Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Continuing Saga of Chasing Poachers

Greetings once again everyone! I hope all is well as usual. Today's blog will not be too terribly long, but will be yet another update on what is going on in both the Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean in regards to Sea Shepherd pursuing illegal toothfish poachers. Before getting started I'd like to remind everyone that this is mostly a shark blog, but lately there's been a ton of news about the toothfish situation. Alright so let's get to it.

My last blog ended as Sea Shepherd was still, and still is hot on the trail of the illegal fishing vessel "Thunder". Since then the New Zealand Navy had intercepted three other illegal fishing vessels in the Southern Ocean, but were denied permission to board and inspect the vessels.
Illegal fishing boat Kunlun
Photo: New Zealand Defense Force

The ships, which can clearly be seen illegally catching toothfish did not fear the navy and continued to fish. New Zealand's Navy did nothing more than photograph and follow the vessels after being denied permission to board. The Navy followed and documented the activities until their ship needed to refuel. At that time Sea Shepherd announced that they would take up the chase of the three vessels with the "Sam Simon" while the "Bob Barker" continues to pursue the "Thunder". The Sea Shepherd vessel arrived at the last known location of the fishing vessels and began to recover a third massive gillnet. Once recovered the conservation group will set out to find the fishing vessels. In the mean time, Interpol has issued Purple Notices for all three ships and New Zealand has began contacting a variety of countries where these ships may attempt to offload their catch. New Zealand also claims that it will make it very difficult for these ships to offload their illegal cargo.

So that is where we are in what is becoming a saga of chasing poachers in the Southern and Indian Oceans. New Zealand's Navy has stepped up and the very real possibility remains that they will again go to the Southern Ocean to search for poachers. While New Zealand is doing what it can, Australia continues to idly stand by and do nothing to prevent the ravaging of the Southern Ocean as they have done year after year after year.

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