Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) second presentation of their 25th annual Winter Speaker Series, Neptune’s Navy - Sea Shepherd on the Front Lines!, features Tamara Arenovich, Communications Coordinator for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
What do we do when laws protecting our planet, the only one we have, are continuously ignored, when violence against nature becomes accepted as the norm and when the legislative and judicial systems fail and enforcement is scoffed at? In an effort to effectively grapple with and find a solution to these issues, Captain Paul Watson in 1977 founded Sea Shepherd, an international, non-profit, direct-action marine wildlife conservation organization specializing in aggressive, but non-violent, interventions against unlawful exploitation of ocean wildlife and habitats.
Sea Shepherd now has more than four decades of experience opposing illegal whaling, sealing, and fishing operations, and has established itself as the leading marine interventionist group in the world. Whether working in partnership with government agencies or operating in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations World Charter for Nature, Sea Shepherd is a tireless advocate for the enforcement of international treaties, laws, and regulations protecting marine species and their environment, and does not hesitate to enforce these legal charters as circumstances require.
The efforts of Watson’s largely volunteer crews in the Souther Ocean around Antarctica saving whales from Japanese whalers have been popularized by the acclaimed and often harrowing, Animal Planet television series Whale Wars. Lesser known, is that Sea Shepherd operations also have been successful around the globe intercepting poachers in the Galapagos Islands, shutting down illegal whaling operations in numerous oceans, blockading sealing ships, rescuing dolphins in Japan, patrolling beaches in the Caribbean to stop turtle poaching, and confiscating illegal driftnets and longlines all over the world.
On May 8, 2012 FOMB hosted Captain Paul Watson here as part of this series and he spoke to a sold-out crowd filling the Maine Maritime Museum’s Longreach Hall. Shortly thereafter on May 13, Captain Watson was arrested in Germany under a Costa Rican extradition warrant relating to an incident in 2002 when the boat he was piloting attempted to stop poachers illegally killing sharks. While innocent of the charges, Watson jumped bail in July of 2012 and spent the next 15 months at sea. On September 14, 2012 Costa Rica issued an Interpol Red Notice for his arrest. After his escape to sea, Watson ended up back in the US, settling in Vermont. In March, 2019, Costa Rica dropped the charges against him since video evidence supported his innocence.
Tamara Arenovich is an activist with and Communications Coordinator for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. She has participated in 10 direct-action campaigns over the years, including Operation Milagro - Sea Shepherd’s frontline efforts to prevent the extinction of the world’s most endangered marine mammal. Her activism was most recently featured in the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy. Driven by passion and a love for the ocean, Tamara transitioned into ocean conservation after a lengthy career in healthcare and academia. She currently lives in Mexico. Captain Watson’s arrest episode changed the structure and operations of Sea Shepherd somewhat. Arenovich will be providing an update on their recent activities, active campaigns, and future directions. https://seashepherd.org/
FOMB hosts their Winter Speaker Series October-May, the second Wednesday of each month. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the series continues via Zoom. The FOMB December 8th presentation, “King Phillip’s War: Impacts on Merrymeeting Bay”, features Bruce Bourque, now directing the Merrymeeting Bay Pioneers Project, formerly Chief Archaeologist, Maine State Museum and also Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Bates College, emeritus.
This event takes place 7:00 pm with the Zoom access link available at www.fomb.org a week or so prior to the presentation.