Protecting Marine Ecosystems and Wildlife
Sea Shepherd is an international marine conservation non-profit organization that engages in direct action campaigns to defend wildlife and conserve and protect the world’s oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction. It works in partnership with a global network of host governments by providing fully equipped vessels, professional crews, fuel, and other tools that enhance their ability to detect and deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in order to preserve the biodiversity and ecosystems of our oceans.
How Age of Union Is Helping
Operation Ocean Killers
Sea Shepherd and Age of Union’s vessel M/Y Age of Union started its first mission off the coast of France, where Sea Shepherd media crew captured shocking footage of over 100,000 dead fish carpeting France’s Bay of Biscay, sparking international outrage. As part of Operation Ocean Killers, the newest Sea Shepherd campaign operated by the M/Y Age of Union vessel aims to shine a spotlight on the giant factory ships that plunder the ocean, taking the majority of the quotas and public subsidies. The ship exposes the destructive fishing practices of the super trawlers currently allowed to fish in French waters off the Atlantic coast, hoping to bring this issue to the spotlight and influence public perceptions. Ultimately, the goal is for the campaign to be successful enough to convince the French government and the general public to finally take action to save our oceans.
Operation Dolphin Bycatch
Every year, thousands of dolphins are killed by unregulated commercial fishing practices in the Bay of Biscay, off France’s Atlantic coast. These deadly fishing methods were first reported in 2018 by scientists from the Pelagis Observatory in La Rochelle when record-high numbers of dead dolphins were recorded.
Not much was done then, as local and national governments failed to take significant action or implement and enforce regulations, the commercial fishing industry continued to receive large subsidies, and the general public stayed in the dark about the issue.
Year after year, the number of dead dolphins washing up on French beaches continues to increase, and bycatch rates are twice as high in France as they are in other countries. On average, 10,000 are killed every year from commercial fishing in the Bay of Biscay. The country’s unintentional dolphin bycatch deaths are also much higher than those recorded as part of the intentional dolphin massacres of the Danish Faroe Islands and Japan’s Taiji Cove combined.
On the front lines, Sea Shepherd France President Lamya Essemlali is fighting to expose these deadly fishing methods and put an end to the ongoing slaughter of dolphins before it’s too late. These practices are at the core of Age of Union’s documentary CAUGHT, premiering at Wildscreen Festival 2022.