Thursday, September 2, 2010

Marine Conservation

So I have recently become more interested in the conservation of marine life. I began watching Whale Wars which is a show on Animal Planet focused around the conservation society Sea Shepherd and their anti-whaling campaigns in the Antarctic. The show follows their two most current boats, the Steve Irwin and Bob Barker as they search and prevent commercial Japanese whaling ships from processing whales in the Antarctic.

According to international conservation laws, only a certain number of whales are allowed to be caught each year for scientific research purposes. The Japanese whaling fleet of 9 ships claims to be using the whales for scientific research (even says so on the side of their ships) but it is clear that the Japanese are using this claim as an excuse to conduct commercial whaling. The Sea Shepherd actions are said to be in accordance to the 1982 United Nations Charter for Nature which states under Implementation section 21 part (c) & (e):

21. "states and... other public authorities, international organizations, individuals, groups and corporations shall:
(c) Implement the applicable international legal provisions for the conservation of nature and the protection of the environment;

(e) Safeguard
and conserve nature in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

According to the UN Charter for Nature, independent organizations have a right to enforce international conservation laws if they are being broken.

The Sea Shepherd conservation society has really caught my attention and I am considering applying to join one of their campaigns in 2012. Their other campaigns include a more recent Gulf Rescue Plan as well as Bluefin Tuna, Defending Galapagos, Canadian Seal Slaughter, Sharks, and Dolphins, specifically in Taiji Japan.

I recently watched the award winning documentary The Cove. The documentary focuses on the massive slaughter of dolphins that occurs every September in Taiji Japan. Ric O'Barry is the head of the conservation efforts to save Japanese dolphins. If you are not familiar with him, he is a world known marine mammal specialist who stared and trained the five dolphins in the hit TV series Flipper. Once Kathy, the most used dolphin in the show, died in his arms because she chose not to take another breath, he began his efforts to free and fight for dolphins around the world.

The Cove is an incredible movie that really communicates the human characteristics of dolphins, such as the misleading 'smile' dolphins always seem to have as well as the visible 'happiness' and energy that is rarely accurate to the creature's true feelings when held in captivity.

These are my thoughts for the time being, I would encourage everyone to look into these violations and begin doing something, even if it is just passing on the knowledge you acquire on your own. I have provided the web sites for every organization and person I have mentioned, that should get you started.

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