Quantcast

Sea Shepherd Ship Attacked by Rocks, Molotov Cocktails in Vaquita Refuge

Animals
Sea Shepherd says its vessel was "violently attacked by poachers" in the Gulf of California. Sea Shepherd

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says that its vessel, the M/V Farley Mowat, was ambushed on Jan. 31 by a group of poachers posing as fishermen while the ship was conducting maritime conservation patrols in a vaquita refuge in Mexico's Gulf of California. It's the second such attack in less than a month.

The conservation organization says its ship was surrounded by more than 50 assailants on 20 high speed boats, according to a press release shared with EcoWatch.


Sea Shepherd said the side of the Farley Mowat caught fire and its windows shattered because the attackers were hurling molotov cocktails and projectiles such as lead weights and large stones at the vessel.

The group also released dramatic footage of the confrontation:

SEA SHEPHERD SHIP'S WINDOWS SMASHED AND HULL SET ON FIRE BY POACHERS www.youtube.com

Crew onboard the Farley Mowat used high-pressure fire hoses to defend the vessel while Mexican Navy soldiers and federal police stationed aboard opened fire into the air and sea to deter the attackers. Neither the crew nor the security personnel sustained injuries. No arrests have been made.

The Farley Mowat was similarly attacked by roughly 35 fishing boats in the waters on Jan. 9.

"These repeated attacks have made Sea Shepherd's vital conservation efforts within the Vaquita Refuge challenging in recent weeks, casting a doubt on the vaquita's chances of survival," the press release states.

Projectiles, including lead weights and large stones, were hurled by poachers.Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd conducts maritime patrols in the upper Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortez, to protect the critically endangered vaquita, a porpoise endemic to the waters. Experts say there could be as few as a dozen vaquitas left.

The operations are conducted with the knowledge and cooperation of the Mexican government to help detect illegal fishing activities, the Associated Press noted.

The conservation group retrieves gillnets from the waters to protect the vaquita. The marine mammal is not directly hunted but they become entangled and drown in the illegal nets set for capturing totoaba, a large and critically endangered fish that's prized for its swim bladder as a Chinese delicacy.

The latest confrontation happens as the new Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary Sea of Shadows—which features the plight of the vaquita and Sea Shepherd's work to save it—premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

"Sea Shepherd is 100 percent committed to continuing retrieval operations of illegal ghost nets and active illegal gillnets to protect the vaquita marina from extinction at the hands of poachers and criminal gangs," Locky Maclean, Sea Shepherd's director of ship operations and campaigns, said in the release. "We look forward to working closely with the new government and are grateful in playing a part in the protection and preservation of such a special region of the world, and such an iconic species, the vaquita marina."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trump speaks to contractors at the Shell Chemicals Petrochemical Complex on Aug. 13 in Monaca, Pennsylvania. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

Thousands of union members at a multibillion dollar petrochemical plant outside of Pittsburgh were given a choice last week: Stand and wait for a speech by Donald Trump or take the day off without pay.

Read More Show Less
Regis Lagrange / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA

Lemon (Citrus limon) is a common citrus fruit, alongside grapefruits, limes, and oranges (1).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A zero-emission electric car in Vail, Colorado on July 31. Sharon Hahn Darlin / CC BY 2.0

By Simon Mui

States across the country are stepping up to make clean cars cheaper and easier to find. Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) voted Friday to adopt a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program that will increase the availability of electric vehicles in the state, improve air quality and increase transportation affordability.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
An internally displaced woman flees from drought in Dollow, Somalia. Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

By Annemieke Tsike-Sossah

World Humanitarian Day offers an opportunity to take stock of where the world stands on addressing humanitarian issues and highlight lessons for how to improve in the future. Here are five ways we all can commit to driving positive change for the world.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A view from the top of Ok volcano in Iceland, where the Okjokull glacier used to be located. Drepicter / Getty Images Plus

Officials, activists and scientists gathered in Iceland Sunday for the funeral of the nation's first glacier to fall victim to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
picture-alliance / Xinhua / Then Chih Wey

Some 183 nations are set to discuss possibly loosening elephant and ivory exports at the World Wildlife Conference on trade in endangered species, known as CITES, which is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Read More Show Less
This picture taken on May 23 shows Marium swimming in the waters in southern Thailand. SIRACHAI ARUNRUGSTICHAI / AFP / Getty Images

Marium, an 8-month-old dugong who became an internet sensation in Thailand this spring, died after ingesting plastic, officials announced Saturday.

Read More Show Less