Sea Shepherd Moves in on Japanese Whaling Fleet in French Antarctic
Early morning Jan. 4, Sea Shepherd's vessel the Bob Barker moved in amongst the Japanese whaling fleet 190 miles north of the French Antarctic base of Dumont D'Urville.
While on the look-out for the Japanese factory ship the Nisshin Maru, the Bob Barker ran into one of the three harpoon vessels, the Yushin Maru 3. It appears that the Yushin Maru 3 has not begun whaling activities as its harpoon is still covered.
The whaling fleet has been desperately trying to avoid being caught by Sea Shepherd detection and has fled more than 1,500 miles to the southeast of where they were first detected by a drone reconnaissance deployed by the Steve Irwin.
The Bob Barker continues to travel east in pursuit of the Japanese factory ship, now followed at close range by the Yushin Maru 3. The whaling fleet has left the French Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Sea Shepherd can confirm that the Japanese whaling fleet is now in Australian Antarctic Territorial waters.
The Steve Irwin and the Brigitte Bardot continue to make progress towards Fremantle with the Shonan Maru #2 tailing both vessels. The Shonan Maru #2 is now 65 miles inside the Australian continental EEZ.
Because the Nisshin Maru and the harpoon vessels have been moving continuously since first located by Sea Shepherd, they do not appear to have had any time to kill whales. They know that if they slow down or stop, the Bob Barker will close the gap and will be on them.
The Steve Irwin will quickly refuel in Fremantle and will return to the Southern Ocean to assist the Bob Barker in intervening against the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, inside Australian Antarctic Territorial waters.
About the Sea Shepherd Drone
Bayshore Recycling Corp’s (Bayshore) donated drone Nicole Montecalvo helped the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) catch a Japanese whaling fleet Dec. 25, 2011 before any whales were killed. The drone, released by the Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin, will help track and follow the Japanese factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, which was able to escape the ships’ interception on Christmas Day. This drone will also assist in helping protect the fleet, its crew and alert them to potential dangers during the chase.
Bayshore President Valerie Montecalvo and her team are thrilled to hear of the impact their donated drone is making on marine wildlife protection.
“Bayshore Recycling Corp’s mission is to help preserve the planet and its precious natural resources through conservation, recycling and maximum use of renewable energy,” Montecalvo said. “It is our honor to assist noteworthy organizations such as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in their endeavor to save wildlife and endangered habitats for future generations. To quote Steve Irwin, ‘I am a wildlife warrior…..my job, my mission and the reason I have been put on this planet, is to save wildlife.’ In some small but meaningful way, we hope that our company can help carry on his mission.”
To promote and encourage Bayshore’s conservation efforts, Bayshore’s owners donated the drone Nicole Montecalvo to the SSCS vessel the Steve Irwin in May 2011 to aid and assist in locating Japanese whaling fleets in protected sanctuaries and bluefin tuna poaching operations off the coast of Libya as a part of the Operation Divine Wind campaign to protect the world’s oceans.
Bayshore’s long-range drone, which is defined as an unmanned aerial vehicle that can fly independently or be operated remotely, is fitted with cameras and detection equipment to support SSCS’s mission in marine wildlife conservation. The donated drone was delivered on board by the vessel security officer during transit to Antarctica to search for the Japanese flagship Nisshin Maru, which was found Christmas Day and will be followed by the drone Nicole Montecalvo.
Bayshore stresses the importance of conserving our planet’s natural habitats. Whether it is saving natural resources, conserving energy, preserving endangered wildlife or recycling household debris, Bayshore rises to the challenge. Together, Bayshore and the SSCS will continue to fight to save the ocean and its vulnerable inhabitants.
For more information about Bayshore Recycling, click here.
For more information about Sea Shepherd, click here.
Bayshore Recycling Corp (Bayshore) currently operates six different recycling businesses in Woodbridge Township, N.J. making the company one of the most innovative and vertically integrated in the Northeast. A seventh operation to accept and process Class A curbside recyclables is planned for start-up in 2012. For more information, click here.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international nonprofit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. For more information, click here
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.