The campaign focuses on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Tropical Eastern Pacific, a two million square kilometer area extending along the Pacific coast of the Americas from Mexico to Peru. At its heart is the Galapagos Islands – an archipelago so rich in life, it played a key role in Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection.
Sea Shepherd will be patrolling these waters in cooperation with the governments of Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Costa Rica, working to enforce existing treaties and laws. The campaign also involves a partnership with Skytruth. The environmental watchdog monitor activities from space and from the surface and will be highly instrumental in observing and catching IUU fishing activities.
As one of the richest areas of marine biodiversity, the Tropical Eastern Pacific is home to 88 species of shark, oceanic mantas, turtles, tuna, dolphins, and blue whales. It is, unfortunately, also an area presently under destructive assault by well-organized industrialized poachers.
"Sea Shepherd is preparing to sail into the midst of a huge fleet of factory vessels operating in the rich biodiversity of the waters of the Eastern Tropical Pacific," noted Captain Paul Watson, Founder and Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. "Our mission is to search out and investigate high seas crimes ranging from illegal fishing, shark finning and human trafficking."
"Sea Shepherd's M/V Brigitte Bardot will carry out on-going high-seas patrols covering 2,500 nautical miles from Baja, California to the coast of Peru, patrolling a nutrient laden migration corridor, so rich in marine life, it contains one fifth of the world's fish catch," said Captain Locky MacLean, Director of Campaigns at Sea Shepherd. "Sea Shepherd's permanent presence in the region, will act as a sentinel beyond national boundaries, protecting pelagic species from massive fishing fleets hailing as far away as the Asian continent."
Sea Shepherd claims that for more than four decades it has become the world's most effective international maritime, anti-poaching organization. The conservation society highlights that through direct action and lawful means, it has stopped high seas criminals, assisted national marine park rangers, removed illegal nets, and longlines, and prevented the diminishment of numerous species.