April 3rd, 2020 – Throughout almost half a century of campaigns on the high seas, our captains and crews have confronted continuous uncertainty, whether its the unpredictability of weather, dangerous ice conditions, or the attacks of poachers and whalers.
We now confront a new adversary, invisible and deadly — the threat of COVID-19.
A new threat. One that all of humanity is facing together.
You have supported every one of our campaigns, from the frigid and dangerous Antarctic ocean to the rough waters of the North Atlantic, from the Mediterranean to Mexico’s Vaquita Refuge, and many more.
Now, with the international threat of COVID-19 and upon the advice of our Medical Advisory Board, Sea Shepherd has no alternative but to self-quarantine our ships. This quarantine includes the Farley Mowat and the Sharpie, deployed to the Upper Gulf of California on Operation Milagro.
Sea Shepherd and all of us, supporters, crews, captains, and staff, have an obligation to one another, to the creatures of the sea, and to our shared values, to emerge out of this pandemic stronger than when we entered it. Self-quarantine at this time is the best tactic to ensure that we come out of this crisis able to resume our important work and protect those in the sea that need our protection now more than ever.
Our captains and crews will be spending this time continuing to prepare our ships to take to the sea as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so.
We are grateful for the successes we were able to obtain during 2019 and early 2020. The waters of the Antarctic are finally a sanctuary for marine wildlife in both name and practice as this was the first Austral summer during which the Antarctic was free of both illegal whaling and illegal fishing. If not for Sea Shepherd’s removal of over one thousand illegal gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California, the vaquita would likely already be extinct. Our ever-expanding cooperation with governments in West Africa to fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing has successfully continued. The Great Australian Bight is free of offshore oil drilling after the last of three oil companies vying for a permit pulled out.
We don’t know when this latest trial will end – but end it will. When it does, our protection of the oceans of the world and all of the animals who live in those oceans, and our opposition of those who would exploit these waters will continue with us healthier and stronger than ever before.
Thank you to all of the Sea Shepherd family.
Paul Watson – Founder, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Alex Cornelissen – CEO, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Pritam Singh – Chairman of the Board, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Peter Hammarstedt – Director of Campaigns, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society