Saturday, November 7, 2009

What is the Sea Shepherd and What Are They Doing?

By Barry Lycka

What is the Sea Sheperd? The Sea Shepherd is essentially an international non-profit organization working towards the preservation of marine wildlife. Named as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the organization was established in 1977 and was formally incorporated in the state of Oregon, United States in 1981.

The Sea Shepherd is involved in various activities. As of last year, their activities included calling for a 20-year closure of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to protect endangered species which include the cod among others. They have also been involved - and won - in a legal battle concerning the illegal fishing operations in Brazil. They have even convinced Hakkasan, one of the world's most famous restaurant's in the world, to no longer include shark's fin on their menu.

The Sea Shepherd has a number of campaigns towards which they gear their energy and resources. One of their campaigns involves the dolphins and negotiating an end to their slaughter which is done on a yearly basis in Iki Island, in Japan. They are also working hand-in-hand with the National Marine Park Service in the Galapagos Island (located in Ecuador)in order to thwart poaching activities.

The Galapagos Island is especially important as it is home to a very diverse ecosystem. The Galapagos Island has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In line with their campaign on Galapagos Island, they have also a number of projects lined up. Some of these projects include Longline Confiscation and Protection of Sea Cucumbers.

So, what is the Sea Shepherd doing to sustain their operations? The Sea Shepherd is sustained by volunteers and by donations from people sharing the same advocacy. They have opportunities both at sea and on shore for those who wish to contribute their time, skills and talents to the cause.

At sea, volunteers can fill in various positions ranging from navigators, to sailors, to cooks and even photographers and medics. There are also whale defenders on board - a position for those who may not have much specialization in any one area. On shore, an individual can volunteer to become fundraisers, researchers and information disseminators.

There are many other activities held by Sea Shepherd designed to raise awareness and to give every possible opportunity for participation in the preservation of marine wildlife. There are fund-raising events, rallies, and launch parties. There are also conferences touching on different topics concerning marine wildlife. Trainings for NGO's and environmental agencies are also offered. There are also certain advocacies that have been done such as what happened in the case of Giles Lanes, an anti-whaling hostage whose family was denied audience at the Japanese Embassy.

For those who wish to know more what is the Sea Shepherd all about, they have their own website where a wealth of operations regarding their mission, operations and how to get involved in their advocacy are contained. Indeed, saving marine wildlife is not just a job exclusively for them but for all of us as well as they continue to raise our awareness.

Dr. Barry Lycka is president of the number one source of internet guidance.

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