to do with why shark populations worldwide are in the sad state they are in. We just take way too many out of the seas. Now with Australia supporting the wholesale slaughter of these animals, pregnant or not, shark populations off of W.A. are in dire straights. This latest kill of a pregnant tiger shark further proves that the people who are in charge of this cull know little to nothing about the animals that they are killing. To any audience in Australia that may be reading this...

Continue fighting for these animals. You guys are the ones who are going to be the ones to make the change in this dark time. All of us around the world support you and will continue asking your government to stop the killings, but ultimately you guys are the ones who will make the change. Sea Shepherd Australia, West Australians For Shark Conservation, and all the other groups out there documenting this cull and keeping it in the daylight. I say Thank You and never stop doing what you are doing for these animals. Sea Shepherd Australia, best of luck in court against the government of this atrocious cull. We can only hope that justice will prevail.

Confirmed: More Whales Slaughtered in Whale Sanctuary

Greetings everyone. Just wanted to provide you all with an update as to what is going on in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Just a few hours ago, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society released new and disturbing photos of the Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship, Nisshin Maru. On the deck of the vessel were several whales that had either been butchered, were in the process of being butchered, or were waiting to be butchered. These photos confirm that whales are being killed in a protected whale sanctuary which is controlled by the Australian Government.

A protected Minke Whale, poached from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary by the Japanese whaling fleet

The harpoon entry wound on a protected Minke Whale, poached from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

Slabs of whale meat cut aboard the Nisshin Maru, factory vessel of the Japanese whaling fleet

These photos were taken by the Sea Shepherd helicopter that was launched from the Sea Shepherd flagship, Steve Irwin. This is the fourth time that the helicopter has located the whaling fleet and once again the chase is on. The latest news update from Sea Shepherd is that two of the harpoon vessels of the whaling fleet, the Yushin Maru and the Yushin Maru #3 have engaged the Bob Barker and were dragging large cables across the bow of the conservation ship. I have no idea if this is still going on or what has happened at the time of this blog. Again, there has been zero response from the Australian Government about the fact that whales have been killed in their sanctuary or that there is legit violence going on in their waters.

At the start of the whaling season, Australia claimed that they would send a plane to document the whaling fleet's activities as well as monitor the situation between the whaling fleet and Sea Shepherd. So far, the Australian Government has sent one plane on one day. I don't see how that one flight is by any means an accurate representation of Australia monitoring anything. If the Australian Government took a serious stance on whaling like they promised they would, then their would not be a plane flying around, their would be a ship down their actually monitoring what is going on. They'd see the harpoon vessels shooting explosive tipped harpoons into the spines of whales in their waters and they'd see the clashes between those poachers and the conservationists who are doing the job of the government because they simply refuse to act. I cant help but wonder how things would be down there if the Australian Government was as dedicated to fighting against whaling as West Australia's Government is in their senseless war against sharks. That kind of dedication would probably see an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean, but until that happens, Japan will continue to rape the protected seas of its inhabitants. Until Australia steps up it's game, Sea Shepherd will continue to do the job of the Australian Government which is something that the Australian Government should be ashamed of. They should be ashamed at their own lack of action and the fact that that lack of action is part of the reason that whaling continues in the Southern Ocean and that volunteer conservationists are risking their lives to do something they shouldn't even have to do.