HELPING SEA SHEPHERD – Operation “Treasured Islands”

The M/V John Paul Dejoria leaving Tampa en-route Maimi. (Photo Courtesy of Janna Offner Wiggins)

The M/V John Paul Dejoria leaving Tampa en-route Maimi. (Photo Courtesy of Janna Offner Wiggins)

Over the last few months I have had the pleasure of associating with an incredible group of people while working for an amazing organization. These people share a common passion, an immense drive, dedication to hard work, and a commitment from each of them that I have not  seen for a very long time. They are the members of, – you could say-, an elite organization that, on the one hand has touched the hearts of many while on the other, continues to make enemies.
Their passion is saving our oceans. They are the people of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society  and I, for one, support their controversy! Let people continue to criticize them, lest we lose sight of the mission. Whales and dolphins would not be hunted, Sharks would not have their fins cut off and thrown back into the ocean. Baby seals wouldn’t have their heads clubbed in for their fur. Unfortunately, the list goes on…
These men and women of the Sea Shepherd are out there defending our oceans for us, and more so for our children. Doing so without any weapons on-board but their grappling hooks and other tools to snag illegal nets. Apprehending poachers and illegal fishermen and often putting themselves in harms way to save the lives of our ocean creatures.

M/V Steve Irwin in the Southern Ocean – a Sea Shepherd Photograph

Call them what you will. People have said they are just a bunch of amateurs, radicals, liberal tree-huggers but if I me say this:  The Sea Shepherd has been in operation for just over 40 years now. They have sailed, many a time, in some of the worst weather conditions in the world, with crew from all walks of life and yet they have not had a single casualty in these 40 years. Compare this to other maritime sectors, especially considering the harsh environments they sail in, and I am sure you must agree this says a fair amount on its own!

Capt. Paul Watson, Capt. Craig Bell and Mr. John Paul Dejoria

Capt. Paul Watson, Capt. Craig Bell and Mr. John Paul Dejoria

I recently had the privilege of working with the crew of the Sea Shepherds new fast patrol boat; the Motor Vessel [M/V] John Paul Dejoria. I would join them in Tampa Florida to run the boat for sea-trails and some on-board training. I delivered the little ship to Miami for its grand unveiling (January 31st, 2017) by Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Mr. John Paul Dejoria, the gentleman who made this ship possible. The day after the unveiling I had the somber honor of heading back out to sea to search for their lost comrade Rob Stewart, the diver and filmmaker (producer of “Sharkwater”), who went missing after a dive off of the Florida Keys.
As I write this, my fellow crew members are now on their way down to the Panama Canal where they will be provisioning in Panama City and then heading south to a small island 300 or so miles off of the coast of Columbia called Malpelo. Here they will begin their campaign, patrolling these waters as well as Costa Rica’s Coco Islands and the Galapagos.
Their campaign name; “OPERATION TREASURED ISLANDS.”
IMG_4616Malpelo has been  declared a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO. [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] The area in which the ship will be operating in is known as the Galapagos Corridor,  listed as one of the richest marine diversity areas in the world.
Unfortunately, the area is prone to poaching activities and the gruesome, horrific act of shark finning,  where the sharks fins are cut off and the animal thrown back in the water to drown.

I regret I cannot be on board with my friends. My passion then, is to assist this great organization and these incredible people wherever possible.
Right now, they need our assistance to:
  • stop the shark (and other marine animals) poachers in the Galapagos Corridor
  • to produce a film to educate the world about shark populations on this beautiful planet of ours.
You can help by spreading the message, by raising your voice to say that it is not okay to commit these atrocities, and of course, by supporting this great cause.
You can help further by donating. By clicking on  http://www.seashepherd.org/treasured/  and learn more about the organization by visiting https://www.seashepherd.org/
Please lets assist the crew of the M/V John Paul Dejoria and ensure their campaign is a success, and that they are able honor Rob Stewarts  memory with the production of a new and incredible film.
Act now to help educate and assist the local people of the Galapagos Corridor to better care for their oceans!
JPD Crew
Thank you all for your support.
Yours in Marine Conservation and Support
Craig G. Bell
Ruya Marine Support.
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