Six things you didn't know about Sea Shepherd

31 May 2019

Sea Shepherd are the biggest charity that you’ve probably never heard of. They work to protect the world’s oceans, preserve habitats and end the slaughter of marine wildlife.

A big part of our work at Ecotricity is making space for nature, and that’s exactly what Sea Shepherd are doing in the oceans. But how are they protecting the seas? Here’s six things you didn’t know about Sea Shepherd.

Sea Shepherd are a global charity

Sea Shepherd run campaigns all over the planet. They work to defend marine life all over the globe, including:

  • Combatting illegal fishing in Liberia
  • Protesting the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Island
  • Defending sea turtles in the Mediterranean
  • Drawing attention to dolphin hunts in Japan

Sea Shepherd have been around for over 40 years

Even before the idea of ‘save the whales’ was in the public consciousness, Sea Shepherd were already trying to do just that. They were founded in 1977 with the aim to protect ocean habitats and end the slaughter of marine wildlife.

They now have branches in over 20 countries and are one of the world’s leading marine conservation charities.

Sea Shepherd have their own fleet

It would be tricky to protect the seas from land, which is why Sea Shepherd have their own fleet of vessels to use in their campaigns.

Sea Shepherd aren’t afraid to take direct action

Their tactics have resulted in them being dubbed ‘pirates’ – in fact, that’s what inspired their logo! But their direct action tactics do work.

They’ve actively saved countless marine creatures by scuttling whaling ships while they’re in the harbour, causing thousands of pounds of damage and putting whaling vessels out of action for good.

One of Sea Shepherd’s most prolific campaigns has been around the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands, where whales are hunted and driven to the shore, then slaughtered. Sea Shepherd have run several campaigns in an attempt to put a stop to this, but have also gone into the middle of the hunts in an attempt to protect the marine creatures. 

During Operation Grindstop in 2014 they protected a pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins from being slaughtered by using their boat to drive them away from the vessels chasing them. The boat was seized by police, but the dolphins escaped unharmed.

And in 2017 Sea Shepherd arranged for television crews and media to document the hunts, bringing it to the world’s attention.

They were part of the longest chase in maritime history

In 2015, Sea Shepherd’s vessel Bob Barker chased poaching ship The Thunder for 110 days over 16,000 kilometres until they admitted defeat. Crew members of The Thunder were later convicted on several charges related to illegal fishing.

Sea Shepherd UK is the fifth largest branch of the charity

It only has two members of staff, so Sea Shepherd UK runs with the support of over 300 volunteers. They’ve run several successful campaigns, including the Seal Defence Campaign, where they monitored the activities of salmon fishing companies and fish farms to prevent the illegal killing of common and grey seals – both of which are protected species. A total of 71 crew from 12 countries patrolled the coastline and protected over 200 seals, as well as many seabirds.

More recently, Sea Shepherd announced their Ghostnet Campaign to remove dangerous fishing gear from coastal areas around England, Scotland and Wales. The team will use small boats and a team of divers to remove ghost fishing gear that has been left under the sea which would otherwise entangle marine wildlife for years.

You can read about the other campaigns that Sea Shepherd UK have been involved in on their website.

And when you switch to Ecotricity, we’ll donate up to £60 to Sea Shepherd

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