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Save Shark Sunday

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Each year, 100 MILLION sharks are massacred for their fins. More often than not, the finning takes place at sea. The fins and tail are chopped off and the trunk is thrown overboard and the animal is left to drown. 

In some areas, shark populations have dropped by as much as 90%.1/3 of ALL shark species are facing extinction, many within our life time. Sharks play a critical role in maintaining the fragile balance in our worlds oceans. The fins do not add flavour to the soup, which is a type of chicken broth. Neither do they hold any nutritional value. The fins are added to provide texture.


YOU can help get shark-fin soup off the menu by signing THIS PETITION which I will personally deliver to the owners and management of Johannesburg restaurant Lai Lai Garden. 


Thanks 


Pat

Petition the Namibian Ombudsman

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The beginning of September I was fortunate enough to make representation on behalf of The Seals of Nam to the Namibian Government regarding their annual seal cull. 

Part of my presentation included handing over a petition with over ten thousand signatures from people supporting a boycott of Namibia and requesting the Government to immediately end the slaughter of 91 000 seals each year (the largest slaughter of wildlife on earth) This was a massive success, as it certainly got the tourism industry very worried. 

The problem with the meeting was that the Ombudsman, who is to make a decision regarding the future of this barbaric practice, failed to give any clear indication as to when he will make decision. He implied that it would be before September 2012. Not good enough. This would allow for another season of slaughter and consequently another 91 000 animals brutally and savagely bludgeoned to death. 

The next step is to petition the ombudsman into placing an immediate moratorium on ALL seal culling activities until such stage as he has made his decision. Clearly, the seal cull in Namibia has been shown to be not only an animal rights issue, but it also impacts on the economy. The workers involved are being exploited to such an extent that they live in makeshift shacks while an elite foreigner, Hatem Yavuz, reaps millions from his fur businesses. We have also produced Namibian legislation, such as the Animal Protection Act and The Marine Resources Act to show that the annual massacre is in contravention of Namibia’s own laws. It is ILLEGAL. 

YOU can help us getting this moratorium passed. Please sign the petition by clicking HERE



NAMDEB

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For further info see The Seals of Nam website

Shark Finning in Mozambique

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The scenes in this clip were all shot on location in Mozambique with the use of hidden cameras. It is estimated that up to 100 million sharks are butchered for their fins each year, mostly to satisfy a Chinese market for shark fin soup. The fins do not add flavour, which is a type of chicken broth. Neither do they hold any nutritional value. The fins are added to provide texture. 


1/3 of all shark species are facing extinction, many within our lifetime. Sharks play a critical role in maintaining the fragile balance in our worlds oceans. It is a slap in the face to all concerned citizens that shark fin soup be allowed to be served in public restaurants.  


YOU can send out a petition to Lai Lai Garden, a restaurant in Johannesburg, South Africa asking them to remove shark fin soup from their menu. Simply click HERE  

Namibia to face a full onslaught of international boycotts

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In a news article today, Bernard Esau, the Minister of Fisheries announced he plans to increase the quota for the slaughtering of seals.

Esau makes no reference to any scientific justification for the increase, neither does he propose how many jobs will be created. His proposal is a very transparent revenge attack for the pressure being heaped on Namibia over its atrocious seal massacre. Esau himself stands to gain financially from this increase as he and his wife both own shares in a business selling seal skin products. 

The Seals of Nam and our international partners have concurred that for every seal set over and beyond the current quota, we will send out 1 000 emails to various parties informing them of the slaughter and encouraging them to join the international boycott. These emails will include graphic footage and will direct people to write emails to their own governments urging sanctions, trade embargoes and restrictions to be imposed on Namibia. 

We maintain the seals are not responsible for a decline in Hake stocks. We are adamant that the decline is due to the Ministry of Fisheries lack of resource management and failure to curb illegal fishing in Namibian waters. The minister in question has done nothing to address the problem of employment when there are over 1000 fishing applications that are yet to be granted. Furthermore, the Namibian Government is guilty of awarding construction tenders to Chinese businesses as opposed to Namibian companies. It has been established that these Chinese construction companies also have business interests in the seal slaughter industry. 

We reiterate that viable and sustainable eco-tourism will create far more jobs and increased revenue for the people of Namibia. It will lead to large scale investment and will not adversely affect the fisheries at all.
TO VISIT THE SEALS OF NAM WEBSITE CLICK HERE 
TO FIND THE SEALS OF NAM ON FACEBOOK CLICK HERE

T-shirts from The Seals of Nam

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Hey so check it out!
The folks at T. A. G Printing  have very kindly offered to print The Seals of Nam T-shirts at cost. So, we kicked it off with “design and win” type compo. Here are the first results to have been submitted. What do you reckon? If you would like to order, please refer to The Seals of Nam website for details.

Namibia. Seal cull facts.

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Tomorrow the annual slaughter of thousands of seals is set to begin in Namibia. I am getting a lot of people asking me the same questions and how to respond to various counter arguments. In order for you to understand the complexities, and to put the whole thing in perspective, I have put this note together. Please feel free to use, tag and share.
The Seals are eating the fish. Their numbers need to be controlled. 
What do you expect them to eat? Lettuce?
  • The seal population has dropped from over 2 million to less than 850 000. They are an endangered species, appearing on both Appendix II of CITES as well as on the IUCN Red List. They have a natural mortality rate of over 30% in the first few weeks of being born. 90% of their preferred habitats of small off shore islands have been wiped out in the last 60 years. They have suffered several mass die offs, the most recent being in 2006 where an estimated 350 000 seals died from starvation. This is the largest die off of any marine mammal in recorded history. Cape Fur Seals will normally breed every third year. By killing the baby at seven months, the seal cows will breed EVERY year. If the seals are eating the fish, why are they beating baby seals to death? These juveniles are still suckling from the teat and only begin to eat solids at around 12 months. Is it simply coincidence their soft pelts are more valuable??  
  • Since independence, the Namibian government increased its annual fishing harvest from 300 000 tons to 600 000 tons without doing any sustainability studies. At the time, the colony stood at well over million, and you can ask any avid fisherman, fish were PLENTIFUL in Namibia. The annual slaughter then killed 30 000 seals. Now, the population stands at 850 000 seals, there are no fish and they slaughter 91 000. This makes no sense. They are not doing this to protect fisheries. This is a blatant case of gross mismanagement of resources based on economic greed. When SA  ended our seal culling policy in 1990, our own fisheries were up in arms. But, SA fishing industry has seen nothing but positive growth.
The best way to control their numbers would be to end this slaughter immediately, give the seals the protection they deserve and allow the population to stabilise and recover. 
The Slaughter provides much needed employment and is an important industry for Govt revenue.
The slaughter of seals in Namibia is not an industry. It amounts to nothing more than a small business. If a pelt retails for $7 and the govt get $2 of that, the equation is simple. US$2 x 91 000 seals = $182 000. Grannies knitting circle can do better. 
  •  When the annual quota for slaughter stood at 30 000 seals, 160 people were involved in the clubbing. The quota now stands at 91 000 and only 81 people are SEASONALLY employed for 4 months of the year. They earn less than R50/day. (Around US$8 per day) A seal pelt sells for US$7 It takes 6 pelts to make a coat. These coats sell for US$30 000.00 The money goes to a foreign Turkish businessman who sucks the money OUT of Namibia so he can live the high life in Australia. There is no profit sharing scheme in place. The workers live in tin shacks in shanties in Henties Bay. They cannot even feed their families. Drug and alcohol abuse is rife. Domestic violence is common. Beating hundreds of baby animals to death each day is an assault on their human dignity. They have no recourse to stress and trauma councelling.
  • A medium sized hotel, with tours to the colony, sight seeing etc can employ as many as 1000 people. All year round. Niche markets can be developed for seal guano as fertilizer, conservation initiatives developed, skills training, job creation. Models based on eco-tourism show that 80 x more revenue can be generated with subsidary industries being developed. But no; Namibia will carry on violating its own laws to get a benefit of less than $200 000 in revenue.
Your decision to boycott has back fired. Namibia has now banned media from covering the cull and a boycott is unfair to the people of Namibia.
Backfired? Don’t be naive! This is an incredible VICTORY! 
  • Boycott was NOT our first option. We began this campaign by first looking into a broad spectrum of alternatives. We approached the Namibian SPCA and asked them to intervene. To our shock and horror, it turned out they do not believe a seal is an animal and they publicly condoned the cull. We turned to the Ministry of Fisheries. In the face of no scientific evidence, the Ministry blamed the mismanagement of their own resources of the seals. Respected organizations from around the world pleaded with the government, the Ministry of Fisheries, the Directorate of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environment and Tourism. Francois Hugo met with the Prime Minister, campaigns got no-where. Individuals wrote letters to Namibian embassies around the world. Despite an EU ban on seal products, the seals continued to be slaughtered and journalists were getting beaten up and detained on non existent laws. After exhausting all possible angles, we found we were left with no other alternative but to institute an economic boycott.
  • Namibia are feeling the pressure. They have responded with a media ban. This is GREAT! I am absolutely thrilled! Firstly, it shows that the boycott is having an effect. It has got the Namibian Government to react. Now we have yet ANOTHER avenue to attack them with. Not only is this an animal rights issue, where Namibia are contravening their own animal protection act, this is also a human rights issue. Namibia are violating their media laws and the freedom of speech. It does not mean the media is out of the picture. On the contrary, by the very fact that Namibia has put this blanket ban on the media, more international media will demand to know what is going on. 
  • When South Africa was under Apartheid, we were hit with boycotts. This was done to generate media awareness and force a change in the status quo. Sadly people in South Africa were affected even though they did not support the government policy. While we regret this “collateral damage” we implore the citizens of Namibia to demand that the government change its seal culling policy with immediate effect. It is costing Namibia untold millions. It is tarnishing the reputation of a fantastic country and is crippling an already unstable economy. If change comes from within, the slaughter will be ended a lot sooner than from external pressure of foreigners. 
The slaughter of seals is about maintaining balance. It is a conservation initiative.
Get real!
  •  The removal of any apex predator from the food chain goes against all scietifically proven and internationally accepted conservation practices. The fact that hundreds of thousands of these animals are bludgeoned to death, even though they are endangered, is nothing short of foolish, iniquitous, barbaric and savage. CITES does allow for a sustainable harvest. The conditions to this are that the harvest falls under the juristiction of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. This is not a sustainable harvest. It is a commercial harvest, as the slaughter falls under the Department of Fisheries. Here AGAIN, Namibia are contravening their own laws. The juristiction of the Department of Fisheries is the off-shore islands, the sea, the sea bed up to the high water mark. Slaughter takes place on a reserve, 150 meters ABOVE the high water mark
Have you ever been to see the colony or witnessed the slaughter?
  • No. By the same token, one does not need to have survived Auschwitz in order to know German Nazi concentration camps were horrific, despicable and vile.
Your argument is flawed. It is based on emotional reasoning, not scientific fact.
The only people who have no scientific fact are the Namibian Government. Not a single publication of theirs in support of the slaughter has been acceptably peer reviewed using independent sources.
  • Please refer to the following links before you make such groundless accusations.  
SA Journal of Science 2010, 106(3/4),
I have tons of scientific information. Enough to fill 8 gigs. But there is only ONE piece of scientific information you need. Watch this clip and tell me if this is justifiable. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7EGV5Jw_V4 
For further information, please refer to The Seals of Nam website. https://sites.google.com/site/thesealsofnam/
Thanks

Time Lapse of Bob Barker Getting New Paint Job

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This is so cool. The Bob Barker is one of the ships on the Sea Shepherd fleet. She was used with great effect in the very successful campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet recently. Where do you reckon she will be deployed next? One can only wonder, but I guarantee you it will be good! If you would like to support Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, you can become an on-shore volunteer by mailing volunteer@seashepherd.org or you can make a donation by clicking on THIS LINK

Beach Clean Up — Cape Town

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Each year, three times as much rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans as the weight of fish caught. To put this into perspective,  in 1950, 20 million tons of fish were caught globally. In 1996 120 million tons of fish were caught. This means we are looking at around 400 MILLION TONS of rubbish being dumped in the oceans each year! All this pollution of the oceans from the various sources is taking a HUGE toll.

Sea Shepherd Volunteers
Trash delivered to Dept 

On Saturday the 9th of April, I organised that the Cape Town chapter of Sea Shepherd South Africa would get together and do our bit. It was a fairly successful event. We had around 30 volunteers and managed to pick up around 80 bags of trash, mostly plastic, styrofoam containers and broken glass. The irony was that all this trash lies less than 150 meters from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. By way of making a statement, we delivered the trash to their very doorstep. 


There is most certainly a need for this type of event to happen on a regular basis. Why?

1. To save our wildlife
 Each year, hundreds of thousands of sea birds become entangled in marine debris. They lose their legs, they cannot swim or feed. They either starve to death or drown. Entanglement is not limited to birds, but affects all types of creatures including whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and turtles. In fact, plastic marine debris affects at least 267 species worldwide, including 86 percent of all sea turtle species, 44 percent of all sea bird species, and 43 percent of marine mammal species. Marine animals also mistake trash for food and many die from consuming plastic bags, cigarette butts and debris from fire works. 

2. Our Economy

Beaches are an ideal tourist attraction. The V & A Waterfront in Cape Town (for example) is known as a premier tourist destination. By maintaining the highest standards, we can ensure a continuous stream of tourism. The revenue generated from the support of tourists is essential to our community. To ignore this factor would not be our wisest of choices.

3. Clean Beaches

For many of us, a day at the beach is where we go to relax after a hard weeks work. It is a time of recreation and to be with our children and families. We certainly don’t want this spoiled by sitting in a pile of filth or worse yet, injuring ourselves by stepping on shards of broken glass.

So what exactly IS marine debris? Where does it come from?

Marine debris is trash or other solid material, which enters oceans and often washes up on beaches. Research has indicated that more than 80% of marine debris comes from land based pollution. When it rains, trash left on the sidewalks and streets is washed into storm drains, which is then carried to the nearest waterway, and eventually flows into the ocean. Often beach goers themselves are responsible and leave their litter lying around where it it blows around and ends up in the sea. Ocean users, such as recreational and commercial fishermen, may lose or discard fishing materials and other debris overboard. Sometimes this is unintentional, other times deliberate. Common forms of marine debris include plastic bags and cooldrink bottles, styrofoam containers from take-aways, nappies, cigarette butts, glass, clothing, tyres, rope, floatation devices, condoms, soda cans, pill bottles, film canisters etc







Shark fin, sea cucumber exports banned in Marshalls

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Finned shark 

MAJURO — Escalating worry about illegal shark fin and sea cucumber exports prompted the Marshall Islands to ban trade in both marine products on Wednesday this week.
Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority Director Glen Joseph announced Wednesday a moratorium on the trade in and export of shark fins and sea cucumbers following reports of expanding illegal export operations in the Marshall Islands.  
The fisheries department’s board of directors voted to place a moratorium on the trade of these two marine products until new procedures are in place to regulate them effectively, Joseph said.
“No one is registered and authorized to fish for sharks, but there are substantive reports that it is happening,” Joseph said.
Sea Cucumbers drying out
The same situation is occurring with sea cucumbers, he said. “Any company involved is required to register and get authorization from the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority to export sea cucumbers,” Joseph said. But MIMRA officials recently discovered a half-full container loaded with sea cucumbers waiting for export. “We fined the company $10,000 for violating the law,” Joseph said.
In the mid-2000s, the Marshall Islands licensed shark fishing, but after two years, the company fishing for sharks called it quits. According to fisheries officials, many local fishermen sell shark fins to Majuro-based companies for export to Asia. But Joseph said he hopes the new moratorium will shut this down.
The problem with Marshall Islands law relating to marine products is that there are no specifics for regulating the harvest of sea cucumbers, Joseph said. Key issues such as the size that can be harvested and periods during which harvesting is allowed are not spelled out.
“So MIMRA has instituted a moratorium on sea cucumber trade until we develop a management plan,” Joseph said.
Experts from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community are visiting Majuro next week to work with MIMRA on developing a national sea cucumber plan.

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