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Welcome to Surfers for Cetaceans News. You can find updated travel diaries for our current projects and initiatives here. Also stay tuned for other news about what is happening with cetaceans worldwide from this informative and up to date section of our website.

S4C Against Shark Culling in Western OZ.

By:Howie Cooke Published:1st February 2014
Public Killer #1

Surfers for Cetaceans is opposed to the shark culling program that is has been enacted by the West Australian Govt, in the name of making the beaches safer. S4C supports science, education and non lethal solutions to co-existence with sharks. While we, as surfers (who also often enjoy other adventurous activities on or in the sea) acknowledge that there is an element of risk in our passion to ride waves in a shared space with sharks and other marine inhabitants, we cannot condone baiting, netting, killing and dumping at sea of sharks, which may in itself create more issues than it can ever solve. For example the laying of baited drumlines close shore is luring sharks in close to shore and creating a collective memory of those areas as being a food haven. We have seen how the same procedures off Queensland beaches has resulted in unacceptable ongoing entanglements, hookings and drownings of dolphins, juvenile whales, turtles and other marine life. Furthermore it is self-evident that laying out bait along the coast is attracting sharks in closer, that netting is ineffectual and mainly exists now for fear of litigation against local Councils in event of an attack, and the reckless industry of hero cage diving and sports fishers targeting sharks by chumming the waters off the coast with cow, other animal carcasses and blood has lead to attacks on hapless surfers around the corner. Naturally, we have every sympathy for shark attack victims and their families but the relative danger to Australians by sharks is massively outweighed by a litany of activities and personal life choices that involve risk or plain recklessness. In this country the statistics for death and loss of body parts due to smoking tobacco (or being subjected to cigarette smoke) places smoking as a public enemy No 1 with a loss of 18000 Australians a year. Alcohol, drug, pharmaceutical and junk-food choices account for the death and debilitating health issues that make the danger posed by sharks pale into insignificance. It is inevitable that with our great love for the sea comes an inherent respect for such a crucial element of our lives. Equally that respect, coupled with an awareness of the ecology of the ocean being relentlessly stressed by human use and abuse, and a recognition of the important role sharks play in maintaining the health of the sea, can only lead to the conclusion that we should not be tampering with the natural order of the sea, nor her apex predators who over an ancient timeline are an intrinsic part of an exquisite harmony and balance in what is, their world ... the essential life-supporting Ocean Sharks, magnificent streamlined marvels and electro-magnetic masters of the seas right around Planet Ocean for the past 420 million years are not focused at all on targeting humans. Ironically sharks are so targeted by humans that they are in a massive decline, disappearing at an alarming rate due to rapacious overfishing, netting and the loathsome shark-finning trade. Sharks, have long suffered the most exaggerated bad press imaginable and a ruthless exploitation that has reached an unprecedented level of some 100 million of them being killed every year. As with our new appreciation of other wild animals now teetering on total extinction, we are just coming to know and be impressed with the shark in a whole new way. The interaction by divers who enthusiastically engage in free swimming with sharks has revealed a curious, intelligent, usually benign and often timid side to these awe inspiring and important custodians of the sea. S4C with support from most of the surf community, stands in solidarity with the many other marine based conservation groups around Australia and the wider world, united in a bid to see an educated understanding of the shark outside of the traditional fear-based model, and to have a sensible scientifically based approach to finding a non-lethal way to allow the shark to exist alongside humans, fulfilling its longstanding role in maintaining the ecological diversity of the sea.

Antarctica Operation Zero Tolerance - by Natalie Fox

By:Natalie Fox Published:29th May 2013
 Natalie Fox

It was just over 3 years ago when I first met Howie Cooke outside the 62nd International Whaling Commission meeting in Agadir, Morocco. "Do you want to go on a secret Sea Shepherd mission to the Faroes" he asked, shortly after this fateful crossing of paths. "Of course." I replied. 2 months later I was visiting the Islands of the infamous and atrocious "Grind", setting foot on a pathway, which over the next 3 years became a whirlwind of cetacean activism and awareness - Minds in the Water screenings, 2 more IWC meetings, TransparentSea California, protests and events - with the pinnacle being me joining the brand new Sea Shepherd vessel Sam Simon for her maiden voyage to Antarctica on Operation Zero Tolerance in October 2012. There was no one I was happier or more relieved to see on the dock as we arrived back into Williamstown, Australia after 2 months at sea, than Howie. He knew what we'd been through, having crewed on Operation No Compromise 2 years earlier, and was crucial in my adjustment back onto land, and reintegration back into "normal" society. Sharing stories of rammings, storms and the wonders of the Southern Ocean, he was the link between 2 months of solitude and isolation in ferocious and hostile situations and the "real" world. He provided instant solidarity and I think that is just so powerful - because when you sign yourself to campaigns such as this; to know you're never truly alone is what gets you through. To know there is a network of amazing, caring ocean lovers out there is what makes the next step possible, and is what keeps us on this path. And with this network growing, the energy of this cause is growing too, giving us renewed hope for the future at every step of the journey. I would like to dedicate these words to the 103 gentle and sleek minke whales that lost their lives this winter; the families torn apart, the youngsters orphaned, the pregnant mothers and the lifelong bonds severed by the greed of mankind. May we one day learn to live in harmony with Planet Ocean and no longer persecute the people of the sea. I would like to thank the S4C crew for welcoming me into the family and inspiring me to get off my bum in the first place (activating the jewel). I have eternal gratitude for all my family, friends and Wag for all the support and love along the way. Huge thanks go out to all the sammies - the best crew ever and all the Sea Shepherds around the world. Of course I could not have done this without Mother Ocean, who's precious gifts get me through the hard times and make the good times so much better. Finally, thank you to Howie, who just tells it like it is: "Not enough time to do everything Plenty of time to do anything Just enough time do something"

ECONOMICS OF HAPPINESS CONFERENCE 2013

By:ECONOMICS OF HAPPINESS Published:15th January 2013
Economics-of-Happiness-Conference-2013

Take part in the growing localisation movement!



Join amazing thinkers, visionaries, and activists from around the world at ISEC’s upcoming


ECONOMICS OF HAPPINESS CONFERENCE 2013


15th to 17th of March, 2013
 Byron Bay Community Centre 
Byron Bay, Australia



Through an interactive program of plenary sessions, workshops, and social and creative time, participants will have a rare opportunity to learn from and share with some of the foremost leaders in the worldwide localisation movement. The conference also offers the chance to make new connections, build on current projects and find new inspiration.

Thinkers and activists from Asia, North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Australia will speak on shifting from global to local, strengthening local economies, building healthy communities, achieving real happiness, localizing the spirit, reconnecting to nature, redefining education, and more.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The conference is the second of its kind and is building on the success of ISEC’s (The International Society for Ecology and Culture) first international Economics of Happiness conference, held last March in Berkeley, California.

As a partner, we would request your help with publicizing the conference as widely as possible (by email and through online calendars, social media sites etc.). In return, you would be listed, with your logo, as a partner of the event in our event program, and would be able to set up a table at the venue to promote your work and sell books and other merchandise. We feel the aims of your organization are in line with the conference themes and would like attendees to have the opportunity to engage with your work.

The conference follows on from our film, The Economics of Happiness, which was launched last year and has generated enormous interest around the world. We have had rave reviews and our international premieres were standing-room-only. Thousands of people have purchased the DVD, which has been translated into 15 languages. For more information about the film please see: http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org

The conference will explore the potential for economic localization to provide systemic solutions to our economic, environmental and social crises and will bring together a unique international group of speakers, each one acclaimed for their vision, activism, wisdom, and leadership.

The speakers include:
Keibo Oiwa (Japan), Yoji Kamata (Japan), Junko Edahiro (Japan), Vandana Shiva (India), Manish Jain (India), Devinder Sharma (India), Wasif Rizvi (Pakistan), Pracha Hutanuwatra (Thailand), Hwang Daekwon (Korea), Anwar Fazal (Malaysia), Winona LaDuke (USA), Charles Eisenstein (USA), Carol Black (USA), Michael Shuman (USA), Bill McKibben (USA), Mark Anielski (Canada), Benjamin Villegas (Colombia), Christian Felber (Austria), James Skinner (UK), Ijeoma Clement and Adebayo Clement Akomolafe (Nigeria) and from Australia Kerrianne Cox, Dave Rastovich, Richard Neville, Anna Rose, Donnie Maclurcan and David Holmgren.

Through an interactive program of plenary sessions, workshops, and social and creative time, participants will have a rare opportunity to learn from and share with some of the foremost leaders in the worldwide localisation movement. The conference also offers the chance to make new connections, build on current projects and find new inspiration.

Please check our website for more information:

Rasta Wins 2013 Single Fin Classic

By: Published:5th January 2013
Rasta Wins 2013 Single Fin Classic

Dave “Rasta” Rastovich has won the Open division of the 16th annual Billabong Burleigh Single Fin Festival, trumping an incredible field of 96 surfers that included the who’s-who of Gold Coast surfing talent.

Stars like former ASP World Champion Mark Occhilupo, world number two Luke Egan, reigning world Junior Champion Jack Freestone, junior standout Thomas Woods, Wade Goodall and West Australian ripper Creed McTaggert lined up alongside local legends and Burleigh Boardriders champions – all surfing pre 1985 made single fin boards in classic Burleigh conditions.

Surfers traded barrels throughout the unique two-day event, thanks to a pulsing east swell generated from a pressure system situated in the Coral Sea. Wave after wave turned inside-out over the ruler-edge sand bank running the length of the famous point and hundreds of spectators took up position under the pandanus palms and enjoyed two free, live sets by famed Aussie blues musician, Ash Grunwald.

There were plenty of perfect-10 point rides handed out by the judges with Soli Bailey (Byron Bay), Jack Lewis and Jack Freestone among those locking in perfect scores. But it was grommet Noah Deane who stole the show, registering a perfect heat – 20 out of 20 – thanks to two tens in his quarter-final showing.

The Open final was decided by less than a point, with Rastovich just edging out Freestone, who finished second ahead of Noa Deane, Noah Lane, Woods and Anthony Pols.

Rastovich received his first place prize, a coveted gleaming, hand-shaped single fin made by master craftsman, Dick Van Straalan.

“It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to come down and pull out these old relics and have a lot of fun on the point. I want to thank Dirk for shaping the incredible board. He’s like a second dad to me and one of the legends of the culture. Looking at the board, wow, what an absolute gem!” said Rastovich, before giving a nod to the next generation.

“I grew up in the area and moved away about ten or 12 years ago and I really miss the headland and the community. To come back and see the amount of grommets here – that semi final and final display from the groms was amazing. It’s so great and it’s important to have events like this and to keep inspiring them to do what they’re doing,” added Rastovich.

Fittingly, the Burleigh Single Fin festival culminated on the same day the break was officially recognised by the organisation, National Surfing Reserve (NSR).

“You travel around the world and see that there is only one Burleigh and this is a place to protect. Everyone here is doing a great job and has the responsibility to continue to help preserve and protect the area,” said Rastovich.

An incredible collection of vintage single-fin surfboards were on display across the weekend; sourced from the Gold Coast’s Surf World museum and various private collections.

Contestants either rode their own boards, or shared their equipment with others.

Former world number two and Newcastle transplant, Luke Egan, rode a board his dad, Sam, shaped in 1978. Egan discovered the board and bought it at auction 15 years ago.

Billabong’s Shannon North took to the waves on a very special model – the actual craft pioneering Gold Coast surfer Joe Engel rode in the seminal film “Storm Riders”, which was released in 1982 and featured Engel surfing a new discovery - the perfect right hand break of Nias, located in North Sumatra.

Another popular model was a six-channel model shaped by legendary Novacastrian, Col Smith, for his son Rique.

In all, dozens of boards lay strewn on the grass for people to pick up and check out – a tactile representation of surfing’s design evolution and the pioneers who rode them.

“Because of the boards and the way they perform, it forces everyone to slow down and focus more on the wave. It becomes less about high-performance, technical surfing. And it’s so great to see some of the young kids riding these boards, there’s junior surfers riding equipment that is three times their own age,” said Rastovich.

It’s the 16 year the event has run, and it maintains a vibe and authenticity like no other.

Burleigh Boardriders President, Edward Lindores: “People come up and say, this event is big enough to have grand stands and I go, ‘Nup, we want to keep it retro, old-school’, we don’t want that crap, we want to keep it like it is. Everyone enjoying themselves, looking over each other’s shoulders, cruising on the grass. That’s why it’s such a good event. People get close, they talk, they hang out – friends, family – we don’t want infrastructure. We do it for the community of Burleigh - brothers, sisters, friends, mums, dads, grommets, cats, dogs, that’s what we want …”

The Burleigh Boardrider’s fundraiser lunch on Friday was a hysterical affair, thanks to the wit and wisecracks of funny-man host, Freddo Lang, and the spontaneity of special guest “Robbo” from Channel 9s The Footy Show.

The pair traded barbs and interviewed sports stars including Nathan Bock and Jarrad Brennan (Gold Coast Suns), Dave ‘the Coal Train’ Taylor (Gold Coast Titans), and newly crowned ASP Men’s World Surfing Champion and Billabong rider, Joel Parkinson.

Parkinson said he’d been taking it easy after his dramatic win at Pipeline in December and his hugely anticipated return to the Gold Coast has seen a non-stop flow of well-wishers and fans congratulating him at every turn.

“I think I’ve maybe had two days off,” said Parkinson. “There’s been so many people popping round to say ‘well done’, some mates I haven’t seen for ages who just knock on the door with a case of beer, going ‘You did it!’. You just can’t say no, you know?”

“I’ve had a couple surfs too, I’ve been out at Snapper and D’Bah, the waves have been fun. It’s what I do. You can’t keep me out of the water,” he said, before adding that the serious pre-season training begins again from Monday.

Some very special memorabilia items were auctioned during the fundraiser lunch, with monies raised going towards junior surfing development program within Burleigh Boardriders and the “White Christmas Fund”, supported by the Gold Coast Suns.

An Andrew Johns signed Newcastle Knights jersey that was signed by the test captain as a gift to legendary Aussie surfer, Michael Petersen, sold for $500.

A personally signed competition jersey Parkinson wore during the Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii sold for $3,400.

The highest bids were for one of Parkinson’s surfboards, ridden at stop 9 on the 2012 ASP Men’s World Tour, the O’Neill Coldwater Classic at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, California, which sold for an impressive $4,200.

This year’s Burleigh Single Fin Festival was dedicated to the late, Gold Coast local and Aussie surfing legend, Michael Peterson. Peterson’s mother, Joan, was a guest of honour.

FINAL RESULTS - 16th Annual Billabong Burleigh Single Fin Festival
OPEN
1st Dave Rastovich (wins brand new, hand-shaped Dick Van Straalan single fin)
2nd Jack Freestone
3rd Noa Deane
4th Noah Lane
5th Thomas Woods
6th Anthony Pols

JUNIOR

1st Luke Hynd
2nd Luke Gyory
3rd Lachlan Garland
4th Maddy Job
5th Liam O’Brien
6th Taj Prasad
 

Specialty Awards
Best Barrel – Noa Deane
Spirit of The Single Fin Festival – Matty Job



Read more: http://www.coastalwatch.com/news/article.aspx?articleId=11245&title=Rasta%20Wins%202013%20Single%20Fin%20Classic&cateId=43#ixzz2HL4iRPn8

VegNews - Hook, Line & Sinker by Jonny Vasic

By:Jonny Vasic Published:25th December 2012
VegNews

Humans' unbridled hunger for fish is decimating our oceanic ecosystems, threatening entire species, and wreaking havoc on our health. Writer Jonny Vasic explores what's happening offshore, and what consumers can do about it.

Dave Rastovich, a native New Zealander and the co-founder of Surfers for Cetaceans, says, 'There is a grassroots effort taking place in New Zealand right now, aiming to create sanctuary zones for the Maui's dolphins so that we can give them the space they desperately need to make a comeback.'

Click link below to download full .pdf article.
VegNews Think. Eat. Thrive. November+December 2012

Hook Line & Sinker Dave and Whale Jonny Vasic

Surfer, Dave Rastovich, completes epic NZ Paddle - two-weeks, 350km Enviro Awareness campaign

By:Premium Media - S4C Published:1st December 2012
3news.co.nz

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For immediate release
Kiwis Against Seabed Mining www.kasm.org.nz
Surfers for Cetaceans www.s4cglobal.org
Instagram: s4cglobal
Twitter: http://twitter.com/S4CGlobal
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SurfersForCetaceans

Piha, New Zealand (Saturday, Dec 1st, 2012) - Professional surfer and environmental activist, David “Rasta” Rastovich, (32, Byron Bay, NSW, AUS) has successfully completed a two-week, 350km paddle up the West Coast of New Zealand, a campaign designed to draw awareness to the seabed mining proposed for the region.


Rastovich, a founder of the global group “Surfers for Cetaceans”, began the paddle at Cape Egmont, south of New Plymouth on November 16 and today stepped foot onto the sands of Piha, north of Auckland, greeted by hundreds of supporters and representatives of the locally formed group “Kiwis Against Seabed Mining” (KASM).


Currently, the entire west coast of New Zealand, from Wanganui to Cape Reinga, is under either a prospecting or exploration permit for iron sand. Rastovich and KASM members claim that the mining will devastate marine eco systems, alter world renowned surf breaks and completely wipe out species such as the critically endangered Maui’s Dolphin.

Further, it is claimed there will be next to no financial return for the people of New Zealand with very few jobs created and 95% or more of profits going overseas.


“Seabed mining is something that will change this place forever. With so much at stake and with so many unknowns, it’s a risk I don’t think any New Zealanders should be willing to take,” said Rastovich.


“It’s not too late,” he urged. “There is so much compassion in this community and in all the communities and groups we engaged with during our journey. All we need to do is harness that passion and we can protect this incredible coastline from the dangers of iron ore mining."


On Thursday, during the 40km plus paddle leg from Port Waikato to Whatipu near the entrance to Auckland’s harbour, Rastovich was escorted by the very animal he is attempting to save – a pod of Maui’s dolphins swam alongside him for around 45 minutes as he navigated his 17-ft custom made board through treacherous seas.


“Just to the south side of the Manakau inlet, I had a visit by about eight Maui’s," explained Rastovich.

"They caught swells with me and escorted me to the very start of the inlet in really dangerous conditions. They really gave me the confidence to navigate that bar because there’s some heavy water in that area, some of the heaviest water I’ve ever encountered.”


Rastovich is no stranger to long hours in the water, having completed similar campaigns in Australia and Hawaii, as well as being recognised as one of the world's great surfers. However, it is no surprise he found the West Coast paddle challenging.


“There’s been moments when it didn’t feel like the ocean was going to allow me back to shore. In New Zealand, the ocean is a particularly special place. A place we should respect – this water, this sand, these people and the animals we share it with,” said Rastovich.

Ex-Waitakere City Mayor Bob Harvey, has also criticised the plans in public. Today he said this battle to preserve the west coast marine environment is of greater importance than the battle he lead to protect the Waitakere ranges.

"Be prepared for a long battle; it has only just begun," he said.


Josh Kronfeld, All Blacks football legend, was among the many supporters on the beach.

“The whole mining thing does not make any sense to me. We rely on the coast and the marine life as it is. To devastate resources that we are already using and then go and destroy that as well? Crazy. We don’t know exactly how much damage we’re going to do. And for such a minuscule return? It just doesn’t make sense,” said Kronfeld.


People interested in lending their voice or learning more about the issues are urged to vist www.kasm.org.nz

Proposals to mine the West Coast seabed are firmly opposed by a range of business groups and environmental organisations, including SEAFIC (The Seafood Industry Council), Sea Shepherd NZ, Project Jonah, Sustainable Coastlines, Mauis SOS, Greenpeace, WWF, Forest and Bird, and Surfbreak Protection Society.

Watch the 3news Video Clip Featuring Dave Rastovich here


More information can be found at the following websites:
www.kasm.org.nz / www.s4cglobal.org


Media are encouraged to make enquiries. Interviews, photos, newsfeed and audio-visual packages are available. Please contact: < jj@premiummedia.com.au
"JJ" - Premium Media
skype_jj_skype
jj@premiummedia.com.au
AUS Mobile +61 (0)421 384 431
NZ Mobile (until Dec 2nd) +64 (0) 221 565 135
www.premiummedia.com.au

Nov 29 leaves beach at Port Waikato bound for Whatipu 45km Nov 27 Rasta leaves Manu Bay, Raglan bound for Port Waikato Nov 29 Rasta and Maui's Dolphin gopro 1 of 3 near Whatipu

World's Smallest Dolphin "It's not too late" Dave Rastovich NZ Enviro Paddle Reaches Raglan

By:"JJ" - Premium Media Published:25th November 2012
Nov-22-Kawia-school-Group-Shot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kiwis Against Seabed Mining www.kasm.org.nz  
Surfers for Cetaceans www.s4cglobal.org
Instagram: s4cglobal
Twitter: http://twitter.com/S4CGlobal
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SurfersForCetaceans

Sunday Nov 25th (Raglan, New Zealand): Hundreds of local and international supporters banned together at Raglan, about 150km south from Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday to share their concerns about the seabed mining proposed for the country’s west coast.

Using surfboards, kayaks, malibus and traditional wakas (canoes) the protestors joined New Zealand born professional surfer and environmental activist, Dave “Rasta” Rastovich (32, Byron Bay, NSW, AUS), on a paddle upstream to the Kopua Domain; together forming a united front in opposing the coastal and ecological threats to the area.
The extinction of the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin, degradation of the fisheries industry and permanent alteration of globally renowned surf breaks are just some of the outcomes said to be at risk if seabed mining is to occur. At present, the entire west coast of New Zealand, from Wanganui to Cape Reinga, is under either a prospecting or exploration permit for iron sand.

“There is so much at risk. Wiping out the Maui’s dolphin, losing sand, stirring up the seabed, disturbing and releasing toxins, creating huge dead-zones … this is an issue that is going to affect everyone in New Zealand,” said Rastovich.

“Less than three percent of the money raised from these massive projects is going to stay in New Zealand so it’s not about money,” he added.

In the case of the Maui’s dolphin of which just 55 are said to remain, Rastovich cited the recovery of the Tongan and East Coast Australian humpback whale populations as inspiration to act and act fast.
“It’s not too late. The Tongan humpback whale population was reduced to 55 and now that whale population exceeds 2000. With decisive action and collective awareness, it is possible to save this beautiful and unique animal,” he urged.

As a way of drawing awareness to the seabed mining issues and to show his support of the locally formed group KASM (Kiwi’s Against Seabed Mining), Rastovich and a team of like-minded supporters have paddled to Raglan from Cape Taranaki.

The team, which includes KASM (Kiwis Against Seabed Mining) spokesperson, Phil McCabe (Raglan, NZ) have been engaging surfers, school children, Maori families and land custodians, fisherman and business owners, during their journey north which will culminate in Piha (north of Auckland) next Saturday December 1st.

Those wishing to support Rastovich’s ongoing paddle and the awareness campaign are welcome to be present at the finish. Rastovich is expected to arrive into Piha on his custom built, 17ft paddle board at approximately 12pm.
------------------------------------
Anyone interested in the issues concerning seabed mining, are encouraged to visit the kasm.org.nz website and sign up for the submission reminder (top right of home page).

Proposals to mine the West Coast seabed are firmly opposed by a range of business groups and environmental organisations, including SEAFIC (The Seafood Industry Council), Sea Shepherd NZ, Project Jonah, Sustainable Coastlines, Mauis SOS, Greenpeace, WWF, Forest and Bird, and Surfbreak Protection Society.

Leading kiwi individuals including All Blacks star Josh Kronfeld, and ex-Waitakare Mayor Bob Harvey, have also criticised the plans in public, with Kronfeld describing them recently as “a blindside hit”.

Please take a minute to watch the latest webisode here: http://vimeo.com/54278583

More information can be found at the following websites:
www.kasm.org.nz / www.s4cglobal.org


Media are encouraged to make enquiries. Interviews, photos, newsfeed and audio-visual packages will be made available.

Please contact: < jj@premiummedia.com.au > +64 (0) 221 565 135 (reception is sketchy! Apologies).
"JJ" - Premium Media
skype_jj_skype
jj@premiummedia.com.au
NZ Mobile (until Dec 2nd) +64 (0) 221 565 135
www.premiummedia.com.au

nov-20--black-sand--rasta-nz--paddle Nov-24-Rasta-surfing-at-Ruapuke Nov-18-howie-cooke-art--nz

World's Smallest Dolphin in Surfer's sights - Epic 350km Ocean Paddle Aims to draw Awareness to proposed NZ Seabed Mining

By:JJ @ Premium Media Published:14th November 2012
Pro surfer, environmental campaigner and activist, Dave Rastovich is in New Zealand to show his support for "Kiwis Against Seabed Mining" (KASM).

Press Release

For immediate release
www.kasm.org.nz  “Kiwis Against Seabed Mining”
www.s4cglobal.org “Surfers for Cetaceans”
Instagram: surfers4cetaceans
Twitter: #S4C

CAPE TARANAKI, New Zealand (Wednesday, Nov 14, 2012) - The world’s smallest known species of dolphin, the Maui’s (or “Popoto”) dolphin is critically endangered and faces the threat of total extinction if moves to mine the seabed along the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island go ahead, according to surfers and environmental campaigners who have banned together to fight the proposals.

On Friday, 16th November, pro surfer and activist, Dave Rastovich (32, Byron Bay, NSW AUS), will begin a daunting 350km sea-paddle from Cape Taranaki to Piha to draw awareness to the threatened stretch of coast. Rastovich says like-minded surfers and activists will join him on his journey, but if they don’t follow him the whole way, he intends to complete the two-week journey solo.

“People the world over come to experience the raw, untouched waters of New Zealand and celebrate a space not yet disturbed by industrial humanity. Yet, if widespread seabed mining reaches the coastal waters of this country, the allure of visiting a once pristine place will disappear,” said Rastovich.

“This coast, including Taranaki’s jewels, Raglan’s points, and Auckland’s beaches, are Aotearoa’s spiritual centre for surfers. All would be threatened if the sand flow is interrupted and a coastline littered with flawless waves could be irretrievably altered. As well, seabed mining will undoubtedly threaten the future of the critically endangered Popoto/Maui’s Dolphin. On those grounds alone it should be prohibited,” he adds.

Rastovich is no stranger to long hours in the ocean. He is a globally renowned surfer, has participated in similar awareness campaigns in Australia and California, and completed the gruelling Molokai to Oahu inter-island Hawaiian paddle race (considered the world championship of long distance ocean paddling).

Rastovich will now attempt to complete the equivalent of seven Molokai paddles in two weeks.

A coalition has formed between the local group, “Kiwis Against Seabed Mining” (KASM) and the global organisation “Surfers for Cetaceans” (S4C) of which Rastovich is a co-founder.

The activists will be paying homage to the Maui’s Dolphin as they glide peacefully through the territory of the endangered mammal.

In addition to various regional community discussions, three major events will be held, marking key milestones of the journey.

The campaign will see Howie Cooke (co-founder of S4C and artist) and the KASM team creating art and information events that provide information about sea bed mining and also the dangers of gill and set net fishing to the dolphins, and agricultural/industrial and domestic runoff that contaminates New Zealand’s water ways.

An event schedule is listed below, with all local community members and media encouraged to participate:

• Fri 16th Nov - Oakura Beach (paddle begins)
• Fri 16th Nov - Fitzroy Beach New Plymouth Surf Club (music, food & info) from 6pm
• Sat 17th Nov - Fitzroy Beach (Micro Groms surf event) morning, on the beach
• Sat 17th - Fri 23rd paddle, paddle, paddle (meetings and engaging with local communities)
• Sat 24th - Raglan Info Event
• 25th – 30th – paddle, paddle, paddle to South of Piha meetings and engaging with local communities)
• Sat 1st Dec – Piha Conclusion “Love Your Ocean Day!” Major day time event. Evening finale event at the Piha Bowls Club

Proposals to mine the West Coast seabed are firmly opposed by a range of business groups and environmental organisations, including SEAFIC (The Seafood Industry Council), Sea Shepherd NZ, Project Jonah, Sustainable Coastlines, Mauis SOS, Greenpeace, WWF, Forest and Bird, and Surfbreak Protection Society.

Leading kiwi individuals including All Blacks star Josh Kronfeld, and ex-Waitakare Mayor Bob Harvey, have also criticised the plans in public, with Kronfeld describing them recently as “a blindside hit”.
Surfers for Cetaceans co-founder, Howie Cooke says of the proposed ore mining: “Sucking up seems an appropriate term here, considering that this kind of operation would be significantly offshore owned, with a small financial benefit to New Zealand that in no way could compensate for the massive and extensive damage that would befall fisheries, fish and families.

“The tearing up of the seafloor, the discharge of toxins and the blanketing destruction caused by the tailings would ensure a multitude of major problems being inflicted on both marine diversity and coastal communities for generations to come.

“There are clearly enough fishery, entanglement, oil drilling and pollution issues already; the desperate situation of the Maui’s dolphin makes that clear,” says Cooke.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUoIMSM2uDM

More information can be found at the following websites:
www.kasm.org.nz / www.s4cglobal.org

Media are encouraged to make enquiries. Interviews, photos, newsfeed and audio-visual packages will be made available. Please contact:  jj@premiummedia.com.au

Instagram: surfers4cetaceans
Twitter: #S4C

Premium Media
jj@premiummedia.com.au
www.premiummedia.com.au
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Main Image: Pro surfer, environmental campaigner and activist, Dave Rastovich is in New Zealand to show his support for "Kiwis Against Seabed Mining" (KASM). Beginning Friday, Nov 16th, Rastovich intends to paddle an estimated 350km from Cape Taranaki to Piha along New Zealand's West Coast passing through the area where the proposed seabed mining is to occur. The area is the habitat of the critically endangered Maui's Dolphin, a species that now faces risk of total extinction. The epic journey will incorporate education and awareness events, and expected to take two weeks, culminating on Dec 1st.Rights-free pic for media with appropriate credit: Dawe/Surfers for Cetaceans (S4C)

The Crew Mauis Dolphin

Rasta Interview 2012

By:Seth Matson - S4C Crew Published:12th November 2012
Dave (aka: Rasta) - Photo: Hilton

The Surfer for Cetaceans (S4C) crew caught up with their co-founder, Pro "Free" Surfer, Dave Rastovich and had a nice little chat about his future projects, activism and more...

S4C: Hi Dave, how are you and what have you been up to lately?

Dave:
well between my homeland in OZ and my girlfriend Laurens homeland in Florida we have been visiting the wto the last few months and that has been great to be with both our families.  Also, been preparing for a campaign thats about to kick off in New Zealand.  Oh, bit of surfing too.


S4C: We understand you're headed to New Zealand next week. What's going on with the current state of the Maui Dolphins?
Dave:  AT this point it is believed there are only fifty five remaining Maui's Dolphins in the world and they call the west coast of north island New Zealand home.  Some of us believe those low numbers are due to fishing practices using set nets and gill nets, and also toxicity issues from pesticide usage in  NZ's vast agricultural industry.  Now this dolphin, the smallest in the world, is facing the very real threat of sea bed mining coming to it's home waters.  There are vast plans to mine the black sand from the west coast to extract iron ore.  In so many ways this is a terrible idea and we are going to NZ to spread truthful information about these threats.


S4C: That's amazing of you to help out with this cause. What can other people do to help the Maui Dolphins?
Dave: People can visit our site, and the central hub for stopping sea bed mining at  www.kasm.org.nz  .
This is where some in depth info is, and options to form submissions to the NZ government to stop sea bed mining coming to NZ and destroying the Maui's chance of survival. 



S4C: That's great, hopefully the people reading this will help out in this much needed cause. So, will you get any surfing in while in NZ?
Dave: I am paddling up the west coast covering 350kms in two weeks, so hopefully somewhere in there we will get to hang and surf with local crew. It is all depending on the weather conditions.  If the wind is good and I can paddle quickly with it, then I will have time to surf at the other end. If not , I will just have my head down and paddling to make it to the end point and make some noise for the Maui Dolphin.

S4C: Sounds like fun...Hope you get a couple good ones.
So, Minds in the Water is about to be released to the world via Video on Demand (VOD) and DVD on November 13th. What does this mean to you?

Dave:
This film is a great way to introduce people to the work S4C does and to show how anyone can give this type of work a go.   I am proud of the film and what we achieved during the period that it was shot.  We have done a lot of campaigns and it is really special to share them with people in a way that is relatable and human. We are not a huge NGO with millions of members and offices filled with people at computers, we are a little group of friends who are doing what we can with the skills we have and  the film shows how that can be very powerful and productive.


S4C: Has this film created the awareness you were looking for it to create?
Dave:
The ball has just started rolling with the film reaching people, I am sure we will see some people lit up about the issues that are close to their heart, and I would like to think this film helps ignite those fires.


S4C: What's something you feel from your heart that people can do to help save cetaceans lives in the future?
Dave: Stop eating seafood.  Clean up our water ways.  And do something to protect the cetaceans that call your coastal waters home.

S4C: Great advice, anything else come to mind?
Dave:
Be sweet to each other.  


S4C: Wow, that's really cool and very loving. Thanks for spending your valuable time answering these Q&A's. One last question: What's on tap for Dave Rastovich in 2013?
Dave:  I have no idea at this stage,  leaving it wide open.  I have a feeling much will come about, but right now I have to focus on making this campaign in NZ as great as possible!!!

S4C: Thanks again Dave, humans and cetaceans worldwide appreciate your efforts.
Dave:
Sama Sama.  cheerio


Wanna help Dave in his NZ Maui Dolphin campaign? You can donate to S4C here.


Thanks for reading,
S4C Crew...

Check out Minds in the Water now on iTunes USA http://bit.ly/RYmTB6

Mauis Dolphin © 2012 - Transcend Off the Lip - Rasta Style - Photo: Hilton Rasta Cutty - Photo: Hilton

Message from S4C Ambassador Peggy Oki

By:Peggy Oki Published:7th November 2012
Peggy Oki lets-face-it-dolphins.com

Fellow surfers and skaters,

Nobody knows better than surfers what it means to ride waves and realize our connection with dolphins as kindred spirits in the sea.

Earlier this year, Dave "Rasta" came out with S4C crew to join in my efforts with the local community in Raglan to raise awareness to the issue about the critically endangered Maui's & Hector's Dolphins found only around New Zealand. We've surfed with dolphins in many parts of the world. But I have yet to see a Maui's because they are so rare now with only 55 left! How can that be?

Since the 70's, when gillnet trawlers came on the scene, these dolphins have been drowning by entanglement in fishing nets. The Hector's, of which the Maui's are a subspecies (very closely related) are down to less than 25% left. If trawling is not banned immediately in the known coastal habitat of Maui's & Hector's Dolphins, these amazing creatures will become EXTINCT!

Please join me in giving back to the very cetaceans that inspire us. Participate in our “Let’s Face It” campaign as a powerful visual way of expressing worldwide public opinion to urge the New Zealand government to take immediate measures. Your visual petition (VP) photo of you along with a selected image of a Maui’s or Hector’s dolphin acknowledges specifically that you want to save the Maui’s & Hector’s from extinction. Watch our 3 minute video about "Let's Face It" and participate!
www.lets-face-it-dolphins.com/news-blog/article-44-2012-09/through-the-dolphins-eyes-by-dove-joans

Start with Step 1 and see how easy & fun it is to help reach our goal of 5,500 "Let's Face It" Visual Petitions! TEAM UP with a couple of friends, and you'll collect heaps!!~; )`♥
www.lets-face-it-dolphins.com/step-1-download-image

Thank you for your support,

Peggy...
Origami Whales Project Founder & Director / Lets Face it Dolphins / S4C Ambassador

Peggy Oki lets-face-it-dolphins.com Peggy Oki - Dog Town & Z-Boys Peggy and Rasta

MINDS IN THE WATER TO BE RELEASED ON DVD AND ON DEMAND NOVEMBER 13, 2012

By:Minds in the Water Published:5th November 2012
MITW VOD Logos

AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY MINDS IN THE WATER
TO BE RELEASED ON DVD AND ON DEMAND NOVEMBER 13, 2012

For the First Time, the Public Will Be Able to See World Renowned Surfer Dave Rastovich on His Quest to Protect Our Oceans

“Cetaceans are the ultimate, and original surfers. They are our ocean kin and it is our role to do what we can to protect their well being."
- Dave Rastovich

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (November 13th, 2012) – Get ready to dive in the water as Saltwater Collective announced today that MINDS IN THE WATER will be released on DVD and On Demand November 13, 2012. The award winning documentary features Hayden Panettiere, Isabel Lucas, Howie Cook, Chris Del Moro, and Captain Paul Watson, with a soundtrack by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson, and Xavier Rudd.

Follow the quest of professional surfer Dave Rastovich and his friends to protect dolphins, whales and the oceans they all share. Through Dave's journey—a five-year adventure spanning the globe from Australia to the Galapagos, Tonga, California, Alaska and Japan—we see one surfer’s quest to activate his community to help protect the ocean and its inhabitants.

Minds in the Water is a film that resonates with audiences all over the globe and from all walks of like. The Huffington Post calls it a “beautifully and brilliantly directed” film while Surfer Magazine says that it’s “Truly Inspiring.” The film has appeared in numerous festivals, where it has won Best Film accolades in categories such as Best Documentary, Films that Matter, Audience Appreciation, and Best Environmental Film. Aside from film festivals, it also has the support of some of the both Action Sports and Ocean-minded communities alike.

About Dave Rastovich [producer / lead]:
Dave is currently sponsored by Billabong International and travels the world over half the year as one of their star athletes, appearing in a select number of magazine, books and film projects each year. In addition to his extraordinary surfing ability and dedication as an ecoist, Dave is also an accomplished filmmaker and musician. His gamelan beats for Wave of Compassion won the 2006 X-Dance award for sound design. Dave directed and produced the film Life Like Liquid and has been featured in other films such as Wave of Compassion, Sprout, The Next Wave and Blue Horizon (winner of the 2005 X-Dance film festival).

About Justin Krumb [Executive Producer / Director]:
Emmy Award winning filmmaker Justin Krumb is the founder and president of The Saltwater Collective and RoughCuts Productions (RCP) and a producer-director with a focus on feature documentary and television production. For well over a decade Justin has worked on a variety of documentary and commercial projects in countless countries spanning the globe, ranging in subject matter from sports documentary and adventure travel to humanitarian and environmental issues. His television and documentary credits include The ESPN X-games, The Surfer’s Journal, First Hand, Wave of Compassion and The Next Wave: A Tsunami Relief Story. As a multi-faceted producer, Justin’s work has been shown on Fox, ESPN, Outdoor Life Network, Fuel TV, Speed Vision, National Geographic TV and PBS.

About Jonny Vasic [Executive Producer / Producer]:
Jonny Vasic is the founder and president of LA based Evergreen Oasis Entertainment, which specializes in communication with a conscience. Formerly the International Director at Sea Shepherd, he has also worked with groups such as The HSUS, Surfers for Cetaceans and PETA. He is an award-winning filmmaker and producer of the documentary film Minds in the Water. Jonny’s life long passion for animals combined with his experience in multi-media, lead him on a journey to make content that inspires positive change in the world.

OFFICIAL TRAILER ON YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3GExD8djwo


OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.mindsinthewater.com/


AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ON APPLE ITUNES: http://bit.ly/RYmTB6

DVD Bonus Material:
Minds in the Water Trailer
‘Making of the documentary’ interview with Director Justin Krumb
Deleted scenes - Tonga - The tale of the mermaid and swimming with humpback whales
Deleted scenes - Galapagos - A connection to Darwin
Deleted scenes - Australia - Surfing Lennox Heads
Surfers for Cetaceans PSA

PLEASE CONTACT:
Rene Ridinger or Kevin McAlpine
MPRM Communications
rridinger@mprm.com
kmcalpine@mprm.com
323-933-3399

Minds in the Water DVD Minds in the Water Poster

Howie on Maui Dolphins

By:Howie Cooke Published:4th November 2012

From where i was born up in an old fibro shack, the highest house in Auckland, you could see the Pacific Ocean off to the East, the Tasman Sea off to the West and on a clear day Kaipara Harbour sparkling on the horizon to the North. From the edge of a forest of rimu and kauri, i was forever enchanted by the great faraway seas that surrounded me and it was like heaven when our family moved to the coast, and saltwater from then on, touched my skin every day.

On those wonderfilled endless summer days of my childhood at the beach, exploring rockpools and rolling around in the forever waves, i would gaze at the horizon intrigued now, about the mysterious Whale who lay impossibly far away. Would i ever see a whale? probably not, everyone would tell me, the great days of the Whale are over, but somebody knew somebody who had seen a whale one time, off in the distance, a spout of warm breath, then gone. I remained hopeful, but resigned to the fact the i would might never meet a big smiling leviathan, least of all the biggest of them all, the Blue whale.

Now all these years later, with the urgency of protecting New Zealand's marine environment dramatically accentuated by the rapid decline of the Maui dolphin, i find myself, having finally met a Blue Whale last year, wondering if i will ever meet the world's smallest dolphin, the iconic Popoto of Aotearoa.

Everything about growing up a Kiwi is linked to the sea, one way or another it always comes back to the sea being the place of nourishment and healing to the very core of our being. We know that quintessential feeling of a crisp Spring morning, the cool ranges and verdant bush behind us, as the river brings clear water to a sparkling harbour, and we look out across to waves peeling off the point, hazy in booming ocean spray.
This is the bottom line.
It is not written below an accountant's letterhead.
This is the heritage of being a New Zealander, the coastal mana we all know sustains our us and our sense of who we are.
So we must protect this precious wellspring of our very existence.

As if by cobbled together by a collusion of previously unknown misguided cousins in the family, we see a raft of proposals and practices now seriously impacting not only on our the little dolphin who has been battling with gill nets, trawling and toxic waste, (including it would appear, the legacy of dioxin herbicide pollution from the 70s) but the whole ocean ecology being put at risk by this sandmining proposal of sucking up billions of tons of sand to extract iron from the fabled black sand of the North Island's west coast.
Sucking up seems an appropriate term here, considering that this kind of operation would be significantly offshore owned, with a small financial  benefit to New Zealand that in no way could compensate for the massive and extensive damage that would befall fisheries, fish and families.
The tearing up of the seafloor, the discharge of toxins and the blanketing destruction caused by the tailings would ensure a multitude of major problems being inflicted on both marine diversity and coastal communities for generations to come.
There are clearly enough fishery, entanglement, oil drilling and pollution issues already ..the desperate situation of the Maui dolphin makes that clear.

In doesn't help that the NZ Government stood alone at the recent IUCN meeting in Korea and voted against 568 members wanting increased protection for the critically endangered cetaceans of New Zealand. When the rest of the world is making a strong case about an imminent potential extinction of an entire species of cetacean right in the same waters, on that count alone, offshore sandmining is simply untenable

The Tasman Sea should not become an open cast mine but remain a wild living sea with wild waves of life.

S4C (Surfers for Cetaceans) are dedicated to adding our voice to the this important cause and joining with KASM and other community groups representing the people of Aotearoa to see natural sanity prevail.
We come in saltwater solidarity from across the Tasman Sea with our feet deeply immersed in the wet black sand of Parehaka, Whatipu, Piha, Bethells and all the way up to Ahipara.
I personally look forward to painting any wall that will have my paint, and we look forward to meeting with local iwi, surfers, everyone, as a united voice for the little dolphin, the fish, the Whale and the great Ocean who gives us life


howie cooke S4C

http://vimeo.com/44464931

Maui's dolphin by Chris Howe - WWF-New Zealand

By:Chris Howe, Executive Director of WWF-New Zealand Published:25th October 2012
Supporters

Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160
New Zealand
Cc: Hon David Carter
Cc: Hon Kate Wilkinson

October 24, 2012

Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Maui’s dolphin
The 50 undersigned national and international organisations, representing over 20 million concerned citizens globally, would like to express our deep concern for the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin, a subspecies of Hector’s dolphin found only in New Zealand waters. In order to prevent New Zealand becoming the first country to allow the extinction of a marine dolphin due to human activity, recommendations from leading cetacean experts around the world must be urgently adopted.

The New Zealand government’s existing and newly proposed conservation measures fall significantly short of the recommendations made by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress, and fail to adequately protect these critically endangered dolphins from commercial and recreational gillnet fishing and trawling throughout their entire range. Given New Zealand’s long-standing championing of cetacean conservation, the lack of urgent government action to eliminate fishing bycatch, identified as the primary human threat to Hector’s and Maui’s, has been widely criticised by the international cetacean conservation community.

Specifically, in late June 2012 the IWC Scientific Committee recommended1 to immediately extend the North Island protected area to approximately 80km south of the latest dolphin bycatch site (Maunganui Bluff to Hawera), offshore to the 100m depth contour, and including all harbours, for gillnet and trawl fisheries. The Committee also indicated that “adequate observer coverage across all inshore trawl and gillnet fisheries is important in order to obtain robust scientific data on continuing bycatch as a means of assessing the effectiveness of protection measures” and that “further population fragmentation could be
avoided by also protecting the north coast of the South Island, providing safe ‘corridors’ between North and South Island populations.” The marine corridor between the South and North Islands, habitat beyond 7 nautical miles, as well as the harbours, all still remain largely unprotected despite being important to Maui’s dolphin recovery.

Concern and effort to protect small cetaceans is growing internationally and it is very alarming that New Zealand was the only member to oppose a recent motion to the IUCN World Conservation Congress in late September 2012 on 'Actions to avert the extinction of rare dolphins: Maui's dolphins, Hector's dolphins, Vaquita porpoises and South Asian river dolphins'. The World Conservation Congress adopted the motion2 with 117 governmental and 459 NGO votes in favour, after it had been reviewed by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cetacean Specialist Group. The motion urged the New Zealand government to
“expand the areas of protection from gillnetting and trawling to cover the entire range of the Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins”, recognised by experts as being the 100m depth contour. This motion also called on the New Zealand government to “immediately increase the level of monitoring and enforcement by requiring 100 percent observer coverage on any gillnet or trawling vessels allowed to operate in any part of the range of Hector's and Maui's dolphins until such bans can be implemented; and to report such action and monitoring and enforcement results".
1
IWC/64/rep1. Report of the Scientific Committee at page 81.
2
http://portals.iucn.org/docs/2012congress/motions/en/M-035-2012-EN-CG.pdf

The March 2012 Department of Conservation population estimate determined that only about 55 Maui’s dolphins over one year old remain in the world and New Zealand government-commissioned scientific studies indicate an extremely low level of incidental mortality is possible if the species is to survive i.e. one death from human interaction every
10 to 23 years. If New Zealand is to ensure a future for Maui’s dolphins, the government must take decisive and urgent action to eliminate all human-induced threats.

Whilst acknowledging steps the New Zealand government has taken protecting Maui’s and Hector's dolphins to date, the current protection measures are insufficient and we urgently request the immediate implementation of the key recommendations of the IWC Scientific
Committee and the IUCN World Conservation Congress to protect Maui’s across their entire range from gillnet and trawl fishing out to 100m deep, and including harbours and the South-North Island marine corridor, in order to avoid their extinction.

Sincerely,
Chris Howe, Executive Director of WWF-New Zealand
(signing on behalf of attached image NGO's)

Contact:
PO Box 6237
Marion Square
Wellington 6141
New Zealand
Tel: +64 (0)4 471 4282
Email: chowe@wwf.org.nz

S4C visits Italy

By:Chris Del Moro & Dave Rastovich Published:21st October 2012
Chris Del Moro

Chris Del Moro -

This wall was an amazing journey, which first saw a team hard at work to secure permission from the church (which wall it borders) then town mayor and finally saw this historic wall refurbished to help the painting process. Once the permission was granted, a local paint company named Caparol, who had sponsored Keith Herring's 1989 mural in Pisa signed on to support the project. The painting process seems surreal, during the 3 days spent at the wall I was greeted with a wide variety of energetic locals, a hundred plus school children, music, helpers and a wonderful since of communal appreciation. The town has a traumatic history with a beached Blue whale, so I created a positive charge with the mother and baby to hopefully smooth some of that pain. Pisa's ancient symbol is adorned with dolphins, so that was an easy addition and when all was said and done the wall became my most satisfying large-scale creation yet. A massive help to all those that helped bring this dream into reality and to the town of Marina Di Pisa for treating our group as family...

Dave Rastovich -

In the course of three days we watched Chris bring this old wall to life with a sweet coupling of Balenna/Whale and Delphino/Dolphin mother and carves. There are no other murals in this area of Italy, Marina Di Pisa that reflect the watery environment that surrounds people there. So when Chris got close to the end of the mural and it was obvious what he was creating people of the town flocked to check it out. Especially little kids that were apparently waking up and asking their parents to take them to see the Balenna's and Delphino's straight away! One of the highlights was an elderly woman who walked up to Chris at a very steady and measured pace and asked about the painting. They spke for a little while and it was revealed she was in her nineties! She looked like she was maybe seventy. She was so happy to see Chris's art, which is a great sign and affirmation of the art. We saw the whole spectrum of the community there opened up and inspired by the piece. Grommets and grannies everyday considering whales and dolphins in their world of Marina Di Pisa, it’s nice to think they are getting some more attention and perhaps compassionate consideration too.

Peace,
S4C Family...

S4C Family CDM Masterpiece

Operation Infinite Patience: September 14, 2012

By:Melissa Sehgal, Cove Guardian Campaign Leader - Sea Shepherd Published:16th September 2012
cove guardians taiji dolphin defense campaign

Taiji Goes To Great Lengths to Avoid Global Exposure of the Dolphin Slaughter.

This first week of the 2012-2013 drive hunt season has brought many changes. Cove Guardians were introduced to a new police task force. Police surveillance has doubled since last season, we are continuously monitored and many locations are considered ‘off limits’

The Mayor of Taiji has ordered Takanabe Hill, which is a tsunami evacuation escape, closed indefinitely for construction.  At the top of the steps is a small grassy park that looks down into the cove, well at least down toward the many tarps that cover the killing cove. I find it to be a coincidence that this location, and only this location, is closed at the start of the drive season. It is a shame that the Mayor is truly making the dolphin slaughter a priority over the safety of the local citizens of Taiji. (Report of earthquake and tsunami devastation in 2011 as experienced by Cove Guardian Campaign Leader, Scott West)

There are other tsunami evacuation stairs in Taiji, but none of them have a view of the killing cove and none of them are used by activists documenting the dolphin slaughter. Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians announced the closure on Twitter and shortly afterwards there was a tsunami drill in Taiji. The mayor seems to think that this will stop us from exposing the slaughter. I wonder if he realizes that more and more people are becoming aware of what Taiji does to dolphins; sorry Taiji, it is no secret.

It has been a week of bloodshed and deceit.  Taiji continues to claim the dolphin drive as “tradition” and demands that the world should respect their culture. This week wasn’t about culture -it was about profit. On September 7th, a large pod of 28 short-finned pilot whales were driven into the killing cove. They were held overnight only to have three taken for captivity and the remaining pod was again held for a second night to give local buyers time to prepare for one very large whale meat auction. Early Sunday morning all 25 whales were brutally murdered in the cove. Each whale carcass was dragged by skiff, transferred to a killing boat at sea, and then dragged to Taiji butcher house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kzLverqzxsk

The killers attempted to cover their actions with draped large blue tarps over the large breathless whales. It seems these guys have gotten a little sloppy and have forgotten that we are always watching. Fins were flopping, bloodstains were revealed, doors and drapes left open to reveal pilot whale carnage. Buyers swarmed the Fisherman’s Union with greed and angst as Cove Guardians monitored the trucks loading and unloading fresh whale meat. We could see the blood dripping down the sides of the trucks. Pilot whale meat is not only a favorite of locals, but is distributed worldwide.

Of the three pilot whales taken for captivity, one mother pilot whale is ailing. She has been treated and monitored by vets and trainers from Taiji Dolphin Base. She continues to swim on her right side, circling her calf. Both mom and baby are badly sunburned and not eating. We will keep posting updates on her condition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=R2quUNq6GHg

On September 10th, a pod of Bottlenose dolphins was driven toward Taiji. During the drive, the pod was separated in two. The first pod was netted into the killing cove as the killers continued to chase the remaining family. After about five hours, the killers wrangled the dolphins into a net confinement just outside Taiji harbor. Two dolphins were taken to the cove and at least five were taken by skiff then dumped back into the water, and finally the last of the pod was driven back out to sea. The entire drive process was over eight hours and the pod was also held overnight for more than sixteen hours in the killing cove. This timeframe allowed buyers to travel and purchase these wild caught dolphins.

The next morning, nine dolphins were taken via slings to Taiji harbor pens for a lifetime of captivity. Simultaneously nine killing boats were driving in an additional pod of Bottlenose dolphins toward the cove. Both pods were combined in the killing cove and held overnight once again.  Thirteen Bottlenose dolphins were ripped from their family the following morning for a total of twenty-two taken and sold into captivity. The remaining pod was driven back out to sea. A previous agreement between Taiji and WAZA (World Association of Zoos & Aquariums) states there is not to be killing of Bottlenose dolphins during the month of September. Captive dolphins can be labeled and sold as “non-slaughter” dolphins. Each captive dolphin can be worth as much as $250,000. This is not tradition- this is greed.

One dolphin was not so fortunate. After enduring a long drive, a stressful night in the killing cove and separation from the rest of the family this dolphin was found dead and alone, floating just outside Taiji harbor. A skiff and killing boat quickly transferred the dead dolphin back to the butcher house- possible lunch for the dolphin killers.

The season is just starting and we are here to stay. We will continue to document and expose what Taiji “thinks” they are hiding. We will continue to remain a strong presence in Taiji until the slaughter ends.

We currently have five Cove Guardians on the ground and many more volunteers around the world are joining us this season.
I encourage everyone interested in our campaign to get involved. There are many ways to help us save dolphins.
Follow and share our updates via social media.
For the dolphins,
Melissa Sehgal, Cove Guardian Campaign Leader
http://www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/operation-infinite-patience-september-14-2012.html

tsunami evact route blocked cove guardians fresh pilot whale carcass

S4C at the International Whaling Commission

By:Howie Cooke Published:5th July 2012
Scam and a Sham!

Once again Surfers for Cetaceans will represent for the global surfing community outside the International Whaling Commission (IWC64), which this year is being held in Panama City

In the first week of July the meeting culminates with voting on various agendas where whale conservation countries and their NGOs are pitched against whale killing countries such as Japan, Norway, Iceland and their cohorts. Check out iwcoffice.org.

Out in the street, S4C will stand in alliance with Women for Whales, Sea Shepherd, Whales Alive and other groups and individuals who maintain a strong voice for whale freedom. This will include South Americans calling for the South Atlantic to be a whale sanctuary in same way there has been a NZ/Australia proposal for a South Pacific whale sanctuary since IWC52 in 2000, continually thwarted since, by the whaling lobby.

“It's exciting to have the IWC come back to the America's, which allows for the Latin fire and passion to unite against the ongoing whaling and dolphin slaughters happening around the world. I strongly urge all surfers whom want to come and stand in solidarity for our seas to make their way to Panama City for the IWC delegations. We have a great team and events assembled this year and are all excited to mix with our international friends and the people of Panama.” Explained S4C ambassador Chris Del Moro.

Aboriginal whaling quota demands this year will unfortunately cause the US delegation to tread softly in a kind of trade-off with whaling lobbyists. The agenda item of, Safety at Sea is inevitably used by Japanese lobbyists to attack Sea Shepherd's efforts to directly protect whales under attack in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Small whales and dolphins issues generally don't ever make it into IWC for consideration but a conservation workshop is listed due to an Australian Govt. grant.

Despite the procrastination, blatant obstruction, and charges of corruption that pervades the IWC, it does draw together defenders of cetaceans and the Ocean from all over the world and thus facilitates powerful networking and new alliances.

This final IWC week is the one week that the international media focuses on whales and whaling issues, and the presence of dedicated groups and individuals in the street, with colourful banners and song not only puts the whaling lobby on notice that the world is watching but provides reporters with images and interviews that reflect how the most people around the world feel about the slaughter of the Cetacean family.

Women for Whales has organised a raft of events in connection with local community, under the name International Whale Celebration and we call on all surf crew who can, to participate and stand with us outside El Panama Hotel IWC venue, preferably with your boards, and word up for our gentle oceanic friends, the dolphins and whales.

S4C Co-Founder – Howie Cooke

Howie Cooke Painting Banners Dont Buy It!!! S4C / Women for Whales Rally - Panama

S4C at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) 2012

By:Howie Cooke - Chris Del Moro Published:1st July 2012

Once again Surfers for Cetaceans will represent for the global surfing community outside the International Whaling Commission (IWC64), which this year is being held in Panama City

In the first week of July the meeting culminates with voting on various agendas where whale conservation countries and their NGOs are pitched against whale killing countries such as Japan, Norway, Iceland and their cohorts. Check out iwcoffice.org.

Out in the street, S4C will stand in alliance with Women for Whales, Sea Shepherd, Whales Alive and other groups and individuals who maintain a strong voice for whale freedom. This will include South Americans calling for the South Atlantic to be a whale sanctuary in same way there has been a NZ/Australia proposal for a South Pacific whale sanctuary since IWC52 in 2000, continually thwarted since, by the whaling lobby.

“It's exciting to have the IWC come back to the America's, which allows for the Latin fire and passion to unite against the ongoing whaling and dolphin slaughters happening around the world. I strongly urge all surfers whom want to come and stand in solidarity for our seas to make their way to Panama City for the IWC delegations. We have a great team and events assembled this year and are all excited to mix with our international friends and the people of Panama.” Explained S4C ambassador Chris Del Moro.

Aboriginal whaling quota demands this year will unfortunately cause the US delegation to tread softly in a kind of trade-off with whaling lobbyists. The agenda item of, Safety at Sea is inevitably used by Japanese lobbyists to attack Sea Shepherd's efforts to directly protect whales under attack in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Small whales and dolphins issues generally don't ever make it into IWC for consideration but a conservation workshop is listed due to an Australian Govt. grant.

Despite the procrastination, blatant obstruction, and charges of corruption that pervades the IWC, it does draw together defenders of cetaceans and the Ocean from all over the world and thus facilitates powerful networking and new alliances.

This final IWC week is the one week that the international media focuses on whales and whaling issues, and the presence of dedicated groups and individuals in the street, with colourful banners and song not only puts the whaling lobby on notice that the world is watching but provides reporters with images and interviews that reflect how the most people around the world feel about the slaughter of the Cetacean family.

Women for Whales has organised a raft of events in connection with local community, under the name International Whale Celebration and we call on all surf crew who can, to participate and stand with us outside El Panama Hotel IWC venue, preferably with your boards, and word up for our gentle oceanic friends, the dolphins and whales.

S4C Co-Founder – Howie Cooke


Notes from Costa Rica

By:Howie Cooke Published:30th June 2012

Since arriving a few days ago in Costa Rica, through many portals and timezones on my way to IWC64 in Panama City, Natalie Fox of Women for Whales/S4C and i have presented the final 3 screenings (of about 10) of Minds in the Water. At the final screening at Rocamar i raised the well travelled Whaletipi, using local bamboo, with help from Malpais Surfcamp, and a WA surfing couple, Rae and Leigh, who saw MITW at the Yallingup Surf Film Festival earlier this year and decided then and there to get to IWC. Costa Rica is the Whaletipi's 16th country to represent at for whales and dolphins. Over these final two days here before we leave for IWC, i’ve painted a big mural along a main street supermarket that fortuitously already had a sea-green wall. A humpback whale, fish hammerhead sharks, manta rays and a turtle feature with a declaration in Spanish ‘Freedom for the whales and sharks’. The locals are seem pleased with the new look and the message.

Surfing is a popular pastime here along this Pacific coast tourist destination and there has been a very favourable response to the film, which documents the creation and evolution of Surfers for Cetaceans,..and lively Q&As ensued. It is clear that people come here because of the abundance of natural beauty. The jungle (alive with birdsong and the loud calls of Howler monkeys) reaches right down to the ocean's edge of shelly driftwood beaches and reefs awash with excellent surf. Rain passes through cooling the evening heat and enriching the blue sky morning colours.

Costa Rica has been instating marine parks and sanctuaries for some time, and they account for an area equivalent to 25% of CR's land mass. The Marino Ballena Park, established in 1989, celebrating the gathering of Humpback whales on the Pacific side each year during Dec-April, is also home to Pilot whales, Melonheads, Sperm whales and many types of dolphins. The Park serves as a sanctuary to a variety of seabirds including frigates, pelicans and boobies as well as Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles. Costa Rica is famous for her turtles, including the highly threatened Leatherback, which due to continued illegal local egg raiding, has suffered a 90% population crash in the last 2 decades! Las Baulas National Marine Park has been declared, to encompass the largest nesting colony of Leatherback turtles in the country..800 nesting females gather there during months Nov-April, so one hopes that there is a chance for their urgent recovery.

As of March last year, President Laura Chinchilla declared a 10,000 sq km Seamounts Marine Management Area around Isla del Coco which is 550 kms off west Costa Rica, ( toward the Galapagos Islands) thus increasing five-fold the previous no-fishing zone there. Area Marina de Manejo o Montes is hugely significant in that 'seamounts host endemic species, and the deep water that upwells along their sides brings nutrients that support rich feeding grounds for long distance migratory species including turtles, tuna, sharks and whales" Mario Quesada, CR co-ordinator, Conservation International.

The island, about half the size of Manhattan is also known as Shark island, not surprisingly in that the surrounding waters are rich with a dazzling array of vibrant sea life which includes White-tip reef sharks, Whalesharks and Scalloped Hammerheads, the latter being listed as endangered on the IUCN Red list. Furthermore the Costa Rican Govt. has proposed the hammerhead sharks' inclusion in Appendix III of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Costa Rica's peak marine conservation NGO Pretoma, originally formed in 1997 around turtle protection, has also become vocal in the safeguarding of Costa Rican sharks and their habitat.

So, given the acknowledgement and laws enacted to protect the natural abundance and biodiversity of Costa Rica's marine territories, it is no small irony to be here knowing that the key person upholding marine protection around the world, including in CR, Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, is now under house arrest in Germany still awaiting extradition papers from Costa Rica, a month and a half since being arrested at Frankfurt airport. The charges suddenly being made, go back ten years ago when, with Guatemala Govt. permission, Sea Shepherd apprehended a Costa Rican shark-finning boat in Guatemalan waters. It is ironic that the year before, Watson assisted rangers in arresting an Ecuadorian longliner poaching in the Isla del Coco national marine park, and as a consequence was invited by Costa Rica to work in co-operation with the Ministry of Environment and the park's rangers.

Paul Watson's continued detention, which even has Interpol perplexed, has brought increasing focus on Costa Rica's environmental standing and record. Clearly Costa Rica's vibrant natural terrestial and marine environment, friendly people and easy going lifestyle is ultimately her greatest asset, in many ways greater than the staple export of coffee, bananas and fish, and definitely greater than the brutal, massively destructive and illegal practice of shark-finning that benefits relatively few, at great detriment to Costa Rica and the Ocean herself.

With some 450 local and 150 foreign industrial, mostly Taiwanese, longliners operating in CR waters, the delicate ecology of Costa Rica's prime resource needs careful and dedicated conservation and protection. Costa Rica would be doing itself a huge favour to, in fact, invite Captain Paul Watson back to continue helping to uphold Costa Rica's marine conservation laws, parks, sanctuaries and her magnificent life-sustaining seas, and in turn create a mecca for divers, sailors and surfers, who would happily return to this beautiful part of the world for generations to come.

Footnote: on June 22 2012, Venezuela outlawed shark-finning in its waters - the last of South American countries to do so - and has declared a new shark sanctuary of some 3,730sq kms in the Carribean Sea, surrounding Los Roques archipelago, a popular tourist destination.

Minds in the Water Wins Best Environmental Film in Australia!

By:Johnny Abegg Published:20th March 2012
Byron Bay Film Festival

If you missed the Outdoor Screening last night for the Byron Bay Film Festival, well… YOU REALLY MISSED OUT!

Dave Rastovich’s film Minds in the Water won best environmental film and was accompanied by a series of incredible short films. Jack Johnson making a cameo appearance, alongside Will Conner, Rusty Miller and Garret Kato. The Full Moon put on a show, families and friends, food and blankets, it was an incredible community feast!


Enjoy the pics!

http://commongroundaustralia.com

Words and Photos by Johnny Abegg – facebook.com/johnnyabegg

also checkout: https://www.facebook.com/ByronBayFilmFest

Howie Cooke - Minds in the Water Star / S4C Co-Founder Jack Johnson Byron Bay Film Festival Kids

Raglan, New Zealand + Maui's Dolphin Day

By:Lauren Hill / Chadd Konig Published:9th March 2012
Crew

We couldn’t have had a more glowing welcome to Raglan. After checking in with the folks at Solscape we ran down to Manu Bay, the first point at Raglan on the north island of New Zealand. We saw perfect little peeling lines from up on the hill. Scurrying over the rocks as quickly, but carefully as possible, we made our way into the line-up, shrouded in hanging gray clouds.

Only four others in the line-up. The sun descends and gold saturates all to the West, bleeding into half of sea and sky. The paddle back into the line-up was purely golden– with the exception of black silhouettes (with glowing golden linings). And then, catching perfectly reeling lefts into the cove, we watched as the most vibrant half-orb rainbow trimmed across the gray sky. One way gold, one way rainbowed. And perfect loggin’ lefts to welcome us to this beautiful Bay.

We had the chance to sit down and chat with the crew at Solscape yesterday. Our friends Loren and Aubrey who run Surfers without Borders are running a permaculture workshop here and have amassed an international crew of concerned humans to learn and to experience the sustainable beauty that is Solscape.

We had a great talk about activism and all got to share stories, perspectives and visions for engaged pathways.

We’ve also been preparing for Maui’s Dolphin Day on Saturday, a community gathering to raise awareness about a subspecies of dolphin called Maui’s Dolphin that is critically endangered and genetically isolated to this region. Dave, Chad Konigg and myself are here to support the work of local crew who are working hard to protect this rare species and its habitat. We’ve been reaching out to local schools and area surfers to rally around conservation efforts affecting their most precious playgrounds: area beaches, surf breaks and coastal waters.
Lauren Hill

http://blog.merseabeaucoup.com/

From Chadd Konig:

We have gathered here in Raglan, New Zealand a coastal town of 3,500
folks. The purpose of our journey here is to help the Maui Dolphin in
any and all ways. Specifically we are striving to draw attention and
educate people on the current condition of the most endangered dolphin
in the world. Its current state is severe! There are only
approximately 55 remaining and less than 20 breeding females. The day
we arrived locals immediately educated us on another crucial issue,
Seabed Mining. This could lead to the extinction of the Maui Dolphin
and will also cause complete destruction of the sea floor environment
and those that call it home. It could even alter the waves in Raglan!
The intention of the Seabed is to harvest iron ore and export it to
Japan, if you would like to read more on these issues please visit the
websites below.

Coming here from California and visiting this country for the first
time I am very surprised to see how many environmental and social
issues this region is presently facing. Some would go as far as saying
it is overwhelming, however, I find it to be the perfect opportunity
to better this part of the world. It is a chance to change our
existence forever. If you are reading these words you already part of
"it". You have joined the family of sea saviors and now have the
freedom to do whatever you wish. Welcome to the revolution! There are
no rules and so specific path or process you must follow. You are
obviously welcome to visit the websites below, sign petitions and
write letters to John Key, the Prime Minister in Wellington, New
Zealand expressing your feelings and thoughts about these destructive
acts. However, there are infinite other actions to take. Stop, slow
down and look within your heart. What do you love to do? What makes
your heart sing? Do you love painting, walking, riding your bike,
running, hiking, reading, writing, singing, flying kites, meditating,
surfing, making films, taking photos, teaching? There are infinite
passions and each of you have a fire within you. You would not be
alive on this planet if you did not. So take this extremely crucial
issue and incorporate it into your life and loves. It can be as
creative or simple as you wish. Educate yourself on these issues,
allow them to sink in, bring them into your backyard because soon
enough, if not already, your home town will be facing similar
environmental struggles. Treat New Zealand's coastline as though they
are your home, because what happens here will eventually effect the
environment close to you. Have fun and be joyful in your actions.

Websites:
-Kiwi's Against Seabed Mining (KASM) Link
www.blacksands.org.nz

-Maui Dolphin Link
www.wwf.org.nz/what_we_do/species/hector_s_and_maui_s_dolphin/maui_s_dolphin/

Peeling Point Raglan Drive

Punta Sayulita Movies on the Beach

By:Seth Matson Published:2nd March 2012
Kids n Crew

I got a phone call from Justin with an invite to go down to Sayulita Mexico to screen Minds in the Water and present a lesson to a local school about the Transparentsea Tour and what Surfers for Cetaceans is all about... Without hesitation I said "Im on it, just tell me when"...

A week later we arrived at the Puerto Vallarta/Riviera Nayarit airport late February.  The weather was sunny and in the mid 70's. Just perfect for me. Shorts, t-shirt and thongs... The Punta Sayulita Hotel had a driver pick us up and take us for a short 1/2 drive north to the hotel. It was a nice drive through some mountains with lots of trees. It kinda reminded me of the mountains Costa Rica without all the Monkeys.

When we arrived to the office on the beach, we were given a little tour around town by local HB Resident/Local friend of mine Chuy Madrigal. We were surprised to see each other. Chuy was actually down there planning a big Stand up paddle event that was coming up the following weekend. Chuy and I go back a long way and have tons of friends in common in Huntington Beach. He was also a local in Sayulita so it was awesome getting a tour of the town from him that night. The food/atmosphere was great and they surprisingly offered lots of Vegetarian options. One of my favorites was the Hibiscus tacos. Yum!

The next day Justin and I went to a really cool Community Education Center about 10 minutes up the road from Sayulita. We talked to 20 plus local kids via a powerpoint presentation. We talked to the kids about our recent Transparentsea Tour in California, about beach cleanups, how our group S4C creates art to bring awareness to cetacean issues and more... The kids were really responsive and well educated and asked lots of questions. The Community Center was all about Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, education, games and art. They created a bunch of 4ft tall wire trash cans all around town and the beaches for collecting plastic bottles. I was super stoked on that being a beach cleanup guru myself. After our presentation we headed back to town and did a tour of one of the schools and talked to some of the teachers. We found out they were actually teaching about Killer Whales that week. They taught kids how to grow their own fruits and veggies as well. It kinda reminded me of a Montessori school. Those were some lucky kids...

After leaving the school, Justin and I took a couple long boards out to get wet for a few. It was nice to paddle out in trunks again. The waves were only 2-3ft but fun for longboarding. Later that evening we played Minds in the Water movie to around 75 plus locals down on the beach. People were super stoked on the film. We met some great people including a famous women who said she rode the first Killer Whale way back when. She resides in Sayulita now and creates beautiful art. After the film was over we headed out for dinner with some of the locals then called it a night.

The next day we flew back to Cali but first we did a two man beach cleanup. We found lots of trash on the beach so its good that the community is teaching the youth about being eco-friendly.

It was a nice little "in and out" 3 day trip. I learned a lot about the town and love the message the town is spreading. The locals were all super cool too. I would for sure go back! 

Seth - S4C Crew

_______________________________________


Punta Sayulita Presents:
MINDS IN THE WATER
The journey from apathy to activist

Five years in the making, MINDS IN THE WATER is the story of one surfer’s international journey to help protect dolphins and whales and their ocean environment. Shot on location in Australia, the Galapagos, Chile and Japan, the film captures a key moment in one person’s life when apathy is no longer an option. Pro surfer Dave Rastovich went
from observer to activist when he embarked on a personal mission to help stop the worldwide commercial slaughter of dolphins and whales. While unsure at first, Rastovich quickly found his activist sea legs and helped build a core team of filmmakers, journalists, musicians, eco-pirates and celebrity surfers to help spread the message. “This whole journey started as a conversation between two friends a few years ago,” says Rastovich. “Since then, it has evolved into an international movement with thousands of followers who are actively making a difference.”

Wednesday, February 29th
Director Justin Krumb will be present to introduce the film and to answer questions after the movie.

Punta Sayulita Movie Night on the Beach
Noche de Pelicula
Presented on Outdoor 7m x 10m Big Screen

Time/Hora: 7:00 p.m.

Meeting Place/Lugar de Reunion: Punta Sayulita Beach House
To Benefit the Punta Sayulita Foundation Environmental Education Programs
Suggested Minimum Donation of $100 pesos

A beneficio de los Programas de Educación de la Fundación Punta Sayulita
Donación mínima sugerida $100 pesos
http://www.puntasayulita.com/

Justin presenting to the kids Childrens Art Beach Cleanup

TransparentSea Concludes

By:JJ - TransparentSea International Media Published:25th October 2011
Crew of TransparentSea environmental voyage enjoy a blue whale visitation off the coast of California.

TransparentSea
Environmental Initiative
A Modern Voyage with Ancient Creatures
September 29th – October 25th
California, USA
http://transparentseavoyage.com/

Tuesday 25th October 2011 (San Diego, California, USA):
After nearly a month of surfing, sailing and paddling their way down the Californian coast to raise awareness for coastal and marine issues, the group of environment campaigners led by professional free-surfer, Dave Rastovich (31, Byron Bay, NSW, AUS) reached their final destination, Mission Bay, in San Diego on the weekend.

Members of the surf community, professional skateboarders, snowboarders and like-minded special guests from the music, film and art worlds, participated during the 260-mile (418-kilometer) journey that traced the southern migration of blue and grey whales from the Gaviota Coast north of Santa Barbara to the Mexico-USA border.

As well as engaging local communities at more than a dozen stops during the voyage, hundreds of people attended four special fundraiser/awareness nights to enjoy art by internationally recognised creators, live music by Australian group the “Band of Frequencies” and the newly released documentary film “Minds in the Water”.

Additionally, the work by local action groups was identified and key issues brought to the fore. They included:

- Santa Barbara (Shipstrikes on blue whales and Preservation of the Gaviota Coast)
- Malibu (Save Malibu Lagoon and the work of the Marine Mammal Care Centre)
- Dana Point (Dana Point Ocean Institute)
- San Diego (Surfrider Foundation and animal Captivity Issues)

As well as daily encounters with marine animals including dolphins, seals, sea lions and sharks, the group was also treated to unforgettable encounters with endangered blue whales. Two of the curious mammals decided to pay the kayakers a visit one afternoon off Newport Beach, swimming beneath the group and putting on a private display near one of the most densely populated coastal zones in the world.

A banner statement in L.A. Harbor, one of the world’s busiest ports, paid tribute to the recent ban placed on shark-finning and called upon President Obama to place pressure on other international leaders to help end whaling worldwide.

“After 23 days of traversing this coastline, we’re exhausted, a lot of our group got sick, most likely from being in the ocean after rain, but our experiences have been unforgettable. Even though we’re tired we’re not so tired that we’re going to remain inactive on these issues,” said Rastovich.

“This trip has been about us learning about this coastline and learning about the groups who do great work to protect it. Importantly, it’s also about learning about what the everyday person can do to contribute to making this a better world. And it comes down to supporting local groups who do great work, it comes down to our daily decisions as consumers and modern people … reusing, recycling … realising the change we can bring about by buying locally, creating locally, investing more in local culture … and being mindful of the small things, like picking up trash. If you’re down the beach, going surfing and you see trash, you pick it up and take it away.”

Chris Del Moro (29, San Diego, CA, USA) is a local surfer, artist and activist who has spent many years surfing and living in California and now, thanks to the recent journey, is seeing his homeland in a new light.
“We’ve been exposed to such radical contrasts. One minute we’re swimming with super pods of dolphins, just a mile or two from one of the busiest and polluted ports in the world. We’ve experienced the unspoiled beauty of areas like the Gaviota Coast and then just a few days later, we’re camped on the bitumen in an RV park next to a six lane highway. We’ve been buzzed by naval helicopters and heard bombs exploding during testing just a couple miles from famous surf spots," said Del Moro.

“So coming home and doing what we did really opened my eyes to a lot of issues, but also to a lot of beautiful aspects of our coast I had never previously experienced. Getting out of our comfort zones, going out to sea, getting away from the streets, just having an opportunity to see how grand and beautiful California is rekindled the fire for me to get back and push as hard as I can on environmental issues, push hard on cetacean issues and to do whatever we can to save our seas.

“There’s no point in thinking doom and gloom, we have what we have now, so lets make it as beautiful as we can for ourselves, for the next generation and for those here a hundred years from now. This planet is powerful. At some point we might not be here, but for now I really think there is so many blessings to be had,” added Del Moro.

Sandy Lejeune, Chair of the Santa Barbara chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, was just one of the crew who participated in the TransparentSea journey, using the initiative to help spread the word about one special stretch of coast he is striving to protect.

“We’ve maintained a 20-year campaign to preserve the Gaviota Coast and having the crew launch their So-Cal tour from Gaviota State Beach gave us such a huge boost, it brought the international spotlight to a unique and threatened area,” explained Lejeune.

Other participants and supporters during the month-long odyssey included musicians Rob Trujillo (Metallica), Tyler Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Angus Stone (Angus and Julia Stone), Tristan Prettyman, and Ry Cuming, Australian actress Isabel Lucas, professional skateboarder Kyle Leeper and professional snowboarder Forest Shearer.

To hear any of the 23 "Song a Day" tracks recorded during the trip, visit: http://transparentseavoyage.bandcamp.com/

Contributing artists included Andy Davis, Chloe Trujillo, Alison Soens, Branden Aroyan, Jason Murray, Christine Brailsford, John Smart, Ned Evans, Rod McCoubrey, Ryan Milner, Scott Soens, Thomas Campbell, Tim McCaig, and Tyler Warren.

A big thank you goes out to the following companies who shared in the overall vision and goals of the TransparentSea USA voyage: Billabong, Sanuk, Hobie, Fast Lane, North Face, Etnies & Clif Bar & Company.

Additional contributing sponsors include Toyota, Surfline, Sector 9 and Electric.

The TransparentSea USA voyage is the secod such trip, the first took place in 2009; a similar initiative which saw the same core group of activists travel 700km (434 mile) over 36 days down Australia’s Eastern Seaboard, successfully highlighting the plight of humpback whales.

At the mid-point of the TransparentSea USA journey, the 2011 Global Conference for Social Change, an initiative of the Foundation for Social Change and the United Nations Office for Partnerships, recognized Billabong as one of its Leaders of Change, an award that recognizes companies that are committed to the 'pursuit of sustainability whereby environmental and social performance are embedded in the competitive strategy of the firm or organization'.

To learn more about some of Billabong’s other initiatives, please visit the following links:

Billabong Design For Humanity fashion, music, art benefit: us.designforhumanity.com

Change Today: The Texas Organic Connection documentary: vimeo.com/19495176

Recycled Plastic Bottles Boardshort program: vimeo.com/20936071

MORE MEDIA INFORMATION:
Rights-free pictures, press updates including television and online audio-visual packages for media are available. Interview requests are welcomed.
Please contact:
JJ - TransparentSea International Media
jj@premiummedia.com.au
USA Cell +1(949)678 9307
www.premiummedia.com.au

TransparentSea group shot - Mission Bay, San Diego Band of Frequencies, cosmic groove, fireside, Mission Bay. The S4C Crew - Cruising down the CA Coastline

Surfer/Activists Californian Environmental Initiative

By:Premium Media Published:2nd October 2011
TransparentSea Group

TransparentSea
Environmental Initiative
A Modern Voyage with Ancient Creatures
September 29th – October 25th
California, USA
http://transparentseavoyage.com
Sunday 2nd October, 2011 (Gaviota Coast, California, USA): A group of environmental activists led by Australian professional free-surfer Dave Rastovich (31, Byron Bay, NSW) set to sea north of Santa Barbara yesterday on a one-month voyage to the USA-Mexico boarder. Called “TransparentSea” the environmental initiative aims to highlight local coastal issues and the plight of marine mammals.

During the 260-mile (418-kilometer) odyssey the group will be joined by like-minded individuals and a rotating roster of special guests as they kayak and surf their way south, making more than 20 stops to engage communities and draw awareness to key issues.

Among those on the first leg from Gaviota Pier to El Capitan (in Santa Barbara County) were Australian actress Isabel Lucas and her singer-songwriter boyfriend Angus Stone.

Before the 18ft twin-seat Hobie kayaks were placed in the water for their maiden voyage, a beach-clean was undertaken in conjunction with the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Chairman, Sandy Lejeune, was on hand to represent the Foundation in the region he is fighting to protect from development – the Gaviota Coast is home to the last remaining 20-mile stretch of undeveloped rural coastline in Southern California.

On Thursday night at the local Santa Barbara Maritime Museum a fundraiser kick-off and awareness night saw over 300 paying guests enjoy music by Australian group Band of Frequencies, the recently completed documentary “Minds in the Water” was screened and a silent art auction held with all proceeds being forwarded to the not-for-profit “Surfers for Cetaceans” (S4C) group Rastovich helped co-found in 2005.

Kristi Birney, Marine Conservation Analyst for the Santa Barbara Environmental Defense Center spoke of local efforts to reduce ship strikes on blue whales in the Santa Barbara channel. The channel boasts one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, but also the densest population of blue whales, the world’s largest animal.

The TransparentSea team will make four key stops on the journey south and encourages participants to attend and help promote the following key issues and events:

TRANSPARENTSEA LAUNCH PARTY
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum – September 29th
(Environmental Defense Center)

TRANSPARENTSEA VOYAGE L.A. PARTY
Malibu Inn, Malibu – October 7th
(Save Malibu Lagoon)

TRANSPARENTSEA VOYAGE O.C. PARTY
Dana Point, Ocean Institute, October 16th
(Ocean Institute Education Program)

TRANSPARENTSEA VOYAGE S.D. PARTY
Venue TBC - October 23rd
(NRDC Acoustic Pollution Issues)

Following the final function in San Diego, key members of the group will then continue overland on October 25th to the grey whale’s mating and calving lagoons located in Baja California, Mexico

Dave Rastovich:
“Our group is acting as a voice for the global surfing community, focusing on ocean issues and primarily cetaceans, which include dolphins, whale and porpoises. California is a major surf industry hub, and also where a lot of surfers take active roles in defending their coast so it is a great privilege for our group to be able to join in those efforts and further the movement.”

Chris Del Moro:
“Even though we have a lot of urban sprawl (in California), we also have a lot of nature that we should celebrate and protect. We have a lot of issues with coastal run-off – just last week we had a 20-million gallon spill that was quite the omen for us and our trip; in a way reiterating that we have a lot of work to do here in California. It’s a beautiful place, but needs a lot of loving.”

Isabel Lucas:
“It’s hard to not wat to be involved with this type of thing (TransparentSea). Once you have an interest and a passion for something, you have a natural desire to want to protect it and nurture it and love it and see other people do the same thing. We’re just a small group of people and - one step at a time - we can all do our part knowing it does make a difference.”

The first TransparentSea voyage took place in 2009; a similar initiative which saw the same core group of activists travel 700km (434 mile) over 36 days down Australia’s Eastern Seaboard, successfully highlighting the plight of humpback whales.

The TransparentSea group includes Californian surfer and artist, Chris Del Moro (San Diego, CA, USA), Australian musician Will Conner (Byron Bay, NSW), world-renowned surf photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, NSW) and professional women’s longboard champion Lauren Hill (FL, USA), plus a small behind-the-scenes production team.
F
or more information on TransparentSea including detailed route information and key dates, http://transparentseavoyage.com/events

For bio information on the TransparentSea participants and crew, http://transparentseavoyage.com/crew

Want to contribute or volunteer? http://transparentseavoyage.com/action

A big thank you goes out to the following companies who share in the overall vision and goals of the TransparentSea voyage and are helping it happen: Billabong, Sanuk, Hobie, Fast Lane, North Face, Etnies & Clif. Additional contributing sponsors include Toyota, Surfline, Sector 9 and Electric.

FURTHER MEDIA INFO:
Rights-free pictures, press updates including television and online audio-visual packages for media will be made available. Interview requests are welcomed.
Please contact “JJ” (details below)

JJ - TransparentSea International Media
jj@premiummedia.com.au / jj@billabong.com.au
USA Cell +1(949)678 9307
skype_jj_skype

www.premiummedia.com.au

"Minds In The Water" West Coast Kick Tour

By:Steve Barilotti Published:15th September 2011

Minds In The Water Kicks Off West Coast Tour at Historic
La Paloma Theater on September 21, 2011
 

San Diego, CA - September 14, 2011 -- Following its sold-out Hollywood premiere as the opening film of the Artivist Film Festival last month, Minds In The Water will engage a limited West Coast tour at selected venues along the Southern California coast in September.

Minds in the Water is a feature-length documentary following the quest of professional surfer Dave Rastovich and his friends to protect dolphins, whales and the oceans they all share. Through Dave's journey—a five-year adventure spanning the globe from Australia to the Galapagos, Tonga, Chile, California, Alaska and Japan—we see one surfer’s quest to activate his community to help protect the ocean and its inhabitants.

"Having the opportunity to screen Minds In The Water and interact with audiences about the important issues highlighted in the film is exactly what the vision for this project was all about,” says Minds’ director Justin Krumb. “We are absolutely stoked to see it come together after such a long process of making this film."

The Minds In The Water screenings work in tandem with Surfers For Cetaceans (S4C), a registered 501(c)3 international oceans’ advocacy group co-founded by Rastovich in 2005. Proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales help to fund S4C initiatives such as the Transparentsea sailing campaign scheduled to kick off at the Santa Barbara screening, September 29th.

Rastovich, along with fellow surfers and filmmakers will be touring with the film and will lead an audience Q&A immediately after selected showings.
 
Scheduled tour dates:
Sep 21st            La Paloma, Encinitas
Sep 22nd           Pepperdine University
Sep 24th            Duke’s, Malibu
Sep 29th            Santa Barbara, TBA
Oct 2nd              San Diego Film Festival
 
For film showings, info and trailer: www.mindsinthewater.com

“By beginning our film tour in our backyard beaches we hope to stoke out our friends and fellow surfers while conveying a key concept that we all share these special Pacific waters,” says Minds’ writer and co-producer Steve Barilotti. “Dave’s story show’s that for the gift of surfing and living near the ocean there’s a bargain struck that says that one day the ocean will call on you. In Dave’s case, he listened. Our hope is that his story will inspire many more like it.”

Surfers for Cetaceans is committed to activating ocean-minded people everywhere to support the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and marine life. It's through compassion, awareness, education, media and dedicated interventions that we will accomplish this goal. We seek to be a human voice for and defender of cetaceans worldwide.

 
About Minds In The Water

Minds in the Water and the MITW Visual Petition are teamed in a global awareness campaign dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals and the world’s oceans.  It’s through insightful multimedia content such as cinematic and pictorial elements from which the voices of ocean minded people everywhere are heard.  For more information on the visual petition and the Minds in the Water campaign, please visit:  http://www.mindsinthewater.com

 
About 540 Action Sports

540 Action Sports is your conduit to lifestyle markets. A marketing agency that fuses action sports, entertainment, and youth culture via unique concepts, promotions, and events offering an array of marketing services including public relations, creative services, affinity marketing, event marketing, mobile marketing, licensing and trend research. Based in Carlsbad, CA, 540 partners with brands, as well as agencies, to create, develop, and execute turnkey marketing efforts that increase brand loyalty, create visibility, and reinforce image: http://www.fiveforty.com

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"Minds In The Water" North American Premier

By:Artivist Film Festival Published:29th July 2011

For Immediate Release

ARTIVIST FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE OF
MINDS IN THE WATER’
AS THE 2011 OPENING NIGHT FILM
 

Documentary Feature Follows Professional Free Surfer Dave ‘Rasta’ Rastovich and His Friends – including Hollywood’s Isabel Lucas and

 Hayden Panettiere – on an International Mission To Save Dolphins
 The Humane Society of the United States On Board
As Festival’s Official Opening Night NGO Partner
 Screening August 18that Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater

 LOS ANGELES – July 26, 2011 – Artivist Film Festival announced today that “Minds In The Water,” a feature-length documentary about a professional free surfer whose mission to save dolphins—our mammalian fellows—became an international cause célèbre, will open the 2011 festival in Hollywood, August 18-20.

The Opening Night Film presentation marks the North American premiere of the film. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is the Official Opening Night NGO Partner.

The film follows the quest of professional surfer Dave “Rasta” Rastovich and his friends to protect dolphins, whales and the oceans they all share. Through a five-year adventure – from Australia to the Galapagos, Chile, California, Alaska and Japan – we see one surfer’s transformation from observer to activist in his desire to defend the seas and its inhabitants.

Along the way, Rasta is joined by fellow surfers and even Hollywood celebrities, notably Isabel Lucas (“Transformers 2”) and Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes,” “Scream 4”), who travel with him on a whirlwind journey around the world, raising public awareness for their cause. Isabel Lucas will participate in the panel discussion immediately following the Opening Night screening of the film, along with Rastovich and the film’s director Justin Krumb.

"Being selected to premiere our film in North America here at Artivist is a great honor,” says Krumb. “The surfing community has such deep roots in Southern California, and so many people here care about the issues the oceans face, that we feel it's an amazing opportunity to showcase what a few motivated people can accomplish with passionate determination."

For the film’s star, “‘Minds In The Water’ is a great way to share a realistic, deeper look at how surfers all around the world can do their part to resolve human-created problems that exist in our most cherished aspect of life, namely the ocean,” says Rastovich.

Artivist has enlisted the support of leading NGOs for this year’s film festival. The Humane Society of the United States is the official NGO Partner for the Opening Night Film program. The Artivist Film Festival ensures that NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) or Charitable Organizations be included as an integral part of its festival experience. Artivist invites NGOs to partner and promote their charitable work at each film screening as a way of encouraging community partnership, networking and positive action.

“The Humane Society of the United States is proud to support the Artivist Film Festival and the premiere screening of ‘Minds in the Water.’ Artivist has steadfastly addressed animal welfare issues over the years and is an important vehicle to help create change by giving documentaries like this a forum,” says Jonny Vasic, Program Director, Animal Content in Entertainment of HSUS.

This year, Artivist proudly welcomes back PETROBRAS as its Official Community Partner. Since 2004, Petrobras has supported the growth of the international Artivist Film Festival and Artivist Awards.
LA Weekly reprises its role as a media sponsor this year. The festival is also sponsored proudly by Kanon Organic Vodka (http://www.kanonvodka.com/).

Screenings are free to the public but advanced tickets are encouraged as the programs do “sell out.” All screenings and festival activities – including panel discussions, filmmakers-audience Q&As and receptions – will be held at the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. For more information and advance ticket reservations, visit http://www.artivist.com/festival/.

ABOUT PETROBRAS

Artivist proudly welcomes back PETROBRAS (http://www.petrobras.com.br/en/) as its Official Community Partner. Since 2004, Petrobras has supported the growth of the international Artivist Film Festival and Artivist Awards. Petrobras, a Brazilian energy company, has a 30 year history of distributing ethanol from sugar cane as fuel for vehicles, and is now committed to increasing the production and exports of ethanol.
At its new research center, scientists are looking for ways to produce ethanol from farming byproducts, which can increase production without the need for more farming land.

Petrobras is the largest funder of Cultural Arts Programs in Brazil, and a partner of hundreds of social, animal welfare, and environmental projects, such as the

protection of endangered sea turtles, spinners dolphins and the manatee, as well as initiatives on carbon capture, water protection, biodiversity, and climate change.

As the only company in the energy sector that is part of the Global Compact Board of the UNITED NATIONS, Petrobras commits its corporate governance to the 10 principles set forth by the UNITED NATIONS.

Understanding the interdependence between humanity, animals, and the environment is crucial in our global community. By working with individuals and groups, organizations and companies, we can create long-term solutions to our global problems.

ABOUT ARTIVIST FILM FESTIVAL

Founded in 2003, ARTIVIST FILM FESTIVAL is the only festival dedicated to raising awareness for International Human Rights, Children's Advocacy, Environmental Preservation, and Animal Advocacy through Film.

Over the past eight years Artivist Film Festival has screened more than 400 international Films representing 60+ Countries, and has produced Film Tours promoting its mission to more than 35 Million people in five Countries: USA, UK, Japan, Mexico, and Portugal

Each year Artivist Film Festival concludes with The Artivist Awards, honoring the contributions of filmmakers, community leaders, and celebrity advocates. Past Honorees include: Peter Fonda, Olivia Wilde, Hank Azaria, Ted Danson, Alyssa Milano, Daryl Hannah, Matthew McConaughey, Joaquin Phoenix, James Cromwell, Mira Sorvino, Tippi Hedren, Mike Farrell, and Ed Begley, Jr.

ABOUT THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF AMERICA

The Humane Society of the United States (http://www.humanesociety.org/)is the nation's largest animal protection organization, backed by 11 million Americans. We work to reduce suffering and improve the lives of all animals by advocating for better laws; investigating animal cruelty; conducting campaigns to reform industries; performing animal rescue and emergency response; and providing care to animals through our sanctuaries, emergency shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and clinics.

***
Media Contact:
Lisa Carroll, Publicist
ARTIVIST FILM FESTIVAL
626-280-8291

International Whaling Commission Protest

By:S4C crew Published:12th July 2011
IWC protest

The morning of Monday July 11 on Jersey in the Channel Islands off the west coast of France saw the final week of IWC63 get underway with a thoroughly determined protest for cetaceans' liberty, on the street below the hotel housing the conference.

In a highly vocal rally of some 60 dedicated friends of the Whale, the Surfers for Cetaceans team stood alongside Women for Whales and Sea Shepherd crew (including Captain Paul Watson) and local animal rights activists. Passing drivers confronted by a long line of people holding banners honked their horns in support and the Police maintained a low key, convivial presence.

Thanks to my ship guitar (which has seen action in the Faeroes and the Antarctic) being delivered to me from the Sea Shepherd trimaran 'Brigitte Bardot' i was able to sing up the ol' classics from previous actions and eventually our whole throng was chanting "Whale Freedom! No killing, No Capture!" and charging up the driveway past the overwhelmed security guards to the front entrance of the IWC venue. A group of Japanese delegates were confronted by our passionate crowd holding ground,  bearing anti-whaling banners and wording up vociferously for Whale Nation. By the time we were ordered to move on by police i had broken the top four strings and my fingertips were shredded ('had lost a lot of bark' as Hilts would say) with blood across the frets.

We returned to our  vibrant vigil back on the street and whaling henchmen from Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Japan, and their puppet cohorts were put on notice about their criminal actions of killing endangered Fin and pregnant Minke whales, of the brutal mass slaughtering of Pilot whale tribes in the Faeroe Islands, of the flagrant murder of whales in the Southern  Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the NW Pacific, of the harpooning of baby Humpbacks in the Caribbean and of the incipient corruption and bribery issues that pervade the IWC.
Without a doubt, with its strength of numbers and determination, this was one of the most substantial rallies in the last decade outside an IWC, ranking alongside the furious passion of the Chilean students in 2008 and last years effort in Morocco where our small band of ten never let up for the entire week. It was at that IWC that Natalie, Nori and Cordelia all encountered each other for the first time which lead ultimately to the forming of Women for Whales. A great sense of unity in common purpose and respect has marked the  alliance of S4C, W4W and Sea Shepherd out in the street, the energy upbeat, the whale killers feeling the heat ...aha, i feel another song coming on.

Once again Surfers for Cetaceans calls on ocean crew and the international media outlets of  surfing, sailing and diving  communities to word up about the war against our oceanic friends and take a strong stand for the natural rights and freedom of whales and dolphins.

Howie Cooke leads the protest S4C crew at protest Jersey Post

International Whale Celebration July 2011

By:Howie Cooke & Chris Del Moro Published:9th July 2011
S4C and Friends

Leading up to IWC 63 on Jersey, UK Channel Islands, S4C’s Howie Cooke, Chris  Del Moro and Justin Krumb were welcomed by the Women For Whales team whose funky country cottage has a sign slung over the front door proclaiming ‘Whales Head Office’. 

The W4W team has been very diligent in organizing community activities for their first annual International Whale Celebration aimed at bringing light to the rather stagnant deliberations within the IWC proceedings.  S4C is honored to be a key partner with W4W to create a positive voice for whale freedom and represent for the wider international ocean loving community. 

            July 9th marked the first day of activities which saw the crew hold space for a community paddle-out held to commemorate and honor Cetaceans who continue to suffer at the hands of humans.  It was great to see young local surfers being empowered by making a positive action for the well being of the oceans. Back at the surf club, which is one of Europe’s earliest surf locations, there was information available to the public, a wood block exhibition by Howie and a large colorful  marine mammal mural created by our collective team. 

Day 2 revolved around the Jersey Art Center where Chris and Howie were asked to judge a collection of children’s art, "The Magic of Whales." Nori Neumann of W4W  showed a film of her connection with a Dugong named Luna followed by the film ‘Where the Whales Sing’ featuring a inspirational eight year old girl’s family connection to Humpbacks of Bermuda. After we gave out awards in each age division, various like-minded lobbyists, scientists and a large pack of Sea Shepherd crew including Captain Paul Watson gathered for the NGO meeting. The meeting, as usual, highlighted the many intricate political twists and turns that typify the IWC process and cause the repeated annual problems of making progress for the whales within an often moribund and out dated structure. Examples of issues that need to be addressed within the IWC structure include allegations of corruption, killing methods, environmental considerations, and infractions.

            The evening culminated with a screening of Roger Payne’s informative film ‘A Life Among Whales’ and a Q and A between the audience and  some IWC stalwarts that helped bring  light to the complex issue of whales and whaling. Tomorrow, delegates from countries for and against whaling start wrangling over the packed agenda, and a protest is likely on behalf of whales’ rights.

 

Stay posted for up to date info via
www.s4cglobal.com
and www.womenforwhales.org/iwc , www.whalesalive.au

 

Surf Club Paddle Out Women 4 Whales

Dolphin rescued from rice field 12 days after tsunami

By:Associated Press Published:23rd March 2011
Dolphin rescued from Tsunami in Japan

A baby dolphin has been rescued in Japan after being dumped in a rice field by a giant tsunami that hit the coast on March 11.

The dolphin was spotted in the flooded field, about a mile from the coast, said Ryo Taira, a pet-shop owner who has been rescuing animals abandoned after the 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami left 23,000 people dead or missing.

"A man passing by said he had found the dolphin in the rice paddy and that we had to do something to save it," the 32-year-old Taira told Reuters.

Taira found the dolphin struggling in the shallow seawater on Tuesday and after failing to net it, waded in to the field, which had yet to be sown with rice, to cradle the four foot animal in his arms.

"It was pretty weak by then, which was probably the only reason we could catch it," he said.

Taira and some friends wrapped the dolphin in wet towels and drove it back to the sea, where they set it free. The dolphin appeared to perk up when it was back in the Pacific, he said.

"I don't know if it will live, but it's certainly a lot better than dying in a rice paddy," Taira told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Operation No Compromise - Homecoming

By:Howie Cooke Published:4th March 2011

The Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker are still making their way up out of the Southern Ocean in rough seas headed for Hobart, Tasmania which is itself wholly inside the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

We are scheduled to be given a reception and party on Sunday upcoming with a welcome by Sen. Bob Brown who also saw us off 3 months ago on Dec 2 last year. so of course after all the action, non stop work and watches we are looking forward to unwinding from what has been an incredibly successful campaign up against the Japanese whaling fleet. We will take the Steve Irwin up to Sydney with hopefully a long term berth, perhaps at Darling Harbour where the public can visit our fine black ship (originally built in 1975 as a Scottish fisheries patrol boat)  Since the Whale wars documentaries people are always keen to see the ship as was the case last year in Barcelona when she finished the Blue Rage campaign.

Not only did we sail confident in world support, we were enthusiastically received on this campaign in ports of Australia and NZ and Bluff including crew being given free dental work from Burton-and-Brown dentists in Wellington, and a stack off fresh produce from the popular larrikin mayor of Invercargill, Tim Shadbolt.
From the outset, on arriving in lower Antarctic waters and well within the Southern Ocean whale Sanctuary (declared at 40S) Sea Shepherd's flotilla of 3 ships the Steve Irwin (captained by Paul Watson) the Bob Barker (captained by Alex Cornelius) and the Gojira (captained by Locky McClean) were engaged directly with the Japanese whaling fleet.
On New Years Day our whole fleet turned on and hounded after two harpoons ships and one night Paul swung the Steve around onto our tail Yushin Maru 2 and we chased it through pack ice, and on another occasion all three ships escorted the tanker Sun Laurel up to and beyond the 60S line .

It was chilling to see Minkes and Fins gambolling about near our ship, with harpoon ships following us only 3 miles behind but ultimately by keeping 2 killer boats out of action and with the Gojira and Bob right on Nisshin Maru's slipway stern and the Delta and Zeppelin attacking them with butterbombs we frustrated the killing plans of the Japanese and they suddenly pulled out of Antarctica with a way lot less whales slaughtered than usual ( we have heard 170) Of course its was shocking to hear of those whales dying and our resolve to stop them killing even one whale never wavered; we were simply one ship short to have been able to achieve that.

We are a fabulous crew across 3 ships, 22 nationalities and about 88 of us .We have laughed and cried together, we have worked to exhaustion around the clock together, we have eaten wonderful vegan food created by our 4 chefs and have jammed new music in the lounge, played cricket on the foredeck, poker in the mess, and celebrated birthdays in great friendship

Being on this campaign has meant that i have caught up with crew i sailed with on the Steve Irwin in the Mediterranean last year; Josh and Rafaela of Italy, Bastien and Gaelle of France, Luz of Sweden, James and Stephen of Australia, Barbara of Brazil, Dan of US, Alex of Germany... and  Englishman  Stephen the Chief engineer, master of a fine cup of tea, who i sailed with on the Golfo Azzurro on the Faeroes Islands campaign - good friends all and united even stronger now.

Apart from being a Quartermaster on both 12-4 bridge watches and sometimes-deckie I have been enjoying being ships artist and aside from doing signwriting or banner work I have been decorating the ship's logbook and doing a cartoon a day for the crews noticeboard - for example Paul asking the ships basil plant Basileco if he is prepared to be eaten for the cause..todays shows 2 polar bears on an iceberg looking down toward penguins, seals and whales and complaining "how come those guys always get into the cartoons and we dont ?!!" 

We have been in wild rolling seas, fogs and freezing snowstorms. It was not long after visiting the Bay of Whales to celebrate Norwegian explorer Amundsen's trek from there to the South Pole in 1911 - and calling on Norway to give up whaling - that we received a relayed distress signal from a Norwegian yacht the Beserk and immediately set off through what turned out to be the worst storm to hit the region in 20 if not 30 years. I am a quartermaster on both 12-4 bridge watches and it was incredible to see the ship turn from black to white as she iced up all over including the boats on our foredeck. The shrouds became encrusted long popsicles and salt spray froze as it hit the bridge windows.

We were the only ship in the area able to do a thorough search operation which we set up in conjunction with NZ Search and Rescue and McMurdo base as a grid pattern in the Ross Sea complemented by our helicopter pilot Chris Aultman flying round the clock missions. We covered at least 3600 square miles but despite our hopes we only found the liferaft and food rations scattered across the water. Eventually we moved north searching around Franklin Island and then along the west shelf and islands with no sign of the sailors or their vessel. We have exchanged a lot of information with Norwegian media and sent our condolences to the sailors' families and Norway.

Now we are homeward bound to Hobart to rendez-vous with the gallant Bob Barker crew who are down on minimal dry rations having chased the factory ship Nisshin Maru all the way to Drake Passage below Chile. It was great to hear that Chile despatched 2 warships to the south with instructions to board the Nisshin Maru if it entered Chilean waters. Gojira headed out to Tahiti on her way to Europe campaigns.

So now we are thinking about how to do laundry, find those lost socks and make some sense of our tossed salad cabins and get ashore to meet up with our crews and friends and unwind and pinch ourselves in what has been an experience of a lifetime.

This campaign has affirmed that direct action by dedicated passionate people on behalf of the animal kingdom and biodiversity can triumph over apathy and greed to see better outcomes for the future on this beautiful planet.

This has been a historic victory for the whales. The sudden departure of the Japanese whaling fleet, essentially an expulsion by Neptune's Navy, validates the unwavering vision and courage of Captain Paul Watson for taking direct action to protect Whales and their oceanic world. Paul Watson has set a great precedent in standing strong by his principles and implementing a blueprint for future generations to safeguard the natural world that not only sustains us and gives true meaning and inspiration to our lives, but also upholds the right of all sentient beings to freedom and respect.

It is a great honour to serve in Neptune's Navy and once again this a shout out to the wider surfing, sailing and diving communities around the world to support Sea Shepherd and at the same time organise themselves into becoming powerful voices, directly active for our precious ocean and her inhabitants. Us saltwater slaves should actually be the masters of marine management and stand firm with our global collective power to see the sea and her people safeguarded.

The next IWC is in Jersey in the Channel Islands and a lot of this years Antarctic sea Shepherd crew are determined to attend and go on to other campaigns to see off whaling killing and capture once and for all. Both Seas Shepherd are calling on surfers, sailors and divers will come to this IWC, be a loud clear voice for our marine mammal mates,  create big media and support our oceanic kin's right to life and liberty.

Last night we sailed from around midnight under an incredible display of the Aurora Australis - the Southern lights   they would start to appear in front of us (on a NW heading) as almost comet like faint descending trails and then quickly form up into huge veils of vertical shafts of light making great long undulating curtains of pale yellowish luminosity across the Milky Way passing directly over our radar rigging in an immense quiet cosmic display that took our breath away. It was possible to imagine that then we breathed in the very essence of the Universe and were being reminded that we are all blessed to be in this flux of pure energy and light and life itself.

Our photographer Barbara Veiga managed to capture a particular moment where the curtains phosphoresce in a shimmering green and purple mantle above the dark polar sea and the sillouette of the ship's forecastle It was truly like the icing on the cake to experience this just as we push through rolling swells toward a rendezvous with the Bob Barker somewhere to the NE of us and make our way into port to celebrate a hugely successful and inspiring campaign in Antarctica

I look forward to catching with everyone and getting back into the waves

 

Howie Cooke         Surfers for Cetaceans, Sea Shepherd

 

not enough time to do everything

plenty of time to do anything

just enough time to do something

A message from S4C's Howie Cooke on Operation No Compromise

By:Howie Cooke Published:21st February 2011

"hello to everyone on this S4C site ..there hasn't always been much opportunity to write into cyberspace while on this Sea Shepherd campaign down here in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary but it is great to see all the support here and at Sea Shepherd pages for what has become a historic victory for the whales. The sudden departure of the Japanese whaling fleet, essentially an expulsion by Neptune's Navy, validates the unwavering vision and courage of Captain Paul Watson for taking direct action to protect Whales and their oceanic world. Paul Watson has set a great precedent in standing strong by his principles and implementing a blueprint for future generations to safeguard the natural world that not only sustains us and gives true meaning and inspiration to our lives, but also upholds the right of all sentient beings to freedom and respect.

 It is a great honour to serve in Neptune's Navy and once again this a shout out to the wider surfing, sailing and diving communities around the world to support Sea Shepherd and at the same time organise themselves into becoming powerful voices, directly active for our precious ocean and her inhabitants. Us saltwater slaves should actually be the masters of marine management and stand firm with our global collective power to see the sea and her people safeguarded.

not enough time to do everything

plenty of time to do anything

just enough time to do something"

Japan Recalls Whaling Fleet

By:MARTIN FACKLER Published:18th February 2011
SSCS harrasses whalers

TOKYO — Japan will cut short this year’s annual whale hunt in the Antarctic Ocean after obstruction by an environmental group largely prevented its ships from killing whales, the government said Friday.

The Agriculture Ministry, which runs Japan’s widely criticized research whaling program, said harassment by the group, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, had kept its catch far below its annual target of whales. A spokesman for the ministry said on Friday that 170 minke whales and two fin whales had been caught this season, far below the annual targets of 850 minke and 50 fin.

The recall of Japan’s fleet is the first time that environmentalists have succeeded in cutting short the annual hunts, which Japan says are necessary for scientific research. Critics say the hunts are an effort to evade a global moratorium on commercial whaling.

Friday’s announcement was welcomed by Sea Shepherd, which is based in Washington State. In a statement on its Web site, the group said three of its ships would remain in the Southern Ocean to “escort” the Japanese fleet northward.

In recent years, Sea Shepherd has sent ships to the Antarctic to block Japan’s whaling fleet, turning the hunts into a game of cat-and-mouse that has received increasing media attention. The environmentalists try to block the Japanese by tangling the ships’ propellers with ropes or putting their own vessels in between the whalers and their quarry.

The ministry said the group had harassed the Japanese ships by shining laser beams to temporarily blind crew members and throwing flares onto the whaling vessels. Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano told reporters on Friday that the decision to recall the fleet was made to ensure the safety of the crews and ships.

The ministry said its whaling fleet had often been able to simply outrun the environmentalists. It could not do so this year because Sea Shepherd had faster vessels, the government said.

Japanese newspapers reported that there had been resistance to cutting short the hunt for fear of appearing to cave in to pressure from foreign environmentalists.

Domestic critics have called the program an anachronism, because private fishing companies have dropped out under international pressure and the demand for whale meat is declining. Few Japanese eat whale anymore, and the meat from the hunt has piled up in freezers, or been given to children for school lunches.

Makiko Inoue contributed reporting.

Japan whalers suspend hunt, may end mission early

By:By Frank Zeller, AFP Published:16th February 2011
SSCS harrasses Yishan Maru

 

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese whalers have suspended their Antarctic hunt, citing harassment by environmentalists, and are considering ending their annual mission early, a fisheries agency official said on Wednesday.

Activists from the US-based militant environmental group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have pursued the Japanese fleet for months to stop its harpoon ships from killing the giant sea mammals.

Japanese Fisheries Agency official Tatsuya Nakaoku said the factory ship "the Nisshin Maru, which has been chased by Sea Shepherd, has suspended operations since February 10 so as to ensure the safety" of the crew.

"We are now studying the situation, including the possibility of cutting the mission early," he told AFP, confirming media reports, but stressed that "nothing has been decided at this point".

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, confirmed the temporary suspension and said the "Sea Shepherd's repeated sabotage is extremely deplorable", Kyodo News reported.

The Jiji Press news agency said, without naming sources, that the government was considering calling the fleet home earlier than the usual end of the annual expeditions, which would be in mid-March.

Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) Television also said "the government is judging the situation so dangerous that it may cause casualties, and preparing to call back the fleet and ending the research whaling earlier than usual".

A TBS newscaster added: "If the government does call back the fleet it would mean giving in to anti-whaling activists, which would affect other research whaling missions. The government will have to make a difficult decision."

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson, speaking to AFP by satellite phone, gave a cautious welcome to the reports and confirmed that the Nisshin Maru was now sailing in waters far from the hunting area.

"If that's true then it demonstrates that our tactics, our strategies have been successful," Watson said from his ship, the Steve Irwin.

"I don't think they've gotten more than 30 whales... certainly they haven't got many whales at all."

Sea Shepherd activists have harassed whalers in recent years, moving their ships and inflatable and speed boats between the harpoon vessels and the sea mammals, and throwing stink and paint bombs at the whaling ships.

Watson was reluctant to claim victory but said that "every whale saved is a victory to us, so we've gotten a lot of victories down here this year".

Another anti-whaling group, the US-based International Fund for Animal Welfare, said it welcomed the reports, in emailed comments from Patrick Ramage, director of IFAW's Global Whale Programme.

"We hope this is a first sign of Japanese government decision-makers recognizing there is no future for whaling in the 21st century and that responsible whale watching, the only genuinely sustainable use of whales, is now the best way forward for a great nation like Japan," he said.

Japan kills hundreds of whales a year under a loophole in a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling that allows "lethal research".

The government has long defended the practice as part of the island-nation's culture and makes no secret of the fact that the meat ends up in restaurants.

Anti-whaling nations, led by Australia and New Zealand, and environmental groups call the hunts cruel and unnecessary.

Greenpeace has long argued the state-financed whale hunts are a waste of taxpayers' money, producing excess stockpiles of whale meat.

Junichi Sato, an anti-whaling campaigner at Greenpeace, said the group had information that the fleet would indeed return home early because Japan is already burdened with excess stocks of whale meat.

"Given the excessive stockpiles, they are economically troubled," he told AFP, noting that the factory ship is not big enough to carry the hunt's target number of up to 1,000 whales.

"Harassment has been cited as the reason, but really this is about Japan's internal situation."

S4C Co-Founder aboard SSCS ship for Operation No Comprimise...

By:Howie Cooke Published:3rd December 2010

S4C international director and co-founder Howie Cooke has joined this year's Sea Shepherd Antarctic campaign- Operation No Compromise... Some 90 crew from 17 countries, on three vessels - the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker and the fast interceptor trimaran Gojira - have left Tasmania headed south into Australian Antarctic waters to defend whales from being attacked by the Japanese whaling fleet contravening the internationally sanctioned Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Surfers for Cetaceans not only commends Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd crews for their direct efforts to protect the whales but also calls on surfers and the surf media and industry worldwide to use their collective influence, right and responsibility to word up and take action on behalf of our cetacean family and friends.

Surfers, sailors and divers, without exception we are sure, recognise that dolphins and whales are our fun loving Oceanic kin deserving total freedom, full protection and our unequivocal solidarity. We will be dispatching updates from the Sea Shepherd operation whenever possible.

Follow everything here or check out Sea Shepherd's website at  www.seashepherd.org for more information.

S4C's "Where There's A Wall There's A Whale" gets under way!

By: Published:20th November 2010
Whale and Child by Howie Cooke

S4C members Howie Cooke and Chris Del Moro have been quite busy lately painting murals around the world to bring awareness to the cause. Howie has been on tour with Sea Shepherd lately and has done some unbelievable murals on his travels. Chris just did a trip up to San Francisco to paint an awesome mural on a newly rebuilt school in Ocean Beach. Enjoy the photos. More to come...

Chris Del Morro with latest Whale Mural Howies Dolphins Chris Del Morro happy to sign this beautiful piece

Andy Irons 1978-2010

By:Justin Krumb Published:5th November 2010
RIP Andy

ANDY IRONS 1978-2010

When the news broke of the death of 3x World Surfing Champion Andy Irons, the surfing community to let out a collective gasp. We seem like so many different surfers spread throughout the world but at times like this its like losing one of your own... Thats how we feel at S4C about Andy's passing. We asked Co-founder Dave Rastovich, who has spent a fair bit of time with Andy over the years, to give us some insight at this difficult time, please see them below.

It's also worth noting the last time I saw Rasta and Andy together (a few months back) the majority of their short conversation was about S4C's efforts and Andy's interest in supporting that. He was genuinely stoked on what had been accomplished and understood how his celebrity could help us in the future, offering it whenever we needed. To Andy he was just another surfer standing up for our sea but for us it meant so much more. Mahalo Andy rest easy...

Justin Krumb
S4C International Director


RASTA ON ANDY IRONS

What a moment this is.  Strange to have mortality reach out and grab AI, one who seemed to be so far beyond deaths door when repeatedly paddling into behemoth waves, yet now he is gone.  Doesn't quite seem right that he died inland so far from the sea.   But hey, he was never a conformist and one to do things the way we all expected.

Bright flames often burn briefly, and AI was a wild fire of a man.  I feel blessed to have spent a good deal of time with him and shared many laughs, solo surfs together, and the occasional quiet moment reflecting on how crazy our lives are... surfing around the world and living so abundantly with so many great experiences already acquired.   His life will long be remembered as one lived whole heartedly with 100% conviction, unrivalled surfing skill, fun and love of the sea.    

injoy riding the long wave Andy.

dave

WORLD CHAMPION SURFER KELLY SLATER OPPOSES DOLPHIN SLAUGHTER

By:Deborah Bassett Published:15th October 2010
Paul Watson and Kelly Slater

S4C editors note- This story ran a few days ago just before Kelly went out and won the Rip Curl Pro contest in Peniche, Protugal virtually assuring a tenth world title (Good luck Kelly!). Peniche is an S4C stronghold in Europe with good support from the locals. A little trip around town will find a few whale murals done by the S4C crew and just the right vibe from the community. We are stoked to see pro surfing supporting Portugal and the local people supporting the protection of whales and dolphins. Enjoy...

WORLD CHAMPION SURFER KELLY SLATER OPPOSES DOLPHIN SLAUGHTER

When it comes to surfing, there is one name that dominates; Kelly Slater. Yet the nine time world champion who has recently been dubbed the number one competitive athlete across the board possesses more than the skill, grace, focus and stamina of a warrior athlete; he also shares a profound connection to his liquid arena and a deep concern for the cetacean inhabitants that reside within. I was both stoked and grateful when the often reserved Slater openly shared his reflections with me regarding the Japanese dolphin slaughter that sadly claimed yet another innocent thirteen lives earlier Monday afternoon. Spoken as a true Ocean ambassador, he writes:

"I am highly against the killings because of my affinity for oceanic creatures. I've ridden waves with countless dolphins and they are such graceful and peaceful mammals. We don't know the levels of intelligence and communications they have, we're only scratching the surface on it. I could not imagine killing something like that. "

As someone who spends the majority of his time ripping perfect waves across the planet, Kelly is certainly no stranger to interacting with people's of various cultural traditions. However he makes no qualms about condemning Japan's diluted justifications for the annual dolphin slaughter and illegal commercial whaling activities, to which he refers as "a ridiculous practice and tradition." He states:

"When you travel the world year 'round, you come in contact with many different cultures. You start to realize that people do things you never thought possible or necessary yet somehow make sense to them for either traditional reasons or social pressures. They are not needed as food, are potentially very unhealthy due to mercury levels, and at this point we have traversed the knowledge necessary for 'scientific purposes' of killing them."

As part of the surfing crew that took part in the paddle out ceremony led by Dave Rastovich and Surfers for Cetaceans in 2007 that would later become a scene in the recent Academy Award winning documentary film, The Cove, I was impressed by Kelly's support of his fellow surfer's mission after lending him a copy of the film early last year. "I think it's great. Rasta's brought awareness and visibility to a lot of people around the world. The issues have been raised and can't be ignored now even more so," he told me in a follow up e-mail correspondence and even mentioned the possibility of traveling to Taiji himself to oppose the annual atrocity.

Unfortunately, there is no time like the present. Earlier today, reports began flooding in from the front lines that the infamous killing coves once again shamefully ran red with cetacean blood. Up until now this year's hunting season has been substantially less active than years past, largely in part due to the collaboration of activist groups on the ground to defend the 'homeland' and from the recent outpouring of media support in Tokyo. However the fisherman of Taiji once again turned this otherwise serene coastal village into a disgraceful butcher shop as they resumed business as usual while the concerned eyes of the world continue to watch on in sheer horror and disbelief. Adds Slater:

"I don't understand the need for it or the idea behind it but I do know that when the cameras are on these 'fishermen' they are not proud of the 'job' they're doing and don't want any of it to be made public. There is an inhumanity to this, as there is to war, but there is a conscience in every one of those guys who is doing it."
Australian actress and passionate dolphin and whale defender Isabel Lucas, who was also part of our 2007 surfing ceremony to honor the thousands of lives lost throughout the decades and help expose this critical issue quickly chimed in when she learned of the recent reports of this year's bloodbath. She writes:

It is heartbreaking to realize that the Taiji dolphin kills are still happening as we speak. Hundreds of Dolphin and whale families are being exterminated in the name of an outdated tradition and human greed. What is even harder to comprehend is that the meat is filled with heavy metal toxins and mercury poison, and is completely unfit for human consumption. We need to band together as caring human beings to end the slaughter, and protect humans from poisoned meat. I urge everyone to put pressure on the Japanese government to end this practise, and to support direct action groups such as Sea Shepherd and Save Japan Dolphins.
According to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Founder, Paul Watson, "The sea teaches us so much and it is the responsibility of surfers to communicate these teachings to humanity." In a previous interview conducted for Surfer Magazine, he further encouraged surfers to take a more active role in the protection of the world's oceans and all the marine life that reside within. He eloquently states:

"Listen to the ocean, listen to the whispers in the waves and surf where your heart leads you, let the ocean speak through you and do everything within your power to protect her majesty the sea from the ignorance and arrogance of humanity. Kelly has said that the ocean has spoken to him as it has spoken to me and many others. He understands what it means to be a moanahepara -- a shepherd of the sea."

Slater, a long time supporter of Sea Shepherd further adds:

"I believe the dolphin killings are a chance for everyone to sit back and become aware of what impact their lives have on the world around them. I hope for change in a lot of things happening in my own life and in the world around me and this one is at the top. Hopefully, with enough visibility and education to the people involved, there can be a complete stop to this ridiculous practice/tradition."

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Join the October 14th Annual Save Japan Dolphins demonstration in a town near you.

Sign the petition at Take Part. 2 million people and growing strong. Watch the celebrity PSA here.

Join the Visual Petition, an ongoing action campaign from Surfers for Cetaceans and Minds in the Water with over 10,000 participants including Kelly Slater and numerous other surfers and celebrity activists and concerned citizens from around the world.

Check the Sea Shepherd website for up to date information from the "Cove Guardians" on the daily happenings in Taiji.

Watch The Cove. Spread the word. Pass it On.

Call and write your local Japanese Embassy to voice your concerns on the issues.

Follow Deborah Bassett on Twitter: www.twitter.com/debstact

Surfers Paddle Out - w/ Dave Rastovich

LISBON'S JAPAN DOLPHIN DAY PROTEST

By:S4C Europe & Chicks With Sticks Published:14th October 2010
Chicks With Sticks

JAPANESE EMBASSY, LISBON, PORTUGAL
14th OCTOBER 2010
NATALIE FOX


LISBON’S JAPAN DOLPHIN DAY PROTEST - Transcript

INTRODUCTION


Today is a very special day; it is a day activists around the world are uniting as a voice for the whales and dolphins of Japan; and for all humans opposed the capture and killing of whales and dolphins in Japan to join together in their defence.

Maybe one protest might not make a difference, but a network of demonstrations have been organised; starting in Miami; and reaching across all countries and continents. Together we are hoping to get the message across.

PROPOSAL


We are also here to represent organisations such as Surfers 4 Cetaceans, Ocean Activists United, Chicks with Sticks and Save Japan dolphins, and all groups and individuals who oppose the capture and killing of cetaceans in Taiji, Japan.


This week sees the WCT surf contest; the Ripcurl Pro in Peniche. Surfers and dolphins are intrinsically linked to the ocean, with both riding nature’s swells and currents. Here are some of the world’s best surfers; who are in support of our campaign:


We are here to propose that the practices as seen in “The Cove” be stopped. If you are not familiar with the Academy Award winning documentary, here’s is a copy.


After our proposal we will be carrying out a peaceful demonstration to raise awareness and show our solidarity with the dolphins and whales of Japan. As they have no voice in modern day politics, we are here to represent them and speak up for these cetaceans that deserve to live peacefully and have the right to freedom.


We propose an end to all killing of all cetaceans by the Taiji fishermen.

We are aware that no bottlenose dolphins have been killed in Taiji so far this season. But risso dolphins and pilot whales have been murdered.


We propose an end to the capture of all cetaceans with the intent of selling them into slavery and transported into an unnatural life of captivity in dolphinariams around the world.


What is the alternative to the dolphin trade, the massacre and the meat full of mercury finding it’s way onto Japan’s supermarket shelves?

LEAVING THE WHALES AND DOLPHINS ALONE!


However radical this is, it supports a positive step forwards, and could support a crossover towards eco tourism in the form of whale and dolphin tours. In the words of Paul MacCartney “No one wants to see people out of work, particularly in these recessionary times, so an alternative way of making a living has to be found. Nowadays, there is a real alternative to whale slaughter – whale watching. I believe that well organised whale watching will provide a perfectly acceptable method of making money for whaling communities. It will also offer an opportunity for the people of the world to learn about these great creatures and to experience them living wild and free in their natural environment.”


Thanks to The Cove the secret in Taiji is out, and now the world is watching. Japan has truly disappointed and horrified it’s own, and other nations with it’s treatment of cetaceans… but it is never too late, there is a chance to rectify this situation yet until there is change we will continue to campaign, petition, protest, demonstrate and stand up for all cetaceans in the world until complete change has been implemented.

S4C Europe & Chicks With Sticks

Japan Dolphin Day Cetacean Freedom

Surfing With Friends.

By:Liz Clark Published:20th September 2010
Surfing with Friends

Nothing beats a spontaneous session with friends...After deciding to come back to California for a few weeks, I set off on a 22-hour passage from Tahiti's outer islands to get Swell where she could be tied safely to a dock while I was away. Partway through a nauseating scavenge through my icebox at dusk, I peeked out of the hatch to scan the horizon. Large lumps of following seas lifted, shifted, and swirled behind Swell's stern and for the first time all day, the movement of something other than water caught my attention. A school of bottlenose dolphins suddenly leapt from a swell face in unison a hundred yards behind us. Over and over they breached the glowing surface in extended, airborne bounds. Their exaggerated trajectories seemed to produce a liberating burst of forward progress through the wrinkled, churning sea surface and soon we were all united there, like long-lost friends, among open ocean in every direction. Swell's hull surfed down the 10-12ft swells while her newfound company bounded again and again from the same wave faces in high arcs--squealing, twisting, spinning, and cris-crossing around us. Their robust bodies shimmered in a glaze of sundown pinks as they'd torpedo out of a wave together, then charge up to the bow for more flips and speed jukes and then circle back to do it again.

I heard a crash down in the cabin. The milewy head of cabbage, knife, and cutting board had launched onto the galley floor. I jumped to my feet but left the mess for later, unhooked the helm from the self-steering vane and took the wheel to better maneuver my 40-foot surfboard alongside my new surf buddies. Bracing my feet against the sides of the cockpit floor, I gripped the wheel, and trimmed into the pockets of the endless open ocean waves. We surfed together until night had crept in from the east, and the pod turned and continued north, disappearing as quickly as they'd arrived. I bid them safe travels, gave the steering duties back to my faithful windvane, and met that busted head of cabbage on the floor with newfound optimism.

TAIJI DOLPHIN DRIVES BEGIN AGAIN

By:Howie Cooke Published:3rd September 2010

Surfers for Cetaceans once again calls on the Government of Japan to bring an immediate end to all cetacean capture and killing.

The international community is watching in horror and dismay as the capture and slaughter of dolphins and small cetaceans in Japan's coastal waters has once again commenced in Taiji bay and elsewhere.

Surfers around the world see dolphins as fellow surfing best friends and ocean kin and of one accord cannot countenance willful harm against cetaceans and other marine mammals.

Dolphins are re-known for their joyful intelligent interaction with each other and with humans, often coming to the aid of a swimmer or sailor in distress. It is incomprehensible that any person could harm, constrain or kill such a beautiful being who so consistently offers unconditional friendship.

S4C has visited the notorious Cove of Taiji to hold surfers ceremonial respect for all the dolphins who have suffered and died so needlessly there, and to highlight not only the cruel killings but also the heartless kidnapping of dolphins to sell to profit-driven captive marine mammal seaquariums around the world.

Surfers for Cetaceans calls on the Government of Japan to turn all this misery-for-money around and embrace the new global compassion for cetaceans and the benefits created widely by supporting whale-watch enterprises and the related tourism that will naturally follow.

The different species of dolphins and whales in Japan's waters need immediate protection and recognition as national living treasures and marine icons of Japan.
They are, after all, already international living treasures and Japan should in fact be the vigilant and proud caretaker of them.

S4C congratulates Ric O'Barry, Sea Shepherd and all the crew holding the line right now in Taiji for the dolphins…

S4C Global

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

By:Howie Cooke Published:31st August 2010
Marine Icon of the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands tourist brochures don’t mention surf or whales. So what the hell are Nat and I doing here?

Rolling along on a grey sea under grey clouds toward ethereal grey islands we seem to be on a trajectory to the end of the Earth.

Wasn’t it only yesterday Natalie Fox of Chicks with Sticks and I were hanging out in Morocco after meeting at the IWC in Agadir? A small crew of us voicing up for whales and flying the flag for Sea Shepherd and Surfers for Cetaceans.

We scattered to the four winds that blew me onto the deck of the Steve Irwin for a month in the Mediterranean and then onto a plane with Nat, out of London to Aberdeen to catch the overnight ferry to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.

To find this ship, the Golfo Azzurro. A sleek retrofitted trawler 43 metres in length commissioned by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to interfere with or prevent the notorious Grind of the Faroese.

You know it. It’s the persistent bloodbath massacre of beautiful Pilot whales driven into bays by crazed Faroese males in speedboats slashing and stabbing our cetacean friends. A medieval horror show of goblins and trolls in a bloodlust frenzy, killing the angels of the sea. Razor-gangs slamming blades and big hooks into the Pilots and dragging them, thrashing in screaming agony, up rocky shores to slice their heads off.

Blood everywhere, bays full of blood, stomachs slashed open and entrails spilled out along docks. Eviscerated pregnant mothers with their unborn children and placentas hacked out by young boys wielding knives. Mothers and daughters of the Sea savagely slaughtered on Mother Earth.
This is real hero stuff. Ripping the wings off butterflies.

The womenfolk looking on must be really proud of their boys and the fathers setting such a great example of cowardice, hatred and misogyny. And then when the whales are silenced and all dead and cold, the goblins fill up tip-trucks and dump the corpses to rot. Meeting up and bonding all over again at church the following Sunday is the next big thing to look forward to. One wonders for whom the bell tolls.

Jesus Christ. Where the fuck is he then? Surely it is the Devil who has a taken up residency here, sucking blood straight out of the ground.

Looking at the isolated hamlets dwarfed by the sweeping desolate plains, plunging waterfalls and towering cliffs rising up into perpetual cloud it is easy to think that the Faroese are completely lost in the fog. There is a cold shroud of shame and loneliness of spirit wrapped around these islands of ferocious beauty. Sullenly seeping down the steep slopes into the sweet chalets and schools. Spreading out across the harbours in a blanket of misery. Curling in a spectral wraith around the church belfries.

No amount of righteous hymns sung in humble piety will ever cleanse the Faroese flock of this dark genocide. It has been etched into the modern history of human misadventure as surely as every other crusade of cruelty justified with parochial religious certainty.

Who are these Pilot whales so ruthlessly despised in this faraway skeleton of bony islands? Globicephalus melaena. With their black round heads, nearly six metres long, sleek and shiny black with lovely long white belly stripes. They are a gracious tribe of the greater orca dolphin clan, a happy ocean crew in elegant tuxedo wetsuits.

So why do the Faroese at large, despise the Pilot whales?

There must be someone here against the Grind, but entire villages of up to a thousand people will gather to viciously obliterate a pod of Pilots in their harbour, so the big question is why do the Faroese so utterly despise the Pilots whales? Why are they squandering a potentially great friendship that would be celebrated most anywhere else in the world? Did they run out of creative ideas a long time ago? Have they gotten so comfortable in their centrally-heated chalets and their payouts from Denmark that they are bored out of their minds and smashing the Pilot whales is an adrenalin boosting antidote to cabin fever?

Testosterone ghouls on a murderous rush of machismo violence, boasting to each other and the kiddies? A desperate yearning to be rampaging Vikings again? Or is it just all about loathing their own mothers and themselves, by another name?

It’s a bewildering question to answer, certainly not unique just to the Faroes…a fierce pride that in the name of tradition, doggedly defends the right to destroy instead of defend a great natural association and communion. Manifesting twisted science and bullshit population figures to bolster tissue-paper-thin cants blaming marine mammals for the massive loss of fish so obviously vacuumed out of the sea by relentless round-the-clock commercial trawling.

Why the Faroese aren’t fiercely protective of the whales in this new age of global cultural exchange and wild-nature tourism is a mystery. Whale watching would certainly be a major draw card to the region, but will there be any whales left anyway with tribe after tribe are being annihilated?

Behind the numbers game, the reality is a ruthless genocide of cetacean society. Ancient bloodlines terminated, tribes dispersed and families shattered, leaving traumatised orphaned children of the sea without their parents, siblings and cousins.

For all their innate joyfulness, forbearance and offers of friendship to humans, the Pilot whales are being ground into oblivion.

Maybe seals too? That’s a whole other issue, but where are the seals? We have only seen one so far. And no Pilot whales, not one. Actually no fish either, just a lot of big fishing trawlers and beautiful arctic shearwaters, gliding off our stern disappointed by our vegan scraps.

Despite all its austere North Atlantic grandeur, this place is starting to feel like one big marine graveyard.

So here we are, fifteen of us from eleven countries with one common goal. If at all possible, to keep whales out of the bays and stop the Grind.

It has become a mission where whales are only noticeable by their conspicuous absence.

The Faroese notice us however wherever we turn up, and we are subject to several boardings by Customs and Police officers, including a protracted rummage throughout the ship, and being shadowed by a Danish warship.

It was a relief to give up our “bird watching” story, and run up Sea Shepherd and Bardot flags I had made from a bed sheet and ship’s paint.

The locals started to show signs of agitation as the Golfo patrolled throughout the islands, and often we drifted at night to be able to avoid any more boardings. As we went from inlet to inlet we laced them with experimental acoustic deflection devices in the hope of persuading the whales to stay out of the bays.

The cold wet foggy weather persisted. Neither Pilot whales nor a Grind eventuated. We really did begin to wonder if the Pilots even exist any more in this gutted sea. Only a gruesome scene straight from Hell. A watery mass grave of rotting bodies and blanched heads and tails dumped from tiptrucks over the cliffs into the sea below.

Natalie had managed to buy a 6’4” three-finned Fish while we were in Lerwick and come high water or hell, waves or not, she was up for getting into the cold grey-green sea and showing surfers opposition to the Grind, and support for the beleaguered Pilots of the Faroes.

So one day when the sun broke through the clouds briefly, Johnny the first mate, Simon the bosun photographer, Nat and i took the orange zodiac for a spin so Nat could paddle out above the abyss beneath huge walls of ornately patterned granite, treasure-trove caverns and circling seabirds.

In this moment we felt the sheer beauty of the land with her enfolded feminine forms and curving terrestrial lines rising out of the life-giving ocean. It was a stirring sight to see a lone young woman on her surfboard out in the deep, vulnerable, determined and flying the banner for Pilot whales as the marine Icon of the Faroes Islands.

Across the way the famous ‘Trolls finger’ pointed straight at the sky.

Probably where the Faroese have decided Heaven must be.

It sure isn’t here in the bays or the shores where the Pilot whale families are murdered in a barbaric baptism of bloodletting.

It sure isn’t here in the sea where their pretty heads rot amongst broken bones and gristle, their elegant tuxedoes bleached as white as the window frames of the pretty chalets, as white as a newly pressed shirt for church, as white as the pages of a tourist brochure.

If the Faroese have made a pact with the Devil to destroy the Angels of the Sea and have dispensed with Heaven on Earth, then it is Denmark and the European Union that need to deal with these recalcitrant wannabe Vikings, and bring them to the modern world. Denmark would defend her Little Mermaid in Copenhagen as rigorously as any oilfield in the North Sea, so why not the little mermaids of the Faroe Islands.

In an era where cetaceans are finally being recognised and celebrated all around the world for the great nation they truly are, it would be entirely appropriate, even if belatedly, for the Faroe Island Pilot whales to be formally declared international living treasures under the guardianship of the European Union.

Surf, dive, and sail media around the world, need to do whatever we can to defend the whales and dolphins in this one big shared ocean, anytime, anywhere, including being an unequivocal unified voice in support of cetaceans to the surf media, and to the world media outside the International Whaling Commission each year.

We came to help the Pilot whales. We never saw even one. Not alive anyway.

We never heard them singing sweetly, holding their children close in deep blue light.

We just heard lonely church bells ringing out sadly across the still silent water.

Howie Cooke, Co-founder of Surfers for Cetaceans (S4C), somewhere in the North Sea.

For additional info visit:
http://www.fondationbrigittebardot.fr
http://www.seashepherd.org/
http://www.chickswithsticks.org.uk/

Natalie Fox of Chicks with Sticks

Third Annual Marine Mammal Surf Festival

By:NOR CAL SURF SHOP Published:12th July 2010
Marine Mammal Flyer

On July 24th 2010 Nor-Cal Surf Shop will host the Third Annual Marine Mammal Surf Festival to raise awareness of the mass slaughtering of dolphins and whales in Japan, Norway and Iceland. All money raised will be given back to Dave Rastovich’s non-profit organization, Surfers for Cetaceans.
 
Vie for the trophy (as seen in the latest Surfers Journal) by entering your own 4 person team. Name your team and sign up through NorCal Surf Shop by bringing in or mailing the entry form attached with your payment enclosed to ensure your slot in the event.

We are asking for 50 dollars per competitor for the unique chance to give back to what we all love by saving dolphins and whales from cruel slaughter in their own habitat. 
 
In lieu of entering the competition, donations of any amount would be greatly appreciated. Go to www.s4cglobal.org to make a contribution and for more information on the fight against dolphin and whale slaughter.
 
Come down to the beach and enjoy the day.  Hope to see you there!

 
3 DIVISIONS:
 
     SHORTBOARD TEAM COMPETITION:   ($50.00 Entry per Member) 4 PERSON TEAM
     GROMS 6-15 yrs    (FREE entry)
     TEAM LONGBOARD all ages men & women   ($50.00 Entry Per Member) 4 PERSON TEAM
     SUP BATTLE ROYAL ($50.00 Entry Per Member) 2 PERSON TEAM
 
EVENTS:
  
     MENEHUNE SURF CAMP boards and wetsuits provided if needed, water supervision by experienced surfers at all times
     LIVE MUSIC
     RAFFLE    (All proceeds from raffle donated to Surfer's for Cetaceans)
     DONATION & INFO TABLE
     FOOD by GORILLA BARBEQUE
     AFTER PARTY AT THE PEDRO POINT FIREHOUSE : FEATURED BANDS: THE THRASHERS, MACHETE FIGHT, RHYME RELATED, THE REEF RIDERS
 
ORGANIZING SPONSOR:
 
NOR CAL SURF SHOP
5460 COAST HWY 
PACIFICA, CA 94044
(650) 738-9283 X 2
650-738-2895 FAX
 
FOR MORE INFO PLEASE CONTACT:
SHAWN RHODES @ NOR CAL
(650) 738-9283 X2
PUBLIC RELATIONS:
BOB LEONELLI

Marine Mammal Entry Form

IWC (62) Just enough time to do something

By:Howie Cooke Published:9th July 2010
Howie Cooke

The important thing to note about the IWC is that although it exists as the singularly peak agency invested with the power to make decisions on the fate of Cetaceans, and is therefore perceived by many in the world as a competent institution acting in the name of conservation, the IWC is in fact a mostly dysfunctional process lacking in any real authority to uphold protection decrees made on behalf of whales.

This is in no small part due to the IWC's original charter back in 1946 when many of the great whales were being relentlessly blasted into extinction. The IWC's intention of creating some restraint to merely maintain a ruthlessly cruel commercial hunt into the future now lies at complete odds with the wish of the world at large to see that whales and dolphins are given their right to oceanic freedom.

Unfortunately year in and year out, despite the efforts of many countries speaking up on behalf of whales, non-lethal science and international whale-watch enterprises, and despite the declaration of sanctuaries, specific species protection listings and trading bans, the sullen killing continues unabated.

Whaling should have been wound down out of existence by the end of the 19th Century in fact, instead of being escalated by human greed into the 20th. Yet we here we are in the 21st Century, in a new interconnected global community, fully aware of our precariously balanced place in a now seriously compromised global ecology, still having to deal with this selfish brutal assault on the benign big hearted keepers of the sea. A noble and ancient race that despite the genocide and trauma we are still inflicting on them, somehow keep on offering us friendship and trust.
 
It is notably three recalcitrant countries Japan, Norway and Iceland which are betraying this friendship and trust instead of helping forge a unified International Whale Celebration event each year, wherein the world could respectfully honour the Cetaceans and in fact take the time to respectfully apologize to them as well.
 
The world must not be fooled by apparently successful outcomes at the IWC into thinking whales are being saved there. Despite the best efforts of so many dedicated NGOs, veteran campaigners, researchers and whale-watch operators, the harsh reality is that the whales are NOT being saved there…

* Not while the blood boats and the factory ship of Japan return each Antarctic summer to slaughter whales in the IWC declared Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. In the name of IWC sanctioned 'science'.
* Not when Norway, despite any objection at the IWC, sneaks up on pregnant Minke whales and shoots them in the back.
* Not while Iceland murders the endangered Fin whale, globally protected by the IWC.
* Not when so called 'small cetaceans' dont even rate a mention at the IWC.
* Not when the tens of thousands of Dalls porpoises massacred every year in Japan don’t warrant consideration by the IWC, despite this being the biggest single slaughter of Cetaceans in the world.
* Not while dolphins herded into the bays of Taiji in Japan or Sandi in the Faroes to be stabbed and slashed, are ignored at the IWC.
* Not while the foetuses torn from their mothers' wombs are excluded from the counts declared at the IWC.
* Not while dolphins, incarcerated in concrete tanks, suffering a miserable decline into early death at the hands of commercial enslavement entertainment agencies, are not on the agenda of the IWC.

And on and on it goes, a catalogue of corruption issues such as bribery, usually in form of cash and prostitutes, conditional overseas development 'aid', false data along with filibuster tactics, trade-offs and ambit claims to divide the like-minded, stall process and block important agenda items. A litany of obstructions wherein high level scientific committee conservation recommendations are roundly ignored, infractions thrown into the too-hard basket, NGO 'civil society' contribution in a week long meeting  limited to 3 speakers at 10 minutes each, whaling delegation walk-outs (as in IWC Berlin 03) and the chairman at this recent IWC in Morocco, declaring a 2 day recess within hours of the conference opening!

And although in Greenland many whales killed every year under “aboriginal license” end up on little plastic trays in supermarket freezers, a new permit, was issued this year, a death warrant on 9 Humpback whales, globally “protected” Humpbacks, along with 19 of their “endangered” Fin whale friends.

Nice words, same catastrophe. Alongside erudite gems from whaling delegates, such as "Minkes are cockroaches of the sea" (Japan); "Minke whales are rats of the ocean" (Norway). Stupid words same catastrophe. The same disregard for life manifests twisted claims in the name of tradition and outdated practices, to justify defying global contemporary shared cultural compassion and Earthcare.

The fact is, you could spend a day inside the plenary room listening to all the blah and not ever know what the hell is being discussed ... the magnificent Whale reduced to numbers and sub-clauses, stripped of the honour of her warm-blooded beauty and emotions. Separating her from her newborn child, warm milk in the sea. Separating her from her partner singing a hauntingly beautiful and plaintive song in a column of blue light. Reducing her to writhing agony in a sea full of blood and vomit, her child a traumatised orphan, an utter disrespect of great Ocean Mother. At the Alaska IWC 07 a smirking Norwegian whaling delegate said 'lets not have this discussion descend into a story about the cute and cuddly'.

The daily broadsheet ECO put out by Earth Island Institute crew at the IWC helps bring the perspective back to the whales, clarify the issues and highlight the Whalers fabrications and distortions. Outside the conference centre in Agadir the walls were lined with beautiful big photos of smiling happy whales in an ultimate act of subversive hypocrisy to hoodwink the perception of the passing public, where the truth would have instead shown the whales harpooned and eviscerated, enslaved and commoditized.

ECO published a cartoon of an elder whale saying to two horrified youngsters "The good news is that scientists say your mother was in perfect health before she was harpooned. The bad news is that she's now Japanese dog food". The original caption was "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but i'm your last role model". To top it all off, at the end of a week of death warrants issued, and NGOs struggling to hold the line, whale killing countries can simply declare disagreement with an edict and arrogantly walk out of the IWC back to their bloody business as usual, with only the Sea Shepherd navy in effect taking direct intervention action to stop them and uphold natural sanity.

The IWC is effective in bringing the world's attention briefly to the plight of the whales but unfortunately not in ending the blight of whaling, once and for all.
 
So in the end, it comes down to every one of us doing something and drawing together to overwhelm the dark heartlessness arraigned against the whales and dolphins, the marine mammals, the sea. Even a supposedly small thing of embracing the vegan/vegetarian ideal is a huge contribution to a collective shift away from abuse of the animal kingdom.
 
In whatever way, big or small, unified by heart and light, we have the power and the gift of human goodness to stand up, speak up and change ourselves for the great friendship, communion and care we can share with our oceanic kin.

There are plenty of good examples of people everywhere doing just that as I write...
* 1000 locals and tourists marching and holding silent vigil against dolphin imprisonment in Turkey;
* 30,000 people in Taiwan pledging the money to buy and protect the 200 hectare wetland habitat of the Chinese white dolphin under threat of draining and development;
* A.G. Sano painting 23,000 dolphins on walls throughout the Phillipines After seeing  'the Cove' by tireless dolphin defender Ric O'Barry;
the likes of Sidney Holt, Roger Payne, Jean Paul Gouin, Paul Spong and Mick McIntyre and other longtime campaigners for the whales;
Trish and Wally Franklin of Oceania Project helping initiate the Humpback Icon Project; Paul Watson's courageous defense of the marine world;
* S4C's initiation of the surfers' ceremony with OPS crew at the Cove in Taiji, and the Transparentsea voyage in the company of Austral Humpbacks, calling on Australia to remain strong as a defender of Cetaceans and a gatekeeper to the great Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

In summation, I write as one of the handful of us who stood everyday outside the IWC in Agadir and raised our voices and banners for every whale and dolphin on Planet Ocean. When Iceland's infamous whale killer sneered at us as "only 9 of you" he seriously underestimated how many we really are. We were representing the vast majority of the world and S4C is calling on all surf crew because we are 100% united on this.

If ever we needed a thousand people to turn up outside the next IWC for that one week that the international media throws a spotlight on whales, it is right now. Please recognise you have the right to be there and hold space for our mates in trouble in the sea. Please get it marked on the calendar, gather your friends and bring your surfboards right on in. Your board is your perfect banner of support for the dolphins and it is your statement of your personal and collective authority. The same holds true of dive crew and your dive gear, sailors and your jenny, bodyboarders and your esky lid…

Surfers For Cetaceans is calling all ocean crew to gather not only wherever we can in support of whales and dolphins, but at the next International Whale Celebration to be held in the same week as the IWC. See you there with your boards in solidarity for total Whale Freedom.

Not enough time to do everything
Plenty of time to do anything
Just enough time to do something

Howie Cooke, S4C Co-founder

S4Cglobal.org    seashepherd.org     whalesalive.org.au    oceania.org.au   savejapandolphins.org  opsociety.org

The Crew Dolphin Skull Howie in action

IWC (62) Taghazout, Morocco

By:Howie Cooke Published:1st July 2010
Agadir Aggro 9

So our crew of 9 exhausted by our daily vigil outside the IWC and in particular this final day of singing it up for the whales in the sun and weathering the harsh darkness of the whale killers, packed up our banners and left Agadir. It was so good to escape back to Taghazout with Natalie and her fellow not-too-fellow Chicks with Sticks and be shot of the city car crush concrete. The plan was to party but we faded with the first cold beer, our faces on fire.
 
Next day Natalie took October and I up the coast to Immensouane a fishing village with more boats than houses and some surf rolling up to an earthenware beach. The gals jumped in while I walked down to the port finding men totally involved in a life among the blue wooden dories, selling and buying freshly caught fish in a boxing ring of eels, octopus, rays and tragically undersize leopard sharks. As a diver who has marveled at these creatures gliding through their natural environment it was heartbreaking to see them still half alive consigned to this desiccated fate. A wooden crate held cuttlefish stacked in rows their beautifully soulful eyes gradually fading with their mottled brown skin, which is in fact their voice when they are swimming in the sea ...the cephalopods wear their skins like radiant cloaks and flash messages to each other in specific glowing colours and patterns.
 
A little cafe on the breakwater had a mural of white lines on blue showing fishermen and fish. I got out my paints and added colour and changed a fish into a dolphin exclaiming S4C!  Surfers for Cephalopods!  One day, one day....
On our way back we stopped to meet flying goats that were being saved from crashing back to earth by gnarled argane trees. It was tempting to yell  "Hey you kids! Get out of those trees now!"  Further along the way at Camel Beach Nat pointed out a rock, which fully looks like a camel kneeling in the sand. I really thought it was a man made sculpture but in fact there was a real one back on Taghazout beach doing the same thing. Life imitating art.
 
And then when I went the next day to photograph some murals on walls of a crumbling factory I discovered lying in amongst the rubble, flotsam and jetsam, and a dolphin skull. It was a real shock, my coming straight on from the IWC where small cetaceans have no voice. It seemed very auspicious to find her there separated from the sea, separated from her body, separated from her family, her tribe, her heritage and suddenly some murals in particular right nearby took on a whole new significance.  There is a man, a watch on his wrist thrusting his hand into his own eye.  I placed the dolphin in front of this image and the symbolism ramped up. As we decimate the animal kingdom and drag the dolphins out of the sea, we humans are attacking ourselves as we all run out of time.
Our world is fading and we turn a blind eye.

Back in the town a school was undergoing refurbishment. I found the principal and proposed a mural for the kids to come back to. Something positive, to see and strive for, a mother humpback and her calf swimming happily together in the sea became a symbol of hope into the future. A day of intense focus and the wall came to life. I hope the whales will survive and flourish again and that humans will find a way to live in harmony with the living planet.

Howie Cooke - Restaurant Mural Taghazout School Mural Taghazout Dolphin Skull

IWC (62) Update

By:Howie Cooke Published:26th June 2010
Avaaz

Well what to say about it all  - the last day ushered in the Greenland quota getting up with a reduction of 1 Humpback so a new species added for next ten years I believe plus 10 Fins, a Death warrant of 19 whales…

UPDATE:

On the last day our group became way more vocal when Chicks with Sticks brought not only their painted up surfboards but an incredibly warped guitar and a small drum to our area near entrance to the IWC.  With the powerful singing of October and Louise thrown into the mix we got a strong groove going and were loud and proud on behalf of the whales of the world becoming loud and angry when we learnt of the signing of a death warrant on 9 Humpback whales (supposedly protected worldwide) and 10 Fins of Greenland waters.

Christine, dressed up in whale colours became a victim of Japan, Iceland and Norway in a theatrical vigil that involved bamboo harpoons and tomato sauce.
The various whaling lobby groups certainly ducked for cover as we maintained the heat on them loudly chanting slogans such as "Conservation not Corruption"  " No Killing No Capture" " Whale Freedom" over an old whaling shanty and  "Wild Thing" with lyrics changed to " we love Minkes, Fins and Humpbacks, no more bloody whaling" or " IWC; Idiots Wasting Cetaceans" and " Love the whales, and the dolphins too, Love the whales, and the ocean blue" "Calling all surfers, calling all divers, calling all sailors.." Someone has to say it … Whales are reduced to dispassionate numbers, tonnage and trading chips on the inside of IWC conference rooms.

And so the meeting limped to an ending in the early afternoon all the energy draining out of it like the life force out a tormented and crippled whale in its final death throes. The protagonists slipped away to their hotel rooms, caught taxis to the airport and for different reasons wondered as they lifted up into the sky, how it had all come to this...yet again. A massively cumbersome and constipated conference that year in and year out sees Government officials and NGOs trying to negotiate a process fraught with devious manipulation and obstruction by the whale killers hell bent on tearing the wings off butterflies as the world watches disappointed and frustrated.

And meanwhile a whole lot of whale families don’t even qualify for consideration at IWC despite the fact that they are being kidnapped and murdered on a grand scale! Consider for a moment the fact that the dolphin slaughter in Japan is actually a commercial hunt, and in particular the Dalls porpoise suffers the largest directed kill of any cetacean in the world with annual estimates as high as 20,000 over the last two decades. The pressure on Dalls populations increased in the mid-80s as the baleen whale catch decreased and as striped dolphin populations in southern Japan crashed due to massive hunting. In 1988 when Japan stopped its coastal commercial hunt on Minke whales, the Dalls catch quadrupled to a record 40,000 plus animals killed.

To quote from a Campaign Whale/EIA pamphlet " in 2008, we learnt of the tragic loss of the Baiji. This serves as the starkest of warnings to IWC member governments that the conservation of all cetaceans, large or small, must be central to the Commission’s future role."

Well don’t hold your breath for that one. Hold your breath as you slip under a wave, on your way back out to another blissful slide across a green or turquoise wall of saltwater… Remember your lil happy mates in their squeaky birthday suits dropping in alongside you on a perfect day. Hold your breath in awe and hold your breath in heartfelt gratitude and remember you are their best hope they have now.
 
Three great young women from Chicks with Sticks made their way to the IWC gabfest in Morocco. Natalie and October came from England, Daisy from New Zealand Nat and Daisy brought their boards, October brought her voice and Nori came from Portugal with her beautiful artwork of whales. Along with four Sea Shepherd crew out of Europe and Louise from NW Australia we were a small band with a big voice but we needed you, with your board.

S4C is calling on surfers and ocean crew everywhere to plan now to be at the next IWC no matter what sort of swell you might miss. Give it to your mates that week… You know them, our best friends, The dolphins… Drop in and stand up for the whales. Too easy… Before it’s too late.
 
Howie Cooke
S4C Co-founder

Howie and Chicks with Sticks Member Chicks with Sticks and S4C Japan and Whale

IWC (62) Part 2 - by Howie Cooke

By:Howie Cooke Published:24th June 2010
Howie Cooke at IWC 62

Howie Cooke of S4C along with Sea Shepherd crew and a few other anti whaling supporters have been maintaining a strong visual and vocal presence outside the conference centre in Agadir, Morocco as the IWC once again staggers to a conclusion with interruptions, extended tea breaks and more allegations of corruption by Japan's whaling lobby. The failure of the so called Deal which would have overturned the Moratorium and reinstated commercial whaling has been a momentary success which however means little to the whales of both the northern and southern hemispheres who continue to be slaughtered by a heavily subsidised industry ruthlessly determined to expand despite worldwide condemnation. S4C and Sea Shepherd remain utterly committed to the quest for total whale and dolphin freedom.

S4C & Sea Shepard Crew Peter Garrett

International Whaling Commission (IWC), 62

By:Mick McIntyre Published:21st June 2010
IWC 2010 Morocco June 21

International Whaling Commission (IWC), 62

FEET ON THE GROUND Part 1

June 21st 2010

Agadir, Morocco

The IWC 62 opened this morning in Agadir, Morocco against a sun-bleached Atlantic Ocean backdrop with local Moroccan dancers. The mood was one of confusion and / or anticipation over the future of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

Some questions:

Will the IWC accept or reject the Chairs compromise proposal (more commonly known as the 10 year whaling free for all)?

Will Australia stay strong in their opposition to this compromise?

Will the USA and NZ continue to sell out the whales by promoting this 10-year whaling deal?

Will Japan walk out of the IWC if the whaling deal is rejected?

Will Greenland and Denmark con the commission (and the EU) into allowing an additional aboriginal quota of 10 Humpbacks?

Will the IWC finally act on the vote buying corruption scandal (following a series of exposes by the Sunday Times in the UK)?

Some answers:

Well, we didn’t get much of a chance to find out…

After the opening formalities, the Acting Chair Anthony Liverpool (Antigua and Barbuda) suspended the meeting until Wednesday!!!

It turns out this move was made to allow the Commissioners to meet behind closed doors (away from public scrutiny!) to try and agree on the compromise proposal (whaling deal).

NZ and the USA were continuing to lead the cause to try and find an agreement on the whaling deal (How did it get to this?). So, the meeting is now being held behind closed doors and a DEAL is being struck. Will it succeed??? We have to be vigilant and make sure that enough countries vote against this shameful whaling package.

Make no mistake this DEAL would spell the end of the moratorium. Once we lose the moratorium, it will take generations to stop commercial whaling again…

Hopefully at the end of tomorrow’s closed session we will know where the proposal stands. And perhaps the meeting can resume in the public domain, with civil society participating.


Mick McIntyre,
Director, Whales Alive

S4C Rallies with SeaShepard at IWC S4C's Howie Cooke Speaks Up at IWC! Japan Research is Fake!

Howie rolled into town

By:Chris Del Moro Published:17th June 2010
Howie prepping for IWC

Howie rolled into town to get down on some illustrations for the Minds in the Water film. Always a pleasure to have his bubbling energy and knowledge on current affairs within the whaling issue. We had some mega download sessions and we are all very proud of his leadership within the S4C team as of late. Please send collective energy for the whales, dolphins and general well being of the seas come June. 21st as the annual IWC meeting starts in Morocco. Crucial year for the whales as there is a proposal to legitimize commercial whaling for the Japanese, Norway and Iceland for the next 10 years... Give them an inch and they will take a mile....

Chris & Howie on HB Pier

RASTA AND S4C GET BEHIND AUSTRALIA'S DECISION TO TAKE JAPAN TO INTERNATIONAL COURT FOR ILLEGAL WHALING

By:S4C Global Published:31st May 2010
S4C Global

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—June 1st, 2010

CONTACT:    Surfers For Cetaceans
                      Attn: Justin Krumb
                      info@s4cglobal.org
                      760-473-4134


Surfers for Cetaceans (S4C) congratulates and supports the Australian Government on its announcement (Friday 28 May 10am AEST) that it will commence legal proceedings against Japan on the issue of whaling.

The action, to be lodged at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, is primarily against Japan's continued whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary (SOWS) under the guise of  'science'. S4C notes that Australia must stand strong against whaling by any name in the SOWS. It is an internationally ratified whale sanctuary and therefore whales must be completely safe and in complete freedom.

“Our collective effort to defend the whales right to live is crucial at this point in time.” Says S4C ambassador, Dave Rastovich. “Whichever way you direct your compassionate activism, send it now to the whales.  Be it through art, written word, direct intervention, public protest or lobbying now is the time to continue our pressure and stay on point with our efforts to stop the tragedy of whaling.”

It is to be hoped that in taking this action prior to the International Whaling Commission meeting in Morocco in June, Australia will positively influence the agenda and reinvigorate the 'likeminded' activists, whether government or NGO to unite purposefully against whaling everywhere and to resist all efforts by the whaling lobby to collapse the Moratorium on whaling which has been in place since 1986.

Howie Cooke, S4C co-founder states "Australia can now lead the way forward and away from proposals to reinstate commercial whaling and instead help consolidate a genuine international movement toward total whale freedom. The whale sanctuaries around the world, large or small, need to be fully honoured. It is high time and long overdue, to see off once and for all this cruel barbaric anachronism that doesn’t even deserve a job description."

S4C also notes that the announcement puts Japan on notice at the same time that they continuing to prosecute Captain Peter Bethune, skipper of the ill-fated Ady Gil, which was sunk by illegal whalers in January of this year. We extend our support to Sea Shepherd for actually confronting the whalers, alerting the world, staying resolute and holding the line despite all intimidations and obstructions placed before them.

Surfers for Cetaceans as a voice for the international surfing community recognises the dedication of the Sea Shepherd crews and congratulates Captain Paul Watson on his unflinching courage and vision.

Surfers for Cetaceans (S4C) is committed to activating ocean-minded people everywhere to support the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and their habitat. It’s through compassion, awareness, education, media and dedicated interventions that we operate. We seek to be a human voice for and defender of cetaceans worldwide. Visit www.s4cglobal.org for more info.

END

CONTACT:    Surfers For Cetaceans
                      Attn: Justin Krumb
                      info@s4cglobal.org
                      760-473-4134


Dave Rastovich Howie Cooke Surfers for Cetaceans

GOVERNMENT INITIATES LEGAL ACTION AGAINST JAPANESE WHALING

By:Office of Peter Garrett MP Published:28th May 2010

Australia will initiate legal action in the International Court of Justice in The Hague against
Japanese ‘scientific’ whaling in the Southern Ocean.
The decision underlines the Government’s commitment to bring to an end Japan’s
program of so-called ‘scientific’ whaling in the Southern Ocean. It also demonstrates our
commitment to do what it takes to end whaling globally.
The Australian Government has not taken this decision lightly. We have been patient and
committed in our efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to this issue. We have engaged in
intensive discussions in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and bilaterally with
Japan.
We have enjoyed the support of many other IWC members who share Australia's
concerns and goals. We commend countries of the European Union, the Buenos Aires
group of Latin American countries, and others who have joined with Australia in
highlighting, in particular, the necessity for phasing out whaling in the Southern Ocean
Sanctuary.
But to date, the response of the whaling countries has not been positive. Recent
statements by whaling countries in the Commission have provided Australia with little
cause for hope that our serious commitment to conservation of the world’s whales will be
reflected in any potential IWC compromise agreement.
The Government has always been firm in our resolve that if we could not find a diplomatic
resolution to our differences over this issue, we would pursue legal action. The
Government’s action fulfils that commitment.
Australia will remain closely engaged in the IWC process and will continue to work hard in
the lead up to and at the IWC meeting in June to pursue our objectives While an
outcome at that meeting which meets Australia’s fundamental conservation objectives is
slim, the Government will continue to engage constructively in the diplomatic effort.
Australia and Japan share a comprehensive strategic, security and economic partnership.
We share a substantial commercial relationship built over many decades, growing
strategic and security linkages, and work together closely in key international forums such
as the G20, the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and APEC.
The Government’s action today reflects a disagreement in one element of a relationship
that is deep, broad and multi-dimensional.
Both Australia and Japan have agreed that, whatever our differences on whaling, this
issue should not be allowed to jeopardise the strength and the growth of our bilateral
relationship.
At the same time, the Australian Government will keep working tirelessly to achieve an
end to whaling in the Southern Ocean, and we will use all legal and diplomatic avenues to
achieve our goal.
A formal application will be lodged in The Hague early next week.
Media contacts:
Ben Pratt (Garrett) 0419 968 734
Courtney Hoogen (Smith) 0488 244 901

SPEECH TO THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL & PUBLIC LAW

By:THE HON PETER GARRETT AM MP Published:28th April 2010

THE HON PETER GARRETT AM MP
MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION, HERITAGE AND THE ARTS
AUSTRALIA’S AMBITION FOR THE WORLDWIDE CONSERVATION OF WHALES
SPEECH TO THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL & PUBLIC LAW
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
CANBERRA, ACT
28 APRIL 2010

We have come a long way in a short time.
Once nearly driven from our oceans, the worlds largest mammals are on their way
back.
But only by continuing to work together will we ensure their long-term survival.
We are now at the cross-roads: some countries want to retreat to the old days of
legitimised whale-hunting, continuing as they have done previously under the charade
of scientific research.
Others, who have banded together with a strong conservation focus - Australia
amongst them - are continuing to take up the fight.
This speech is an appeal to nations and NGOs at a historic moment in the push for the
worldwide conservation of whales.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Today I want to address one of the most vexed international public policy issues we have
faced in recent times, one that successive Australian governments have grappled with since
the early 1980’s when Australia supported the introduction of a moratorium on commercial
whaling.
This was a landmark event in global efforts to protect cetaceans.
And, for a nation which just 50 years earlier had six whaling stations in operation on the east
and west coasts, that decision was truly a paradigm shift as was the subsequent 1982
agreement of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to that moratorium.
Within five years of the IWC’s adoption of the moratorium, Chile, Peru, Spain, the USSR and
Korea all ended their commercial whaling.
2
But as this audience and the Australian people know only too well, thanks to the images
beamed into our homes courtesy of television news footage every summer, it was not the
end of whaling altogether.
While in the final year before the international agreement on the moratorium nearly 14,000
whales were killed, the fact remains that today around 1,600 whales are still killed annually,
despite that international moratorium.
Three countries continue to sit outside the tent of international consensus. Norway and
Iceland killed more than 688 whales in 2009/10, under objections and reservations to the
moratorium.
The third country – Japan – killed 1004 whales in 2008/09, including 681 in the Southern
Ocean, exploiting a loophole under Article VIII of the International Convention under which
countries purport to issue themselves whaling quotas in the name of ‘science’.
As a result, far from becoming an organisation committed to the global conservation of the
worlds whale species, the IWC has instead been grid-locked for decades, on account of the
activities of these three member states.
Instead of constructive dialogue, deliberations at the Commission are characterised by
ritualised name calling and table thumping, of pro conservation versus whaling and supporter
nations.
This is a clearly unsatisfactory state of affairs and it is time for change; time for resolution,
time for the Organisation to come into the 21st Century.
It’s especially time for procedural and scientific rigour to be put in place, time for the IWC to
refashion itself and look outward to the state of the world’s cetaceans: dolphins, porpoises
and of course the great whales.
Australia’s approach to the IWC
Australian’s sees first-hand the beauty of these creatures, but we also see what takes place
every year in the waters to our south.
We see the arrival of the whaling fleet, and the dangerous clashes with environmentalists in
the Southern Ocean.
We are told of whale meat sold in supermarkets and yet we hear that it is taken in the name
of science.
The Japanese have increased their whale quotas over recent years to more than double
what they were when they first eschewed the moratorium. Norway and Iceland's quotas are
also increasing.
Although the IWC in its initial decades presided over the systematic over-exploitation of
whales, the modern era has brought some successes including:
· the moratorium on commercial whaling; and
· the establishment of whale sanctuaries.
3
Largely as a result of the moratorium we are seeing welcome signs of recovery in some
whale populations.
Many of us have now had the experience of watching humpback whales which are
increasingly numerous along the east coast of Australia.
But, worryingly, some populations, for example the humpback whales of Fiji, are showing no
signs of recovery.
Even the population of Antarctic blue whales, the largest mammal to have ever lived, remains
at less than 2% of their pre-whaling numbers.
Yes, some claim that the IWC is dysfunctional and on the verge of collapse.
But in the absence of any other kind of relevant international forum Australia still regards the
IWC as the primary international body with the responsibility to conserve and manage
cetaceans.
We recognise that whilst there are many difficulties and challenges we say it is time to shake
off the shackles of perpetual dissension and take another big step forward, just as nations did
when the moratorium was introduced a few short decades ago.
In fact we believe there is now the opportunity to build on the successes of the past to bring
the IWC into line with modern conservation focussed international organisations, capable of
effectively addressing contemporary environmental challenges.
At present much of the collective work of the Commission and its members is undermined by
the Convention provisions under which signatory countries opt-out of responsible collective
management through:
· the use of reservations and objections, and
· the self-issue of whaling quotas under the Article VIII special permit scientific whaling
provision.
As we know, it is the resulting tensions between countries and procedural difficulties that
hamper constructive moves towards modernising the IWC.
As such, action to address real emerging threats to cetaceans such as climate change,
fishery activities, marine pollution, poorly regulated whale watching industries, ship strikes
and habitat disturbance remains a stunted aspiration.
It is why, since coming to government, we have pursued a multi-faceted approach to the
reform of the Commission, advancing proposals to make the Commission more conservation
focused, to close the loopholes and to break the gridlock and to engage in real science which
truly informs our understanding of the problems experienced by cetaceans worldwide.
The Rudd Government’s approach has been a significant departure from the more
obstructionist yet ultimately futile efforts of our domestic political opponents.
We have been and remain fully committed to pursuing a permanent end to all commercial
and so-called scientific whaling and to advancing whale research and conservation,
nationally, regionally and globally.
4
To this end the Government has invested $32 million over six years to further whale research
and conservation.
Important activities under this program include:
· the world’s largest non-lethal international whale research program - the Southern
Ocean Research Partnership,
· groundbreaking non-lethal cetacean research undertaken or coordinated by the
Australian Marine Mammal Centre, based at the Australian Antarctic Division, and
· Conservation Management Plans to protect whales from new and emerging threats
like ship-strikes, climate change, and habitat degradation.
We are particularly proud of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership, and I had the
pleasure of launching this year’s voyage alongside the New Zealand Minister for Research
Science, Dr Wayne Mapp.
It goes without saying that this approach to scientific research stands in stark contrast to that
of Japan and its current ‘special permit’ program (JARPA II).
In our view there is simply no need to kill whales to learn more about them.
The Partnership also reflects our commitment to linking our whale research to IWC scientific
and conservation priorities in the Southern Ocean.
By working closely with other IWC partners we are establishing strategic linkages with other
relevant non-lethal international research efforts, and ensuring that we share the rationale,
methodologies and results of the research.
However our commitment to reform is also why, for nearly two years now, the Government
has been engaged in the discussions within a Small Working Group process established by
the IWC to assist the Commission to resolve a number of intractable issues which have
eluded agreement in the past.
The Future of the IWC
What has been clearly demonstrated through the negotiations is that reforming treaties and
conventions written long ago is no easy matter.
That said, at its 60th annual meeting in Santiago in June 2008, the IWC did embrace the need
for reform, and created the Small Working Group charged with assisting the Commission to
arrive at a consensus solution to the main issues it faces.
Australia has actively contributed to efforts to identify the elements of a reform package for
the IWC. But we have also done so on the proviso that we will not write a blank cheque for
open ended dialogue.
We have always said that the process must deliver on our key goal – better conservation of
the world’s whale species.
Just last week a critical juncture was reached. Notwithstanding the best efforts of officials
from Australia and others participating in the Support Group set up to advise the IWC Chair,
the Support Group discussions did not result in any consensus on the best way forward.
5
Australia believes the proposal before us falls well short of any outcome that Australia could
accept. And now New Zealand, previously a proponent of compromise, has stepped back
from the proposal put forward by the IWC Chair.
We have a number of objections to the package put forward.
It proposes that IWC parties accept the legitimacy of limited commercial whaling and agree to
a quota on the number of whales that can be killed each year for the next decade by Japan,
Norway and Iceland. The package effectively rewards those who have opted out of IWC
management decisions of in the past.
It proposes the sanctioning of whaling in an IWC sanctuary – the Southern Ocean Whale
Sanctuary-and to allow coastal whaling off Japan.
The arrangement would also allow whaling on threatened species including sei and fin
whales and it would establish the quotas of whales to be killed through ad-hoc measures,
which the arrangement’s supporters claim are scientific but are not based on any IWC
agreed scientific procedures.
Critically, the proposed arrangement also fails to provide a guaranteed mechanism or
timetable to address the reform of Article VIII on scientific whaling, to close the loophole
under which the Japanese have claimed their use of a grenade tipped harpoon as whaling
constitutes ‘science’.
In short, we believe that should the Chair’s proposal be implemented without substantive
change, it would set whale conservation back by decades.
Sanctuary status would remain a paper protection. Yes, the establishment of a South
Atlantic Whale Sanctuary would be a positive step under the proposed agreement, and one
which pro-conservation countries have sought for many years. But this achievement would
be greatly devalued if the arrangement simultaneously sanctions whaling in the Southern
Ocean Sanctuary.
Some argue that that the proposed ten-year arrangement would be an improvement over the
status quo since whaling would be controlled.
There would be an agreed cap on the number of whales killed, and only the three countries
currently whaling would be allowed to kill whales.
They argue that there will be a significant reduction in the number of whales killed, with as
many as 5000 whales to be saved over 10 years, and that this should be the main criterion
upon which the entire arrangement should be assessed.
It is not clear whether any reductions will be benchmarked against the quotas which the three
whaling countries issue themselves or against the actual number of whales taken, which are
often much lower than the quotas.
Of course, at first glance any reduction in the number of whales killed sounds positive. A
diplomatic agreement that got us a step closer to achieving an end to whaling could be a
positive step.
6
But the numbers in the current proposal have been put forward by the IWC Chair, not the
whaling nations who have refused to offer any credible reductions despite that being one of
the premises upon which the Support Group was constituted.
Consequently there is no indication yet that whaling countries will agree to them. Right now,
the so-called reductions exist on paper only. In effect, they are paper whales.
And we need to ask the critical question: what price are we being asked to pay for these
reductions, if they were to be agreed?
The number of whales to be killed is only one aspect of this arrangement. Critically, the
arrangement would not close the scientific whaling loophole.
Even worse, discussions on how to achieve this are put off until later in the ten year period.
And if all that is not bad enough the whaling nations want the costs of funding the proposed
new provisions to monitor and inspect the way the whalers are conducting their hunts and
managing the distribution of whale meat and whale products, to be shared across the IWC
membership.
In effect this is asking the Australian taxpayer to foot the bill for supporting whaling
operations around the world. It should not surprise others that we find much to object to on
this count.
Moreover, the arrangement says nothing about what will happen at the end of the ten year
period.
We hold concerns that if limited commercial whaling is sanctioned and guaranteed for the
next ten years, this may have the unforeseen consequence of breathing new life into this
dying industry.
Iceland has already indicated it wishes to engage in increased international trade in whale
meat and whale products. This would surely represent a very real first step in the
dismantling of the moratorium.
Australia’s proposal
We believe that whales are worth more alive than dead. Simple.
Whilst we have advanced scientific, principled arguments to support our position, we also
firmly believe in the economic benefits that can be reaped through the conservation of
whales.
The commercial whaling industry today is in decay, with ageing infrastructure, low and falling
demand, oversupply, and increasing debt sustained only through government subsidies.
Left to market forces, this industry would and should be long gone.
Compare this with the thriving and growing global whale watching industry.
In 2008, 13 million people participated in whale watching in 119 countries and territories,
generating total revenues of $2.1 billion. Whale watching revenues have doubled in just over
a decade.
7
Up and down the coasts of Australia, and around the world, hundreds of thousands of people
travel to see firsthand these great sea creatures. And this number is growing.
It is estimated that 3,300 operators offer whale watching trips around the world employing an
estimated 13,200 people.
The IWC is in an ideal position to provide the practical tools and advice for countries
developing their whale watching industries to help them to minimize the impacts on whales
and their environment.
The Australian Government has therefore looked beyond the superficial attraction of a shortterm
reduction in the number of whales killed, and instead put forward a strong conservation
focused proposal.
Our proposal addresses the fundamental flaws of the Chair’s proposal and charts a new way
forward which contains the elements of compromise but necessarily demands concessions
from both sides of the debate, not just our own.
The key elements of our proposal are:
· a swift and internationally agreed end to Southern Ocean whaling, including in the
Southern Ocean sanctuary
· for all whaling (other than current aboriginal subsistence whaling) to be phased down
within a reasonable timeframe, including the phasing down and out of whaling in the
Southern Ocean within five years
· an immediate halt to the issuing of ‘scientific whaling’ permits, and
· an immediate end to the hunting of vulnerable and endangered species.
We will continue to push hard to achieve a more robust and balanced proposal than the one
currently on the table.
Our proposal introduces substantially greater conservation outcomes. It explicitly calls for
the maintenance of the moratorium and rejects the use of interim measures dressed up as
the ‘best available science’ to determine whale quotas for the ten year duration of the
package.
And it would not allow whaling on threatened populations or on those populations where
scientific knowledge is poor or unavailable.
Unrealistic? I don’t think so.
While our proposal explicitly recognises that our end goal – the permanent elimination of all
whaling other than aboriginal subsistence whaling – will be difficult to achieve immediately, to
acquiesce to a proposal that asks us to abandon the gains of the past, is not a place that I
hope many nations would wish to be in the future.
I have been speaking to counterparts all around the world over the last few weeks – many
are supportive –and I will be ramping-up that dialogue in the weeks to come.
With the June meeting of the IWC looming as the critical deadline for negotiations, the
Government will mobilise our diplomatic resources in the coming weeks to make clear our
views.
8
The IWC proposal – which would legitimise the commercial whaling of nearly 1300 whales
per year– falls well short of any outcome that Australia could accept.
We have said consistently, that we are prepared to take international legal action to stop so
called ‘scientific’ whaling in the Southern Ocean.
We have asked officials to prepare detailed options for the Government, including the option
of legal action to stop Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling.
As we weigh up all the relevant developments, if we judge that we are unlikely to achieve our
objectives diplomatically, the Government will be ready to proceed with legal action.
Conclusion
In the face of significant opposition, Australia has stayed strong in its commitment to whale
conservation.
We have won welcome support for our position from other allies, particularly in South
America and some countries in Europe.
We have seen genuine engagement among IWC member nations on the need to reform the
IWC and acknowledgment of the need for a more pro-conservation agenda for the
organisation.
But with the release of final papers for the annual IWC meeting this past week, one thing is
very clear – we are still far from consensus.
So I’ll conclude by clearly restating our position.
We remain resolutely opposed to commercial and so-called ‘scientific’ whaling.
We are committed to the moratorium on commercial whaling, and we want to see an end to
whaling in the Southern Ocean.
We recognise the significant difficulties to be overcome to achieve this goal.
But we are considering all our options, diplomatic and legal, in the period ahead.
Looking forward to the June meeting in Agadir, I expect the discussion will be serious and
intense. If it comes to a vote, numbers on the floor of the IWC will be close as a 75 per cent
majority is required for a proposal to be endorsed.
It is critical that the voices and opinions of civil society are heard on this issue in the scant
few weeks we have left before IWC 62.
To this end, I can assure you that until the meeting itself, the Government will be working
hard, both publicly and behind closed doors in an effort to drive real reform at the IWC.
Australia, and all those who are campaigning for an end to whaling hope that in the lead up
to this years IWC meeting in Morocco, member nations can rediscover that same spirit of
cooperation that allowed the Commission to agree to a moratorium on commercial whaling
back in 1982.
9
We must seize the moment and move forward on the conservation of these great sea
creatures, and ensure their future for generations to come.
[ENDS]

Commercial whaling could get green light?

By:Jonathon Larkin - WWF Senior Media Officer Published:23rd April 2010

Commercial whaling could get green light for first time in nearly 25 years
A proposal announced today by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) would, for the first time in almost 25 years, endorse the killing of whales in one of their most critical feeding grounds - the Southern Ocean.
 
In an effort to bring Japan, Norway and Iceland’s continued whaling under the IWC’s control, the Chair of the IWC has proposed giving these countries official commercial whaling quotas for the next 10 years.
 
“The proposed quotas are not set using the IWC’s own scientific methods, but are a result of political bargaining which has little if anything to do with the whales themselves,” said Rob Nicoll, WWF-Australia’s Antarctic and Southern Oceans Initiative Manager.

Plan to overturn whaling ban unveiled

By:IFAW Published:22nd April 2010

(Sydney, Australia – 23 April 2010) – The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW –www.ifaw.org) announced that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has released a new plan to legalize commercial whaling.
 
The proposal, if adopted, would overturn the 1986 ban on commercial whaling by authorizing whaling by Norway, Iceland, and Japan. It would also legalize Japan’s whaling in an internationally recognized whale sanctuary around Antarctica, grant new rights to Japan, Iceland, and Norway to kill whales for commercial purposes, and ignore established IWC scientific procedures for estimating sustainable whaling limits.
 
The plan, released today by the IWC Secretariat based in Cambridge, United Kingdom, is to be considered and acted on in June at the IWC’s annual meeting in Agadir, Morocco.
 
“This plan is a whaler’s wish list,” said Patrick Ramage, IFAW’s Whale Program Director. “It throws a lifeline to a dying industry when endangered whale populations face more threats than ever before. This would be a breathtaking reversal of decades of conservation progress at the IWC.”
 
The IWC, which is comprised of 88-member governments, is the global body responsible for conservation of our planet's great whales. Three member countries – Japan, Norway, and Iceland – have continued to hunt whales, ignoring the worldwide commercial whaling ban. The proposed plan proposes annual whale-hunting quotas for these countries under the discretion of the IWC.
 
The current proposal would also:
 
Overturn the global ban on commercial whaling and allow hunting in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary around Antarctica.
Approve the killing of whales for commercial purposes by Japan around Antarctica and in the North Pacific.
Add new rights for Japan to hunt whales in its coastal waters.
Allow continuing whaling by Iceland and Norway in violation of long-agreed scientific procedures and the global whaling ban.
 
“Australia offered a proposal which saw a phase out of whaling down to zero – the only number that should be considered in the 21st Century,” said Erica Martin, Director IFAW Asia Pacific.
 
“This package, in contrast, rewards Japan, Iceland and Norway for decades of whaling in defiance of international law.”
 
 “We trust Australia will maintain its courageous stand and continue to fight against this proposal. And we encourage New Zealanders and Americans to raise their voices in anger that their governments would push forward this dangerous deal that will see a return to commercial whaling.”
 
“Any nation that claims to be in favour of whale conservation cannot accept this package. It can and must be rejected.”

S4C Supports Sea Shepherd - Ady Gil Struck by Japanese Whaling Ship

By:Howie Cooke Published:14th January 2010
S4C Protest

On the 12th January 2010, various marine conservationists and groups joined forces in support of  Sea Shepherd to condemn the ramming of the Ady Gil and the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary by the Japanese whaling fleet.

It was a colorful and vocal demonstration with about 50 protesters and almost as many policemen.  People chanted ‘no whaling’ and ‘Japan out now’ whilst passing traffic honked horns in support of Sea Shepherd’s courageous direct action against the brutal and illegal slaughter of whales and dolphins.


Speakers from Sea Shepherd, Surfers for Cetaceans, Byron Whale Action group, Greens Party and Remove Shark Nets.com, spoke with passion and conviction about the violation of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary by Japan. Equally the Australian Government was called upon to act on its pre-election promises to take Japan to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) now, given that diplomacy at the IWC has clearly failed.


Letters from five conservation groups addressed to the Prime Minister of Japan were delivered in person by Dean Jefferys of BWAG and Howie Cooke of S4C to the Japanese Deputy Consul. The letters were calling on the Japanese Government to cease whaling and remove their whaling fleet immediately from the Southern Ocean Whaling Sanctuary, to honor the moratorium on whaling and join the international the celebration of whales.

Howie Cooke Leading the Protest S4C Protest Ady Gil Struck by Japanese Whaling Ship

SURFERS STAND-UP TO WHALING

By:Transparentsea Team Published:5th November 2009
Transparentsee Crew

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

TRANSPARENTSEA
A MODERN VOYAGE WITH ANCIENT CREATURES
Byron Bay to Bondi
October 1st – November 5th
www.transparentseavoyage.com

SURFERS STAND-UP TO WHALING
AS TRANSPARENTSEA ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS INITIATIVE FINISHES AT BONDI

(Thursday, November 5th, Bondi Beach, NSW, Australia): The anti-whaling and environmental awareness campaign initiated by professional free-surfer and activist Dave Rastovich (Brunswick Heads, NSW, AUS) reached its exciting conclusion at Bondi Beach, Sydney today following an epic and testing 36 day voyage by sea which began at Byron Bay on October 1st.
 
Dubbed “Transparentsea” the campaign takes aim at the Australian Government’s lack of action on Japanese whaling activity in the Southern Ocean, as well as highlighting areas of environmental concern along Australia’s eastern seaboard.
 
Rastovich and his fellow campaigners, including surfer/artist Chris Del Moro (San Diego, CA, USA), musician Will Conner (Byron Bay, NSW, AUS), activist Howie Cooke (Byron Bay, NSW, AUS) and photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, NSW, AUS) were welcomed to shore by hundreds of well-wishers and supporters, having accrued nearly 800km at sea in their trimaran kayaks, as they traced the path of migrating humpback whales south.
 
Rastovich, who in 2005 co-founded the group “Surfers for Cetaceans” and was this year one of just 300 invitees to Al Gore’s “The Climate Project” Asia Pacific Summit in Melbourne, recounted the incredible personal interaction he and his team had experienced alongside whales during their journey and encouraged the Australian public and all-like minded people to pressure Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett to uphold their pre-election promises.
 
“Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett told the Australian people they would enforce and uphold international laws that would prevent the Japanese from targeting whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. To date they have not acted on these promises,” said Rastovich.
 
“We’re here as representatives of the global surfing community and all people who are passionate about saving these amazing mammals, and we’re asking Rudd and Garrett to act now and do what they said they were going to do.”
 
“Everyone we’ve encountered during our trip, in every coastal town and at every beach, has been shocked to learn the Government is not acting on this issue,” said Rastovich.
 
During their frequent stops down the coast, the Transparentsea team in conjunction with Surfrider Foundation and Tangaroa Blue also initiated beach-cleanups with all the rubbish collected, tabulated and added to the National Marine Debris database.
 
“This journey has given us first-hand experience, undeniable proof, that our beaches may look good from far, but they are far from good. We visited beaches that did not have a single human footprint yet they’re covered with plastic and other forms of garbage that damage ecosystems and enter the food chain where it stays forever,” Rastovich added.
 
Rastovich asked that anyone who cared about the whaling issue to send a message to their local council or addressed direct to Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd, to prompt the government into action.

Rastovich Bondi Arrival Bondi Supporters

ANTI-WHALING & ENVIRO CAMPAIGN TO CULMINATE AT BONDI

By:Transparentsea Team Published:3rd November 2009
Transparentsea MEDIA Invite

ANTI-WHALING & ENVIRO CAMPAIGN TO CULMINATE  AT BONDI Thursday, November 5th INVITATION TO PUBLIC AND MEDIA

(Tuesday, November 3rd, Manly, NSW, Australia):

Following an epic 700km ocean odyssey tracing the trail of migrating humpback whales from Byron Bay, the group of anti-whaling environmental campaigners led by professional free-surfer and activist Dave Rastovich (Brunswick Heads, NSW) is on track to culminate at Bondi Beach this Thursday at 11am.

An invitation is extended to media and the public wishing to participate in the finale of the 36-day adventure dubbed “Transparentsea”.

It is anticipated that hundreds of supporters will escort Rastovich, musician Will Conner (Byron Bay, NSW), surfer/artist Chris Del Moro (Sand Diego, USA) and photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, NSW) as they negotiate their trimaran sea kayaks, the last few hundred metres to shore.

Following their safe arrival, the Transparentsea team will share the experiences of their epic adventure, which includes an untold number of encounters with whales, dolphins and other marine life, plus visits to many of Australia’s East Coast’s secluded, yet polluted beaches, that began on October 1st.

The paddle-out is being coordinated with the assistance of the Bondi Lifeguards and is open to any able-bodied person with a board that floats!

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is also assisting with the placement of a large 5m sculpture of a Minke whale that features a harpoon through its head adorned by a small Japanese flag.

Says Rastovich: “The primary intention of our journey has been to highlight the plight of whales that are destined for the Southern Ocean and the inevitable visits by Japanese whaling fleets. As surfers, we have a direct connection with these amazing creatures and during the past 30 days, we’ve had the fortune of interacting with them, almost on a daily basis.

“Now we are calling on people to show their support and to join us in putting pressure on the Australian Government, lead by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and our Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, to uphold their pre-election promise to challenge Japanese whaling in international court and to protect the Southern Ocean sanctuary.”

Photo and interview opportunities will be available for media wishing to cover this unique event.   In addition a full press release, rights free pictures and a television newsfeed will be distributed later in the day.

“Transparentsea”
 BONDI PADDLE-OUT

Where: Central Bondi Beach, Rescue Tower.
When: meet 10:00am for 11:00am paddle
Who: Any able-bodied person with a board that floats!
Media: 10:30 – 11:30am

For more info, please see the links below, or contact:
Media contact: jj@premiummedia.com.au
Mobile: +61 (0) 421 384 431

About Transparentsea:
The primary intention of the Transparentsea journey is to draw attention to the plight of the migrating whales that ultimately are destined for the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean and the inevitable visits by Japanese whaling fleets.
In addition, the Transparentsea team will record and highlight other areas of environmental concern including the effects of the commercial fishing industry on marine mammals and fish stocks; run-off issues to do with agricultural, domestic and industrial human activities; the state of rivers and estuaries; and where necessary they will also initiate beach clean-ups.

Transparentsea Harbour Protest

Half Way there, Half Way to Go!

By:Transparentsea Team Published:20th October 2009
Jumping Roo

After 19 days of surfing, paddling and sailing their way down the NSW coast, the environmental awareness group led by pro surfer Dave Rastovich has successfully passed the halfway point of their intended 700km, 36 day voyage from Byron Bay to Sydney’s Bondi Beach.  
 
Titled “Transparentsea” the initiative, which began on October 1st, aims to draw attention to the plight of the migrating humpback whales as the team follows their path south and to highlight issues of environmental concern to do with Australia’s East Coast.
 
Speaking from Point Plomer near Crescent Head on Day 20, Rastovich acknowledged the numerous, unforgettable whale and dolphin encounters his team had experienced. However, the alarming amount of debris that has been located and collected at the various locations the team has visited is a concern.
 
“At times, adult humpback whales and their calves have chosen to surface two feet away from our kayaks, which has just been amazing,” explained Rastovich.
 
“We’ve also camped in some of the most beautiful beachside campgrounds and surfed those beaches, but picked up hundreds and hundreds pieces of plastic and rubbish in places that look ‘Good from far, but are far from good’,” he added.
 
Rastovich, who says his team is on track to reach Bondi by the planned date of November 5th, also urged everyone who shared the vision of the Transparentsea environmental awareness initiative to support the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founded by anti-whaling activist Paul Watson.
 
Rastovich noted that the Sea Shepherd is the only organisation planning to send a vessel to help defend the whales in the Southern Ocean sanctuary from Japanese whalers in December. While Watson has been a focus of the media after Australian Immigration denied his entry based on issues to do with his visa.
 
“It has been very disappointing to learn that the Australian Government recently obstructed Paul Watson’s entry to Australia, rather than welcoming him as a great defender of the whales,” said Rastovich.
 
“Instead of upholding their pre election promise to challenge Japanese whaling in international court and to protect the Southern Ocean sanctuary, the Australian Government appears to have turned their back on the whales that are once again under threat.”
 
It’s anticipated that dozens of surfers and well wishers will welcome the Transparentsea voyagers, which includes Rastovich, fellow surfer, artist and activist Chris Del Moro (San Diego, CA, USA), musician Will Conner (Byron Bay, NSW), photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, NSW), a support team and special guests, when they negotiate the last few hundred metres from the sea to the shore at Bondi Beach on November 5th.

Time to Reflect Huge Humpback breaching

SurfRider Beach Cleanup

By: Published:7th October 2009
Broomes Head

Each day on arrival at the beaches, the Transparentsea crew and members of the community partake in beach cleanups. The rubbish is collected, counted and the data added to the National Marine Debris database.

The National Marine Debris Initiative is a project aimed at empowering
local communities and individuals to take ownership of their local beaches by regularly removing the rubbish, in particular plastics that arrive or is dropped or dumped on their shores.

100,000 marine animals and 1 million sea birds die every year from
ingesting or becoming entangled in marine debris. In every square mile ofocean is an estimated 46,000 pieces of marine debris.

Members of the community are invited to come along to the cleanups. Visit surfrider.org.au/transparentsea for information on how you can be
involved.

In addition, the Transparentsea team in cooperation with Surfrider
Foundation and Tangaroa Blue will record and highlight other areas of
environmental concern including the effects of the commercial fishing
industry on marine mammals and fish stocks; run-off issues to do with
agricultural, domestic and industrial human activities; the state of
rivers and estuaries; and where necessary they will also initiate beach
clean-ups.

The Sandon Sandon Beach Cleanup

TRANSPARENTSEA...A Modern Journey with Ancient Creatures

By:General Media Release Published:23rd September 2009

Professional free-surfer and environmental campaigner David Rastovich will attempt an epic 700km ocean paddle from Byron Bay to Bondi Beach this October.

The journey aims to follow the annual migration south of humpback whales and their calves while raising awareness of the need to protect the majestic mammals and the world's ocean environments.

Twenty nine year-old Rastovich (Brunswick Heads, AUS) is using the paddle to extend his personal environmental journey which in 2006 saw him co-found the “Surfers for Cetaceans” movement and in July this year saw him granted one of just 200 invitations to attend former US Vice President Al Gore’s The Climate Project - Asia-Pacific Summit.

On October 1st “Rasta”, accompanied by world-class water photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, AUS) and a videographer who will help chronicle the event, will step from the sands of Main Beach, Byron Bay and begin the journey in single-seat sea kayaks.

Joining them will be Chris Del Moro (Los Angeles, USA) a respected free surfer, activist, artist and co-director of Surfers for Cetaceans.

Assisted only by the wind and waves, Rasta and his cohorts will paddle the entire distance aiming to reach Bondi by November 5th. Each afternoon they will paddle to the nearest beach, rest overnight, engage with local communities and – conditions permitting – take advantage of the local surf.

The primary intention of the journey is to draw attention to the plight of the migrating whales that ultimately are destined for the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean and the inevitable visits by Japanese whaling fleets.

In addition, the team will record and highlight other areas of environmental concern including the effects of the commercial fishing
industry on marine mammals and fish stocks; run-off issues to do with
agricultural, domestic and industrial human activities; the state of rivers and estuaries; and where necessary they will also initiate beach clean-ups.

It is a well-intentioned odyssey that, at worst, is certain to be an incredible test of endurance but will also, quite possibly, double as the
surf-trip-of-a-lifetime.

“What excites me the most is being able to combine the high-risk elements of surfing and sailing and the notion of endurance and pushing your body,” said Rastovich.  “I’m eager to bring those elements together with environmental awareness initiatives.


“Our intentions are that, after 36 days and 700 kilometers, we’ll have
helped educate a lot of people on the beauty and majesty of the whales,
plus the impact we all have on what is such an amazing stretch of
coastline and in what ways we might all implement positive change.”


An additional kayak will be made available to a small roster of like-minded invited guests - individuals who share the mission’s sense of
purpose and who are able to help bolster public awareness.

Participants already scheduled to take part include eight-time Molokai-to-Oahu paddling champion Jamie Mitchell, former world #5, pro surfer Matt Hoy, and professional surf commentator, editor and musician
Adam ‘Vaughan’ Blakey.

“Our intentions are to reach Bondi and celebrate the completion of our
voyage with Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society,”
said Rastovich.

“We expect to be crossing paths with the Sea Shepherd crew on the journey as they take their ship, the Steve Irwin, to Perth where they will launch their next campaign to save our whales in Antarctica. The same whales we will be paddling beside.”

The official Transparentsea launch will take place on Thursday, October
1st at Main Beach, Byron Bay. Here, members of the Aboriginal Bundjalung tribe will don traditional dress and perform a farewell ceremony. Following the ceremony, the kayakers will paddle out to meet the whales and begin their long voyage south to Sydney.

The iconic sights of Byron Bay’s lighthouse and lush surrounds of Cape
Bryon will provide the ideal backdrop for media on hand to capture the
start of this epic adventure. More information will be distributed closer
to the launch date.

For media or special guests interested in participating in one or more
legs of the journey, please contact jj@premiummedia.com.au

A website will be set-up outlining the mission, including information on
equipment, intended routes, photos and video for media, and a daily blog.

More details to follow.

“Transparentsea” a Modern Voyage with Ancient Creatures, is being made possible with the support of Billabong, Coastal Watch, Surfing World Magazine, the Surfrider Foundation and Surfers for Cetaceans.

Howie in South East Asia

By:Howie Cooke Published:23rd September 2009

Miles away in distance and time from a surf festival in Portugal,the IWC meeting in Madeira, Sperm whales in the Azores and Justin and i washed up in London, here am still heading back downunder through elephant jungle in Chiang Mai, a whale shrine in Vietnam and into the concrete maze of Bangkok.

A kiwi ocean surveyor Tim and his lovely Thai wife Nika introduced me to a wonderful Aussie nun, one Sister Joan Evans who for nearly last twenty years has been living and working among the slum dwellers of the Khlong Toei area of the city. Clearly revered by the inhabitants of the back alleys she lead me through, Sister Joan always had a moment and a kind word to share with them. She introduced me to dedicated women teaching their scrubbed up laughing little kids in two small schools nestled in amongst the debris and chaos and they all liked the idea of me painting a whale mural onto a wall for them. So once i had secured some acrylic paint and a roller and brushes i set to scrubbing the wall of the canteen and laying in the the sky and ocean underpainting  based on the mural Chris and did in a school in Madeira. By the end of the day i had the overall composition in place and the kids came out after their afternoon sleep to line up in front of the whales and sang a song for me. Pure magic.

Up the road a bit past the sad irony of enslaved birds in ornate cane cages a bunch of guys hailed me to join them in jamming on a beat up guitar. On my return the next day i was greeted in the battered street as i went to the school between vertical ghettoes og grilled up buildings with snakeskins of cracks all over them. One sizable tremor and the little school would be buried under them.

After completing the Humpback mother and her calf and the two dolphins I added a turtle, some remoras and a flock of gulls. Out came the little kids again and in the shade of the lone tree growing up through the concrete playground i painted their hands so they could add their own personal signature to the mural.  We laughed together and they thanked me in that gracious Thai manner of prayer.

I said goodbye, happy to know some ocean spirit was now manifest on a school wall near a branch of the mighty Chao Praya river that sweeps out in the sea...and wandered around to Sister Joan's humble brown wooden shack, and painted her front door sky blue.

Progress??

By:Dave Rastovich Published:11th July 2009
Source: Tuki

Another lap around the sun. Another International Whaling Commission filled with  political double talk and lame promises.  Thousands of whales and dolphins still targeted and killed,  thousands more snared in industrial fishing methods, thousands more driven to shore desperately escaping acoustic pollution whilst filled with poisons and  parasites flowing from man.   Is this how we treat fellow earthlings that we supposedly love, that millions of people pay hard earned money for to watch perform mundane tricks in captivity, and also pretend that swimming with them in concrete prison pools will cure themselves of  disease and disability?    I have heard it said, ''..if we can't save the whales from our collective stupidity what chance does the rest of the animal kingdom have?"     Sadly, I think there is real truth in that statement.
    
I am in my twenties, a surfer that has traveled the world for thirteen years straight.  I am part of a global community that spends every spare moment in the water, and for some weird reason the whale and dolphin kill issue was never told to me as I grew up surfing around the world.  No one shared the gruesome facts about whaling, and the terrifying reality that so many  ocean species are fast becoming extinct.   No one told me the commercial fishing industry will end within thirty five to forty years if we don't stop using current methods.

I guess that is why I am writing this right now.  I am pissed off.   I am not an angry person, but when I think about how ignorant I was before taking an interest in this stuff I feel like a spoilt little brat who circled the world but never really had my eyes and ears open.  I don't want to perpetuate that kind of thing. 

So here it is..   What I am trying to do is use the little bit of power I have in this tripped out human sphere to try and pass on that which has come my way,  to act as a conduit for the information I am exposed to.  To communicate the realities of animal cruelty and killing that I have personally witnessed.  To whole heartedly avoid passing on environmental blindness to the next generation of surfers below me.  I am not saying there was never any surfers active in environmental issues before now, there have been plenty, but they were not in the professional surfing arena which is where all of our surfing worlds attention is usually focused.

With so much gratitude I have been able to attract other ocean minded surfers who feel the same and are willing to walk their talk.  Our S4C crew of Howie Cooke, Justin Krumb, Chris Del Moro, Andy Sibley, Hilton Dawe and Jonny Vasic is a unit of friends that wouldn't differ much from most small little clicks and crews you find at every beach around the world.  We like to surf, have a good fun rocking party, talk story about our adventures, spend time with family,  and also do a little work that gives back to that big watery goddess out there that sends waves our way.  I feel like our crew is amazing, but not unique.  We are not special and different, really we are just active wombats.

We have dreamed up a formula for bringing ocean and cetacean issues to the surfing worlds attention and now we are seeing  that formula unfold with a ''great success'' as Borat would say.

Our Baleia Atlantica tour through Portugal and her offshore islands felt like a perfect expression of our crews desire to share information, inspire action and to unite our surfing world with the collective vision of calm, clear oceans filled with all the animals and elements that are integral to life on Earth.

We had fun.  A lot of fun.  We spent time with locals in Madeira and the Azores who are ready to step up and defend their waters, animals and coastlines.  Who feel that being custodians of our oceans is just a natural part of being a surfer.  And that is the biggest success of our trip.

The IWC is a defunct piece of crap that produces no results, so we spent more time with the locals than at the meeting.  There are grommets in those areas who are looking up at their older surfing buddies that rule their local spot and seeing them all pumped and actively involved with conservation.  They see that this is another part of being a water person, that because you receive the ultimate gift of surfing you should also give something back to that.   That is exciting, that is progression.

Each time we embark upon one of the S4C trips we solidify the global surfing family, and know with upmost confidence that if any of us are in trouble or need people to come and blockade a whaling ship, chain ourselves to diggers poised to destroy coastlines, paddle between a whale and a harpoon,  expose environmental criminals,  hold a massive rally to raise awareness,  to paint a fricken huge mural, to speak at schools and to have fun doing it all,  we will be there as quick as humanely possible.   That is an awesome feeling, to know that we can oppose the mighty forces of governments, fishing industries, and corporate criminals by ringing the bell and activating our surfing family.

On that note, I humbly thank all those who made our  trip possible-    the entire S4C crew and our supporters, the surfing industry,  Belmiro and Marta,  Pedro, Rodrigo, Rodolpho, Blacky, Coco, Ester, Dave, Ocean Emotion Whale Watch crew, The Mohle venue, Poncha, all the Visual Petition participants, The Cove team, Charles, Sea Shepherd crew, Mick,  all the surfing communities in the islands and especially the majestic islands themselves.  

Infinite thanks,


serving our sea,

            dave rastovich

Source: Howie Cooke Source: Hilton Dawe Source: Hilton Dawe

Howie's World

By:Howie Cooke Published:6th July 2009
S4C IWC Madeira Team by Chris Del Moro

An integral part of the Baleia Atlantica tour has been maintaining a visual art presence with the Whale Tipi, banners, murals and furthermore Chris and I holding an exhibition of woodblock prints in Baleal and Madeira. It has been a privilege to be given public walls to run rollers of paint over, with whales gradually emerging out the blue carrying the message in Portuguese of NO KILLING NO CAPTURE and HAVE A HEART!

Chris and I had so much fun painting a mural of dolphins and a whale in the playground of a primary school in the hills above the harbour of Madeira and watching the kids add their handprints to the baby humpback banner already bearing handprints of Byron Bay children.
 
It turned out that the final mural before the last four of us left Portugal would be inside the stone cottage of ‘Blacky’ on Sao Jorge in the Azores. Inspired by our seeing Sperm whales and dolphins on our way there, I painted them beneath circling seabirds off towering cliffs of the island, a giant red squid rising up from the depths.
 
It is nice to know that we leave behind some art that not only reflects our appreciation of having engaged with local people but also carries forward our message of greater respect for the Ocean and our hope for total freedom for all whales and dolphins.
 
Although our tour came to an end as we landed in England, the second night in London I had the opportunity to participate in an open mike night at the lovely Inspiral vego restaurant alongside Camden lock, and to spread the word and play some of my songs about whales to a warm crew of travelers, local artists and poets.
        
Justin and I have wandered along the canal towpaths past white swans and narrow boats deep in reflection on what S4C has achieved so far and what we can achieve into the future. Justin the big bear flies out tonight with his movie camera to more waves and I’m going off to look at a big wall in Kings Cross, blue chalk in my pocket.

Howie's Mural The Crew.. always 8!

Drop Off and Pick Up - Azores the next Chapter

By:Justin Krumb Published:4th July 2009

Drop off and pickup- The S4C “Balea Atlantica” crew changed up a bit in the last few days. Chris Del Moro, Andy Sibley and Jon Laurenson had to split due to other commitments in their respective homelands. We’ll miss them as the energy has changed a bit with their parting. With that said, we picked up a lovely Portuguese lady by the name of Ester (AKA “wild dolphin girl”) as we prepared to take a boat trip to the island of Sao George. Funny how just the right sort of people seem to enter our little world as we journey along with the whales and dolphins. Sorry boys but having a woman along has been a welcome change from the S4C boys club on this trip.

Sao George is THE place for waves in this amazing island chain in the middle of the Atlantic and with word that a swell was on the horizon we were fired up to get into it. Boarding the “Ocean Emotion” for the 3-hour ride to the island was like being a kid in a candy store. As the ocean rocked us to sleep (This trip has reminded me that I can sleep anywhere, even on the rock hard deck of a boat!) visions of perfect waves put me into dreamland. Blink, the motor has stopped and I hear excited voices on the bridge. We scramble up to find a pod of dolphins at play off our starboard side. Hello boys 'n girls, once again we are greeted by the very crew we are here to protect. Big bottlenose dolphins are all around us shadowed by towering cliffs and waterfalls crashing into the sea. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about them now, but I can’t help but think there is a little message in their appearance for us.

Our arrival to the island is met by one of the few cabs available here and by chance Rodrigo (our Azores guide) runs into his girlfriends father who offers to transport our gear to the other side of the island. After a thirty-minute ride over stunning mountain scenery, we arrive at the end of the road. It will be an hour walk from here to our destination (which will remain nameless to protect the innocent). The natural beauty stuns me and the endless wave set-ups are promising too. The village has been left back in time by a hundred years or so and every turn reveals a picture perfect postcard view. Hilton is snapping photos like they are going out of style and Howie has disappeared into a painters water color bliss…

We meet up with our new host “Blackie” and settle into his house for our stay. As is the case on most surf trips, the surf isn’t cooperating. Small but fun, it still refreshes the crew and brings smiles all around. The next day brings some rain and small waves and Rasta has gone cosmic again…

The mountains tower over our little home and leave us all in awe of the power of this place. Howie is inspired and paints an amazing mural of the sun, sperm whales and sea creatures on Blackie’s wall. His house comes alive. A three-mile hike up the hill reveals amazing waterfalls, crazy flowers and a bond amongst friends we will never forget. My only concern is we will never get Rasta to leave. The look in his eyes says, “See ya boys I’m going feral here, so sell my boards, the house and the kids too!”  Wait.. he doesn’t have kids, so scratch that!

Luckily, we drag his ass out so as not to loose our fearless leader but we’ve all left a piece of us here. Thanks Blackie for the amazing stay, we will return again…

LoNG LiVE WhaLE & WAve..

By:Chris Del Moro Published:1st July 2009
images by Hilton Dawe

A collective goal of the Baleia Atlantica was to experience Sperm whales firsthand. After a bit of help from our local friend Rodrigo, we had an appointment for a 7am whale watch tour in the cetacean rich waters off Terceira. Once at sea we were blessed to have traveled alongside a pod of 6 adult Sperm Whales and one calf working their way south with the oceans current.

For many of us it was the first time witnessing these species and the calf gifted our group with three playful breaches. Our time at sea was a blessing in so many ways and spending time with these breath-taking animals only strengthened our passion to protect their waters ahead.

After speaking in depth with the owners of the operation it was apparent that this zone is feeling the positive effects of booming sustainable whaling business. Many of the port towns we have visited along our tour were once plagued with whaling ships and the transformation to whale loving communities must continue to evolve through all of the renegade nations barbaric whaling practices!

Our whale encounter sent our group straight through to the cosmos of a new swell hitting the North shore of the island. We hustled to meet the oncoming swell and were pleasantly surprised to see the ocean had roared to life. With a hand drawn map gifted to us by locals we navigated our way straight into a rugged valley with a wedgey slab reef. After cautiously making our way through the dangerous moss covered rocks, we feasted on the first satisfying waves of our Azores island mission.

We traded lefts and rights for hours under the watchful eye of Howie creating yet another masterpiece on a boulder over looking the surf spot. The Azores gifted us with gold today and as usual our crew is reveling into a cozy night of good food, conversation and laughter.

LoNG LiVE WhaLE & WAve..

Deep Dive Decention.            source: Hilton Dawe Building..           source: Hilton Dawe LoNG LiVE WhaLE & WAve..            source: Hilton Dawe

AZORES. Day 2-3

By:Chris Del Moro Published:30th June 2009
Vivid Volcanic Coastline.       source: Hilton

Since our arrival on Terceira Island we’ve utilized our down time to reconnect with media blasts, art projects, blog entry’s, photo editing and some much needed rest.

With that said a good majority of us were in desperate need of some wave riding in these new European style archipelagos.

Down times great, but there’s only so long a group of surfers can go before joining our cetacean friends for a slide along a few waves. As we searched for waves our group was widely impressed by an unfathomable amount of dry stack volcanic rock walls creating a puzzle of paddocks criss-crossing green hills as far as our eyes could see. After checking every nook and cranny on the Eastern side of the island, we found a fun right hand wedge located at the mouth of a scenic port town brimming with brightly colored structures. It was great to connect with the local waters and helped us all to an early nights sleep.

Later that evening our group had a casual meeting with a wide-eyed journalist for the local newspaper. As usual Dave and Howie educated her with the cons of the Whale trade and our groups intentions to experience the country’s bustling whale watching industry.

Lagoon magic.       source: Hilton Gothic Sunset.       source: Hilton Town Breaks

The Azores - Day One

By:Andy Sibley Published:27th June 2009

After a fun but hectic week in Madeira and a mammoth all-nighter wrap party at Fort Molhe, we managed to find ourselves landing in the Azores on only the briefest of sleep and a full day of adventure ahead of us. 

Everyone was feeling pretty spacey, but we only had 10hrs in San Miguel before our next flight to Terceira. There were no waves to be seen so we decided to take a shot of cement, grab a hire car and head off into the countryside for the day.

We were rewarded with lush green countryside, warm balmy weather and spectacular fresh water volcanic lakes.  At this level of exhaustion, some of the conversations were going pretty sideways and it wasn't long before we were cracking up laughing at the slightest thing.

Just when we thought the day couldn't get any better, we found what we'd been looking for: the hot springs of Fumas. Like some sort of enchanted elfin bath house, fresh water ran down from the surrounding hills to mingle with steaming hot mineral waters from deep underground, forming perfect little wading ponds that the locals had re-enforced with stone & concrete walls... magic!

Shortly after, we rocked up to a riverside botanical garden where we got to chill for a few hours before driving back again. It was exactly what we had needed to boost our energy levels before sleep deprivation loopiness began to set in again.

One of the surfers on Madeira that we had befriended, Valter, had set us up with some fellow surfers in Terceira and we were soon set up in a lush little beachside cottage to call home for the next few days.

We had arrived to find the swell was super small, so settled down and took time to recharge our senses and get some long overdue rest.

San Miguel Hot Springs Magic

Friday 26 June - Last Day in Madeira

By:Andy Sibley with exerts from Dave Wombatovich Published:26th June 2009
Web Party Flyer for S4C event. Artwork by Chris Del Moro and Andy Sibley

Friday was the last day for us in Madeira and we realised how little time we had spent down in the vacuous vortex that is the IWC meetings, choosing to focus our energies on being pro-active amongst the Madieran community.  Our next project was another amazing cetacean mural by Chris Del Moro and Howie Cooke at a local pre-school.

The terrain in Madeira is extremely steep so most of the hillsides have terraced gardens growing fruit and vegetables.  This little school has a food garden that was almost as big as the school it produces for and the kids who maintain it were all napping when the S4C artists arrived.   An hour or so later when the kids woke from their siesta they came outside to see a 10m mural of a humpback whale and two dolphins looking back at them.  Howie also has a beautiful humpback whale mural that began in Byron Bay which has hand prints upon her belly from Australian and Portugese children.  With their palms painted, the kids laid hands on the whale and added their own touch to the whale conservation movement.

The rest of the day was spent running around getting ready for our evening gathering at the wrap up party in the seaside venue Mohle.  The former fortress was converted into a restaurant and club at the front of the harbor side town Funchal. 

The event was a great success, with many locals and people that were here for the IWC attending. The entertainment included a screening of our short film Minds In The Water, a live art show by Howie and Chris, visual petition additions and a celebration of our crew and the local surf community connecting on ocean conservation issues, as well as great music from local djs and our surfing brother Pedro Ramos.  We danced the night away, and were all in gratitude of how supportive everyone in Madeira had been for us. Beautiful island, beautiful people...

Before we knew it, we realised our flight was leaving in a couple of hours and we went to task on packing down our things as the party continued around us. We scurried home, packed our stuff and then made it through the boarding gates with seconds to spare.. Thank you Madeira......Azores here we come!

Chris & Howie do a suprise mural during afternoon siesta Dave & Captain Paul Watson. source: deb bassett S4C & Madeira Surf Crew

Day 4 of IWC Week - Thursday 25 June

By:Wombat Rastovich Published:25th June 2009
Dave cat napping after dolphin cruise.

Our S4C team just got a couple of amazing opportunities  surrounding the IWC.  Our local surfing hook ups Belmiro Mendes and his girlfriend Martha organised a slot for us on the prime time morning radio show that Martha co hosts.  Chris Del Moro, (in house name ‘’Morato’’) and I sat with Martha and her co host Pedro discussed on-air our experiences within the whaling issue, what was happening within the IWC and what we have encountered since arriving in Madeira a few days ago.

The local government in Madeira is quite conservative, the same governing people have been in power for thirty years!!  Previously, surfers have had a rough deal as the bureaucrats signed off on destroying some of the premiere waves on the island all for a few people to have a nice place to sit and view the ocean or go for a coastal walk.  The surfers admit that they perhaps used too much of an aggressive approach to opposing the authorities and that it may have caused the feds to turn around and not listen to any of the surfers requests or opinions.

On the radio show we spoke of how the surfing world is actively involved in habitat and species preservation and that defending these resources has so many beneficial  repercussions that support  the financial, social and spiritual wealth of the locals.  The local surfers here are a passionate core crew that are proud of their island and are not afraid to do what is right for future generations of surfers and the animals and eco systems that surround them.  In my own experience of traveling immersed within surfing communities it is really exciting to feel the passion a lot of young surfers have in the direction of conservation.

After our talk, we gave everyone the heads up about an S4C film, art and music event we were putting on Friday  night at the end of the IWC.  We made our way to the harbor to go and take part in the local whale and dolphin watch expeditions that replaced whaling in Madeira.

Getting on the whale/dolphin watch boat our crew was frothing to get out to sea and away from town for a while.  Although we were all having a lot of fun and feel strongly about our work we can get a bit eggy if we don’t get in the water for a surf or at least a swim every day or so.  Typical surfers in that sense.   As we got a kilometer or so out a big pod of spotted dolphins appeared, everyone starting hooting and whistling as you would for perfect surf.  The pod directed themselves towards us and came for a look.  Under the boat, off the bow and all around us we all got a chance to look into their eyes and remember why we do the work we do for cetaceans.  Their gentle, curious gaze softly fixed on you always brings out a joyful and respectful surge of emotion.  Millions of years of living harmoniously in their watery environment would surely denote vast intelligence, maybe we are just starting to catch up by mimicking their love of surfing..

Some crew got in the water and heard their sonar clicks and squeeks whilst tripping on the clear blue Atlantic waters.  Inspired by contact we returned to shore enlivened and keen to continue our campaign in Madeira, alerting others to the plight of the whales an documenting the painfully political prostration of the  61st International Whaling Commission.

Hilton snaps a passing couple The Beleia Brotherhood Spotted Dolphin. source: Hilton

Day 3 of IWC - S4C Moves Forward

By:Andy Sibley Published:24th June 2009
Dave and Rosa Pire talk about marine issues at Madeira Botanical Gardens

This morning, we were fortunate enough to be able to hook a meeting up with a representative of the local National Parks and Wildlife service, Rosa Pire at the Madeira Botanical Gardens. Rosa and Dave talked at great lengths about the effects fishing was having on the local marine ecosystem, the importance of sanctuaries for the successful increase in population of the endangered Monk Seal (Lobo marinho) and the history of whaling on the island and the positive affects whale and dolphin watching based tourism is now having for the local community.

We then decided to go down to where the IWC was being held and unexpectedly walked straight into a Sea Shepherd campaign launch press conference, held in the lobby of the Pestana Casino Park Hotel.  We were warmly greeted by Captain Paul Watson, who took time out mid-speech to mention us and invite us on stage to display our visual petition banners and talk about who we are and why we are here.

That evening, a few of us went to a private screening of 'The Cove' presented by OPS Assistant Director, Charles Hambleton.  Charles is a super cool cat that has led an extraordinary life, and instantly made us feel at home to be one of the first people to view this amazing film length documentary.  We had been looking forward to seeing The Cove, as many of us had played a part in campaigning against what has been going on in Taiji.

Despite having spent years exposed to the truth of dolphin killing and the whaling industry, we were all completely shell-shocked by the end of the film, some even reduced to tears.  This award-winning documentary delivers the powerful story of Rick O'Barry and his quest to shut down the 'killing cove' in Taiji, Japan where over 23, 000 dolphins and pilot whales are captured and sold to private aquariums or brutally tortured and killed, their carcasses sold as toxic mercury-riddled whale meat on the asian market.

'The Cove' masterfully shows the grim reality of what is still happening in Taiji to this day and simply must be watched if we are to have any chance of stopping it.

Dave Rastovich and Captain Paul Watson at Sea Shepherd campaign launch Visual Petition Banner. souce: Kylie Herd The Cove.  An absolute must-see film by the Ocean Preservation Society.

Aussies Under Attack

By:Mick McIntyre - Whales Alive Media release 2 Published:23rd June 2009
Sea Shepherd crew about to conduct scientific research on Oz's whaling policy

As the 61st meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) got under way today, Australia finds itself under attack from its apparent ally because of its pursuit to end scientific whaling

The conservation group Whales Alive has found out that Australia has been pressured by the US government to change its policy on scientific whaling.

Australia is attempting to break the deadlock at this IWC meeting and stop Japan from using an outdated loophole to conduct. The pressure from the US is coming because of their drive for a compromise

Australia is part of an effort to try to negotiate a package of reforms that would resolve long-standing and intractable differences over whaling. A 28-nation Small Working Group, of which Australia is an active member, was established to consider possibilities. (It met in September, December and in March 2009.)

As part of Australia's efforts to reform the IWC, Australia has brought forward a proposal to bring scientific whaling under the control of the commission. Currently any country can self allocate a quota for killing whales for science.

Over 23 years Japan has successfully exploited a loophole that allows whaling for scientific research. Using explosive harpoons and high calibre rifles that inflict a cruel and prolonged death Japan continues whaling in the Southern Ocean, ignoring the International Whaling Commission


Mick McIntyre is the Director of the conservation organization, Whales Alive

This will be his 15th meeting of the International Whaling Commission. (Five served on the Australian Government delegation)

www.whalesalive.org.au
For interviews with or comment from Mick McIntyre please contact Michael Young 0432 169 147,

Michael.young@optusnet.com.au
or Mick McIntyre direct,

+351 922 186 910

Wombats Unite to Begin IWC Week

By:Dave Rastovich Published:23rd June 2009

Surfers For Cetaceans is in Madeira off the coast of Portugal covering the 61st International Whaling Commission, surfing with locals, and spreading the good will message of defending marine mammals and the waters we share with them. We are also documenting the success of local whalers turning their bloody trade in for the more sustainable and lucrative whale watching industry.

Two Days in Madeira Islands, S4C have been involved in a multitude of events around the island since we arrived. Madeira is a surfing hotspot for European surfers and although we are here for the commission our first mission was to get in the water and wash off thirty something hours of flying from Australia. Three foot peelers below vertical cliffs, and cannon ball rocks falling from above ramped up the small surf into an intense experience. Core members of the local surfing community are guiding our trip here and are stoked to be hanging with our group surfing, painting murals, protesting whaling and enjoying the challenge and excitement of surf travel with a selfless purpose.

Today a couple of us visited the local marine parks and wildlife authorities to learn about Madeiras environmental status and some of the laws in place to protect it’s rich biodiversity. ‘’ through local community support of marine sanctuary zones we have seen marine animal populations increase and even overcome their fear of human interaction. Monk seal populations are recovering from the negative impact of commercial fishing and are now being spotted all over Madeira for the first time in many years. I am convinced that if people have a healthy respect for nature we can all restore balance and harmony to eco systems that have suffered by mans destructive activities’’, said Rosa Pires from the Parks and Wildlife. She has just started surfing and reminded me of similar success stories from California, Australia and New Zealand where sanctuary and ‘no kill’ zones have returned a balance to eco systems and inspired locals to respect and preserve their natural resources.

Whilst we were hearing from Rosa some of the S4C team were at the IWC meeting with our mates from Sea Shepherd who usually scare the s#*t out of Japanese delegates at the meeting by just peacefully hanging aroundand are usually tailed by police and armed guards everywhere they go. Captain Paul alerted the media to Sea Shepherds plan of going down to the southern ocean again this coming whaling season under the campaign name Operation Waltzing Matilda.

Attending the commission today we got word that the very sensitive issue of Greenland killing ten endangered humpback whales would be on the agenda within the next twenty four hours and that Australia would outrageously support Greenlands desire for that kill. Australia is a nation that protects and adores their humpback population that has slowly recovered from being almost wiped out by whaling. We are hoping that this rumour isn’t true and that Peter Garrett will act on behalf of the Australian people and not support the killing of endangered humpback whales anywhere in the world. Hopefully the rumour has as little substance as most of the political rhetoric that is spoken at the IWC and the killing of endangered whales will not be allowed in any of the oceans.
 
Keep your eyes on the horizon and an ear to the wind for our next update from this crazy beautiful surf zone and infuriating meeting….

Madeira Adventure Begins. 21 - 22 June

By:Andy Sibley Published:22nd June 2009

Sleep deprived and hungry, we wobbled into Madeira with no idea what to expect.  The place looked serene yet surreal. Postcard perfect with dramatic cliffs flowing all the way down to warm Atlantic waters, cool ocean winds, modest dwellings of obvious Portuguese influence and super clean streets reminding us that although Madeira is situated off the coast of Africa, we were definitely still in a European country.

The first thing to blow us away is the incredible engineering skills undertaken to position so many houses onto the side of hills of near vertical ascent. On top of that, every available space was utilized to grow things...  cabbage patches, corn fields, horses, green houses and farming machinery was dotted throughout the country side, even through the main city, Funchal.

Our man on the ground, Belmiro, gains instant legendary status by completely sorting us out with pimpin' accommodation, hire car, food and most importantly...we're in the water surfing within a few short hours of landing.  The wave is a tricky reefbreak that twists and weaves upon itself towards a rocky shore.  Chris and Belmiro are all over it, finding sneaky cover ups and digging their rails deep while the rest of us struggle to make it to our feet.

Dave, Hilton and John are still another day away and the super friendly locals inform us that the swell will disappear pretty soon. Jonny Vasic, the newest of our crew and ex-international director of Sea Shepherd hits the ground running.  Hires a car and drives straight to the break to meet us. Howie, Chris, Justin and myself are slowly starting to feel the fade after a hectic 24hrs and spend the rest of the day shooting ideas for what we're going to do in the upcoming week.

By the morning, we're feeling great and are woken up by the frantic sounds of Belmiro bouncing around trying to drag us back to the waves.. 'C'monnnnn maannnnnn, the waaaaves......they're goooiiinnngggggg...!!' He's frothing and pretty soon, we're in the water, tearing around on fun little waves and meeting more surfers in the water and along the beach.  The surf crew in Madeira turn out to be unbelievably helpful and pretty soon, we've hooked up free boat trips to see the whales, meeting the director of National Parks for the area and connections for the next leg of our journey in the Azores. 

Even more astounding, Belmiro's girlfriend, Marta, has the biggest (possibly only?) radio breakfast show on the island and is amped to help the cause, letting locals know what the IWC is really about and help promote S4C.

Howie spent the day down at the IWC conference, being bounced by security, police, plain clothes and general grunt all around the venue but still managed to connect with fellow NGO reps. By nightfall, we're fully buzzing with ideas and plans.. and with the arrival of Rasta and crew, we celebrate and begin to nut out our plan of attack.

Madeira from Plane.  source: Howie Cooke Madeira from Plane.  source: Howie Cooke Epic sunset in secret surf spot

Japan: No Good Faith

By:Excerpt from Eco Broadsheet - Vol LXI. No. 1 Published:22nd June 2009

During the past two years of negotiations with Japan to achieve the Hogarth Deal, Japan has repeatedly demonstrated its contempt for the process and for the majority of the IWC countries by:

     -  Pursuing its so-called "Scientific" whaling scheme full-bore in the Antarctic.
    - Accepting 77 tons of whale meat imported from Iceland and Norway
    - Continuing so-called "scientific" whaling in the North Pacific, which includes killing coastal whales.
    - Continuing to kill over 20,000 coastal dolphins and small cetaceans in the cruelest manner imaginable.
   - Refusing to label or remove toxic dolphin and whale meat from their markets, effectively poisoning their markets, effectively poisoning their own people without a health warning.

Eco observes that this cannot be construed as "negotiating in good faith".

Source: Howie Cooke 1993 Source: Howie Cooke 1993

S4C Kicks off Baleia AtlânticaTour

By:Andy Sibley Published:21st June 2009

We began the first wave of our northern cetacean campaign, Baleia Atlântica (Atlantic Whale) in the small coastal town of Baleal, Portugal.

Baleal is situated just over an hours drive from Portugal's capital, Lisbon.  It's an area that has experienced rapid tourism growth over the last few years and much of this growth is due to it's idealic climate, pristine beaches and a whole range of surfing breaks in close proximity.

We were invited to the area by our good friend and fellow surfer, Francisco Gonçalves, who we had met the previous year at IWC60 in Santiago, Chile.  Francisco works as a campaigner/consultant for IFAW and would be going onto this year's IWC with us.  Despite busily preparing for this event, he had also organised an Eco-Surf Festival to coincide with our arrival.

The three day festival was held in beautiful sunny conditions, with great waves and hundreds of surfers, locals and tourists from all over the world.  The festival had a strong emphasis on marine and coastal environmental awareness as many of the local surfers wished to draw attention to the increasing amount of pollution that was being washed up along the shores from tourism and poor waste management practices with tourism explosion. The festival was a great success and some of the activities included beach clean-ups, paddle contests, live bands and an art exhibition.  

S4C's co-founder, Howie Cooke was quick to make friends with the local crew and within a day of arriving, painted a 20m whale mural on the side of a beach house, close to the festival. Chris Del Moro, S4C USA, took part in the first ever Portuguese paddle contest which involved a gruelling 2.5km long board paddle around a headland, into open water and back into the main bay.  Much to the frustration of the local contestants, Chris won his heat and went on to win the whole event.

After three incredible days of sun, sand and pumping waves, we celebrated the end of the festival with a big feast at a local beachhouse and the screening of Justin Krumb's Minds in the Water TV release.  In true Portuguese style, everyone chatted, drank and danced long into the night while we quietly slipped away to get a few short hours sleep before we set off to begin the next leg of our journey to the subtropical island of Madeira.

Side Note: We'd like to thank the crew at the SurfCastle in Baleal who not only had the coolest guest house but were super generous, friendly and funny.

Diplomacy wont stop whaling

By:Mick McIntyre - Whales Alive Media release Published:19th June 2009

Next week’s International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Madeira in Portugal will see Australian Federal Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett struggling to fulfil an election promise made by the Rudd government to stop whaling, while at home thousands of his fellow Australians will be watching these majestic creatures as the annual migration north to warmer waters gets under way

Minister Garrett has indicated this week that the Australian government will be taking a diplomatic stance at next weeks meeting

Meanwhile Japan has also indicated that it plans to expand its so called scientific whaling as the IWC attempts to find a consensus among delegates that will stop the barbaric killing of industry.

85 nations will attend the IWC meeting among an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust.

Using explosive harpoons and high calibre rifles that inflict a cruel and prolonged death Japan continues whaling in the Southern Ocean, ignoring the IWC moratorium of 1982 which bans commercial whaling. Over several years Japan has successfully exploited a loophole that allows whaling for scientific research.

Mick McIntyre, Director of Whales Alive, the non-profit group dedicated to the protection of whales said today,

"The Japanese whaling program under the banner of scientific research is an absolute sham and a disgrace; it is in fact commercial whaling in disguise. While the world sits back and does nothing thousands of whales - minke (many of which are pregnant) Fin whales and potentially Humpbacks fall victim to Japan’s insatiable appetite for whale meat."

Japan has indicated that it will set a quota of more than 1,000 minke and whales to be killed in the name of scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean this coming year.

"Whales Alive calls on the Federal government to deliver on its election promise to stop Japan’s barbaric whaling industry," Mr McIntyre said.

"The question to Minster Garrett is what part of next weeks diplomatic efforts will stop Japan's scientific whaling. ? It is clear that Diplomacy is not going to stop whaling."

Mick McIntyre will be attending the IWC meeting in Madeira and will file a daily behind the scenes no-nonsense report on each day’s event. He will also be available for instant comment 24/7

Mick McIntyre is the Director of the conservation organization, Whales Alive

. This will be his 15th meeting of the International Whaling Commission. (Five served on the Australian Government delegation)
www.whalesalive.org.au
For interviews with or comment from Mick McIntyre please contact Michael Young 0432 169 147,

Michael.young@optusnet.com.au
or Mick McIntyre direct,

+351 922 186 910

S4C Heading for Europe

By:Dave Rastovich Published:16th June 2009
Dolphins in Azores. source: www.aito-spain-and-portugal-holidays.co.uk

Surfers For Cetaceans' core members Howie Cooke, Justin Krumb, Andy Sibley, Jonny Vasic, Chris Del Moro and myself are attending the 61st International Whaling Commission in Madeira Island.  A European surfing hot spot, Madeira will host government representatives, international conservation groups and the whalers themselves all within a stones throw from some of the most beautiful surfing locations on Earth.

Once again S4C will report back to our home countries and global surfing community with details of the meeting,  whilst also letting the whalers feel our strong opposition to their crime of whaling through our protests, press statements and daily expressions of stink eye directed their way.

Having attended previous IWC's we know this meeting is a perfect example  of beaurecratic double talk and empty promises.  Whilst this can be quite frustrating it  also serves as a great motivator for our team.
  
Thanks to the amazing generosity of the surfing community and industry, S4C has enough support to attend this meeting and then also venture further into the issue of whaling and carry on our efforts directly after the IWC.  Our team is traveling out to the Azores Islands to document the success story of whalers turn whale watchers who made the decision to switch trades before all the whales were killed. The locals are enjoying a booming tourism trade that is positively affecting the whole community in the islands.  

We'll be surfing, painting murals, meeting with school children, community elders, ex whalers, conservationists and local surfers with the intention of documenting the story of the successful evolution of the whaling industry which had the vision to end their bloody trade and start fresh with sustainable and peaceful whale watch businesses.

Our journey won't end there, we have plans to continue our European campaign into other areas of Europe that are connected to the tragedy and crime of whaling.....  stay tuned to our daily blogs and diaries as we work to protect our ocean kin.

Sperm Whale Fluke -  Source: www.treknature.com Paul do Mar - Source: Will Henry. www.surfline.com

Baleal Surf Fest 'Festival de Surf, Música e Arte'

By:Andy sibley Published:10th June 2009
Tepee

On the 19th and 20th June in the town of Baleal will be held the BALEAL SURF FEST; with various activities related to the surf including the conservation of cetaceans and the environment.

Music concerts, Surfing activities, shows and creation of art, and various other events will be the motto to send a clear message to all Commissioners of 85 countries in the IWC. The moratorium of 1986 is more important today than ever and we have to rethink our relationship with the environment and leave aside the anthropocentrism that defines that all resources on earth are for our use, exploitation, and pleasure and adopt a more eco-bio-centrist if we continue on this planet.

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