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(yes we know that whales are mammals)

Sea Shepherd are offering a $10,000 Reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person/s responsible for killing sea lions in Puget Sound, State of Washington, US. Eight sea lions have been found shot dead in recent weeks. In 2011 they'd offered a reward of $11,500 which led to the arrest and conviction of a man responsible for the deaths of 22 sea lions in New Zealand. “The person or persons responsible for these shootings must be apprehended and brought to justice”, said Captain Paul Watson from onboard the Steve Irwin in the Ross Sea. The penalty ranges from fees to possible jail time. One of the sea lions found was a Stellar sea lion, protected under the endangered species act found in the Northern Pacific. Another found in West Seattle was a Californian Sea Lion also protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Sea Shepherd are still on their Whale Defence campaign 2012, Operation Divine Wind on the tail of Japanese whaling ships that are illegally targeting whales in the Southern Ocean.

At the moment the trial of Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen is underway in Wakayama, Japan. February the 3rd marks his 50th day of imprisonment. The defence presented their case in court on Wednesday (1st). The defendant entered the room in shackles whilst attached to a leash. “By treating him this way they make it appear like he has been charged with murder,” said Captain Paul Watson, in his usual conciliatory style. On December 16th Erwin Vermeulen was arrested in Taji, Japan, whilst attempting to take photos of dolphins being transported from holding pens to the Dolphin Resort Hotel. Erwin is accused of using violence against a hotel employee. Erwin denies the charge. Sign the petition demanding his immediate release. Closing arguments will take place on February 16th and the day of the verdict is set for the 22nd of the same month. Sea Shepherd has called for candlelight vigils in Erwin’s honour. Erwin travelled to Japan to dedicate his time to the Cove Guardian mission. The Cove guardians document the annual Dolphin slaughter that takes place in Taiji. Every year around 20,000 dolphins and small whales get harvested during the slaughter. This is put down to what they call a centuries old tradition, in fact it is decades old and the incentive is profit rather than due to any nostalgic notions of the past. Not only that, but the dolphin meat itself is toxic due to high mercury levels (mercury, like many human derived pollutants, get more concentrated the higher up the food chain you go), so apart from the cruelty of this enterprise its consumption is slowly poisoning the populace. Who knows, maybe they'll poison themselves before they kill all the dolphins. 

In other nautical news, Animal Liberation Front activists visited one of the most destructive fishing companies in Europe, Kali Tuna, based in Ugljan, an island off the Croatian coastline. On Friday (27th) during the night, ALF activists paid a visit to the Bluefin Tuna farms of the company. A tuna pen around 500 metres off shore was made ineffective by cutting the net and enabling the fish to swim out into the open. A similar action took place last year; the target was a Maltese tuna farm. It amounted to 100,000 Euros worth of damages to the company and the liberation of an undisclosed number of animals. The ALF vowed to “intensify its efforts against this shameful and ruthless industry. Any company and operation that is responsible for the critical state of this magnificent animal species is on our list”.

The Cove, a critical documentary about dolphin hunting culture, is showing at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton on Sunday 11th March at 18:30. All proceeds will go to Black Fish, a European based marine wildlife conservation organisation.

Stories about similar subjects...

We take a look at the forthcoming slaughter and find very little justification for it.

Crossover episode fun as Crawley and Horsham hunt joint master allows fracking on his land in Balcombe Sussex

 Sea Shepherd and the Japanese fleet are in the Southern Ocean in their 8th annual showdown. Three Australian protesters are transferred to the Australian customs ACV Ocean Protector after gatecrashing the Shonan Maru 2.

Sea Shepherd activists kit themselves out with a spy drone

The Sea Shepherd Crew set sail for the Southern Whale Sanctuary in the Antarctic. They are making a beeline for the Japanese whaling fleet which this year were given cash appropriated from Tsunami relief funding to help them, er, kill more whales.

Forty hunt sabs from around the south-east headed up to get on the case of the notorious Old Surrey and Burstow hunt near Tandridge in Surrey this Saturday (3rd). They were met with a heavy-handed police response - two arrests and the seizure of the South Down's groups vehicle.

Saturday 5th of November was not just the 406th anniversary of an attempt by a group of religious zealots to seize power, it was also the 10th anniversary of the death of activist Barry Horne...

Hunters continue to flout the law on hunting with dogs, and sabs continue to get in their way every week.

Twitter: @SchNEWS