1% for the Planet: Sea Shepherd

Mizu was born out of the desire to never have to buy a single use plastic water bottle anywhere in the world. To partner with an organisation like Sea Shepherd whose mission is to protect the world’s oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction, is an obvious step for Mizu. 

Sea Shepherd is an international, non-profit marine conservation organisation that engages in direct action campaigns to defend wildlife. They conserve and protect the world’s oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction. 

Their mission is to protect defenseless marine wildlife and end the destruction of habitat in the world’s oceans.

Since 1977, Sea Shepherd has used innovative direct-action tactics to defend, conserve and protect the delicately-balanced biodiversity of our seas and enforce international conservation laws. From the gentle giants of the sea to its smallest creatures, Sea Shepherd’s mission is to protect all marine life species living in our oceans. Their campaigns have defended whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, penguins, turtles, fish, krill and aquatic birds from poaching, unsustainable fishing, habitat destruction, and exploitive captivity.

“I have been honored to serve the whales, dolphins, seals and all the other creatures on this Earth. Their beauty, intelligence, strength, and spirit have inspired me.” - Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd.

The ocean environment is a complexed balanced ecosystem designed to support and sustain marine wildlife. To truly thrive, they need safe sanctuaries to feed, mate and raise their young without pollution, destructive fishing gear, plastics and other marine debris that choke marine wildlife and destroy their habitats. Sea Shepherd opposes the pollution of the fragile ecosystem through off-shore drilling and fisheries, as well as the destruction of coral reefs from trawling, and the loss of coastal nesting sites from commercial development.

 

“We fight to preserve the planet because we recognize that we share the Earth with other species and that their well-being is inexorably linked to ours. We fight to preserve the planet because it is a matter of self-defense and we’ve taken the fight to sea.” - Captain Peter Hammarstedt

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global problem that threatens the health of marine ecosystems as well as the livelihood of coastal fishermen. Legal fishing operations that observe quotas and by-catch laws are already forced to compete for fewer and fewer fish, yet an estimated 15-40% of the total global catch is caught illegally. The problem is particularly acute for developing nations which often lack the resources to enforce local fishing laws, which is why Sea Shepherd works with governments like in Mexico and Gabon to make a real difference for the future of our oceans.

 

“Unless we stop the degradation of our oceans, marine ecological systems will begin collapsing and when enough of them fail, the oceans will die. And if the oceans die, then civilization collapses and we all die.” - Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd.

 

Sea Shepherd has been using direct action to stop illegal whale poachers around the world since 1979. After commercial whaling almost drove whales to extinction, a global moratorium was put into place in 1986.

 

Marine debris is choking our oceans, creating a devastating impact on marine ecosystems world-wide. Alongside consumer items such as plastic bottles and straws, aluminum cans, rubber balloons, plastic bags and cigarette lighters, is fishing gear such as line, nets, ropes, hooks, and buoys lost or discarded at sea.

 

Offshore drilling accidents, blowouts and spills have caused some of the biggest manmade environmental disasters of our time, affecting marine wildlife and the livelihood of coastal communities. Sea Shepherd teamed up with Ocean Alliance in 2014 to research the long-term impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the use of toxic chemicals that dispersed oil throughout the waters and food chain. To prevent the possibility of another disastrous spill in our oceans, in 2016 Sea Shepherd helped successfully block BP from establishing new offshore drilling operations in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight.

Some of Sea Shepherd’s most successful campaigns were conducted in cooperation with international law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL.

Captain Paul Watson has famously said “It takes a pirate to stop a pirate,” an inspiring rally cry for many Sea Shepherd supporters.

It’s true that in the history of Sea Shepherd they have rammed and sunk several ships to stop illegal activities, but their mission to defend, conserve and protect our oceans and marine life has never resulted in a single injury.

“We don’t break laws, we uphold them. We don’t oppose nationalities, we oppose actions that harm the oceans, regardless of race, nationality, age, sex, or religion. We are pirates of compassion hunting down and destroying pirates of profit." - Captain Paul Watson

Unlike many other well-known international conservation groups, Sea Shepherd is very much a grassroots movement run almost entirely by dedicated, passionate volunteers, with national campaigns conducted locally by Sea Shepherd groups in Australia, New Zealand, France, UK, Belgium, Finland, and Italy. In fact, Sea Shepherd Global has only a handful of paid staff, and the CEO - who started out as a volunteer cook on one of the ships – still answers his own emails.

Their loyal supporters know that they put all their resources – time and money - into their direct-action campaigns.

 

The ocean needs more heroes. Why not you? For more information click here to find out how you can get involved.