Sea Shepherd

Conservation group Sea Shepherd strikes deal with Guatemala to patrol Pacific

The Brigitte Bardot, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s 35-meter interceptor vessel, arrived at Guatemala’s Port San José last week for an unexpected mission: to help the Guatemalan Navy patrol the Pacific for marlin poachers.

Sea Shepherd directors had come to Guatemala to discuss with officials the group’s work in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, France and Senegal, among other countries. But they didn’t expect to walk out of the secret meetings with a joint-patrol deal starting immediately.

“We were hoping we might be able to do something with Guatemala, and we were extremely surprised when a representative of the Fisheries Department was excited (about our work) and wanted to get going right away,” Sea Shepherd’s director of intelligence and investigations, Scott West, told The Tico Times.

West, a retired special agent-in-charge for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, was joined in the negotiations by Sea Shepherd’s Global Executive Director Alex Cornelissen and the EPA’s Deputy Regional Counsel Ann Prezyna.

The joint-patrol agreement is a first for Sea Shepherd in Central America, after a similar arrangement to patrol Costa Rica’s Cocos Island was scrapped 12 years ago in a now-infamous scuffle between the conservation group and a Costa Rican fishing vessel off the Guatemalan coast. Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson is still fighting Costa Rica’s attempts to extradite him on shipwrecking charges from that incident.

For the next several weeks, the Brigitte Bardot will be based out of Port San José, on Guatemala’s southern Pacific coast in the department of Escuíntla, with eight Sea Shepherd crew on board, along with Guatemalan Naval and police officers.

Guatemala, in its peak marlin season, prohibits the commercialization of the species, but officials have trouble enforcing the law. Sea Shepherd patrols also will work to free sea turtles and other protected wildlife caught on longlines.

“We’re just very, very happy that our desire to protect marine eco-systems through our vessels and crews is being able to come into play here, and that the Fisheries Department in Guatemala appreciates the assistance,” West said.

In the past week, Sea Shepherd also created a Central America volunteer page on Facebook, raising the question if talks with other regional countries might be in the works. West said he could not comment on that issue.

He did say Sea Shepherd was working with local dive shops like the Guatemala City-based Water Quest, which is active in marine conservation in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

“As a result of this, Sea Shepherd is a growing worldwide movement – it’s no longer just an organization,” West said.

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Colum Muccio

We here at ARCAS were sent a letter from Sea Shephard asking for help in organizing presentations in Guatemalan society so that they could get their message out. We put them in touch with a local artisanal fisherman’s association with which we work, and know from personal experience are very concerned with maintaining the health of the oceans. One of SS’s representatives responded to the association’s invitation that they weren’t interested, that they are opposed to all fishing, sustainable or not. (At least, that is the version I got.). What is SS’s position on this? Is it opposed to all fishing? Isn’t it better to engage these local fisherman and work with them to meet their basic needs? What makes wealthy sport fishermen from the US better long-term allies in protecting marine resources tan local fishermen? They also keep anything they catch apart from billfish.

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gary

we are so proud of the sea shepard,that give a voice to the cruelty of what happens to our sea creatures.Without balance there is no future for all humanity.money greed and inhumane practise,will be devastating for future generations thankyou Sea Shepard

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Donnamarie Boyer

EXCELLENT!!!!!!!! I am over the hills HAPPYYYYYYY !!!! Great work to these people!!! LOVEEEEE them!!!!!!

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david

Again – I ama astounded that so many here do not seem to understand that sea Shepard is a real environmental organization with the support of such people as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and countries such as Ecuador and Guatemala as well. regarding the “incident” that supposedly affected a Costa Rican fisherman illegally fishing in foreign waters and after that countries government requested the Captain to intervene and arrest the fisherman:”Watson and his crew strongly deny Costa Rica’s charges, and point to the documentary film “Sharkwater,” which portrays the incident on April 21, 2002, involving the Costa Rican fishing vessel Varadero I. Watson and Sea Shepherd accused the Varadero I’s crew of illegal shark-finning. The fishermen said the Sea Shepherds tried to kill them by ramming their boat and blasting them with water canons.

“Watson, without authorization or legitimacy proceeded to take the law into his own hands by intimidating, threatening and attacking the Varadero I,” Cordero wrote.

During the incident, a finger on the left hand of Costa Rican fisherman Antonio Mena was injured, Cordero noted.”

How pathetic Costa Rica – grow some juevos, and put your money where your mouth is regarding protecting the sea – ask anyone near Isla del coco how much illegal poaching and killing is going on with little or no intervention by authorities…..!

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David Showell

I have mixed feelings about Sea Shepard, however this endeavor seems to be a good one. Guatemala has an important recreational fishery for Marlin and Sailfish which is 100% catch and release and circle hooks are used for all billfish interactions. I hope their target is the commercial longliners, particularly the international boats that encroach on Guatemalan waters. The local artisan boats also need control, but the poor local fishermen also need options and pointers as to how they can feed their families without killing billfish.

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Joey

Ecoterrorists do not help the efforts of real conservation organizations like cca and the billfish foundation.

I support conservation but not ssea shepherd

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Steve C

SeaShepherd’s not an eco terrorist group. Eco terrorist is a term coined by the extraction industry lobbyist to dis credit old growth forest defense activist. It’s a created term. SSCS has never harmed human life and obviously if Ecudor has an MOU to patrol the Galopgos islands, legitimate governments recognize their efforts enough to work with them. A terrorist is someone like Osama bin whats his face whose a terrorist. Comparing SSCS with that idiot isnt even comparable.

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Joey

Call it whatever you want, but the facts are that they destroy property and put peoples lives in danger. They wouldnt get away with that bs in south louisiana.

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Judy

Then Stop reading their publicity. Name me another group that’s saved as many whales lives as Sea Shepherd. Other groups complain and march but that accomplished nothing. You may not agree with their methods but they stop the killing with those methods. They refuse to sit around while species are becoming extinct yelling for some official somewhere to do some thing. Those same officials are a joke.

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Sea Cucumber

This is great, a POS boat named after a convicted racist in France – how appropriate. They’d name their boat after a serial killer if he donated some money to them.

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Andy

Yep, she made some remarks about Muslims that would have been protected under the 1st amendment here in the USA. She was right too. I don’t agree with all of her views though but she is an animal rights supporter, so the name is a good fit.

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david

Amazing that the U.S. politics carries over into this – in the states and seemingly here the people with the courage and fortitude to try and save our the oceans, our animals, our planet and the environment are labelled as liberal extremists, or pirates or often, even called terrorists… Pura Vida sea Shepard – I hope the Costa Rican government not only starts protecting turtle eggs…. but grows a set of eggs big enough to admit their utter failure in truly protecting Costa Ricas natural resources and admits they are wrong, and were wrong in their continued attempts to prosecute Paul Watson. Amazing that anyone would comment nastily about a volunteer group so good at their work that their services have been utilized by countries like Ecuador who have used to help them protect their precious resources(The Galapagos……)….

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Manuel

Siete unici siete grandi condivido quello che fate gli arpioni li metterei nella loro di pelle nessun anmale va toccato sono animali sensibili e molto intelligenti molto di più di noi umani condivido tutto quello che fate siete unici

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Monica Avila

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE AM PROUD OF THE GUATEMALAN GOVERNMENT I am Guatemalan and usually they make only stupid decitions. IF THERE’S ANYTHING I CAN HELP WITH OR VOLUNTEER SOMEHOW PLEASE PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!! Thanks for all you do sea sheperds. You are not criminals… whoever says you are, are stupids.

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Puskwakau

Monica, as per article; Sea Shepard now has a volunteers Facebook page : ‘Central America volunteer page’

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Dan Delahanty

It’s INSANE how the ones who actually DO something to protect the oceans from ILLEGAL POACHING .. are the ones labeled criminals … VIA CON DIOS , YOU ARE ALL HEROS !! I hope you stop each and every one of the poachers . #WE ARE RELENTLESS !!

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bill

Sea shepherds are the criminals. Who made them the law enforcement of the seas? SINK THEM ALL!

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Andy

Yep, those Japanese whalers in Antarctica with those FACTORY whaling ships are just a bunch of good guys doing “research”? Right. If you ask me, Paul Watson and his crew are being too nice. Give them a diesel boat and make them targets. Make sure they tow a barge to pick them out of the water and drop them on the tip of South America. The Japanese whalers are a bunch of murderers and they know it. The Sea Shepards are doing the RIGHT thing!

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Marcus

To call a volunteer Conservation group Criminals is just an ignorant comment. Grow some balls Bill and try doing some good yourself.

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Judy

Ditto, Marcus.

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Puskwakau

Sea Shepard should have been armed with a brass cannon loaded with grape shot to deal with the C.R. shark finners of 12 yrs past!

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J

Bill I would be happy to sink you….

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Dan Delahanty

The only ones who should get sank is the ILLEGAL poachers , the ILLEGAL Japanese whaling fleet , and the barbaric dolphin killers . The government is working WITH sea shepherd, and asked for their help … That’s who madethem the law enforcement of the seas .. if more governments had the balls enough to uphold international martime laws, sea shepherd.. would not have to ! #WE ARE RELENTLESS

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William Thompson

I hope you sink, get washed ashore in Costa Rica and go to jail there. I will pray for that. You are marine criminals.

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Dan Delahanty

They are HEROS ,not criminals #WE ARE RELENTLESS

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Johanna Ryffel

MEHOR NOTIZIA DE HOI !!
GRACIAS A SEA- SHEPERD Y GUATEMALA !!

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Puskwakau

Now if something could be done about murdering turtle egg poachers on the Atlantic coast….
Something other than buying the eggs from the murderer poacher scum

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Donita

Fantastic news for the ocean!

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Marilyn Monroe

I am so happy to see this international collaboration to protect the environment as well as sea life, as a Sea Shepherd supporter!

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Pilar Toro

Excellent. Things get done by action and not words! Great job.