Sea Shepherd Halts Vessel Operations
Sea Shepherd Global has decided that its ships, all of which are presently in port, will self-quarantine for at least the next 14 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The health authorities in almost all our partner countries have registered cases of COVID-19 and as a result those governments are wisely implementing travel restrictions,” said the organization in a statement.
Sea Shepherd notes that when the Ebola virus disease hit Liberia, illegal trawlers moved in by the dozens.
The quarantine means that the group is suspending its operations to protect the world's most critically endangered marine mammal, the vaquita. Two Sea Shepherd ships usually patrol the region of the Gulf of California where the porpoises live. As there are only an estimated 12 vaquitas left in existence, the organization holds fears for the demise of the species.
“Like when the pursuit of the Interpol-wanted fishing vessel Thunder began in 2014, we don’t know when this latest trial will end - but end it will. When it does, our chase of poachers will continue with us wiser, healthier and stronger than ever before,” said the organization.
In March, the Dutch Postcode Lottery announced it will donate a record amount of over €376 million to 123 charities this year, including €2.88 million ($3.1 million) to Sea Shepherd.