Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sea Shepherd in Fiji - WTF???

Definitely NOT a bimbette - as proven by the many comments!

Oh for crying out loud.
I really loathe giving more bandwidth to that disrespectful fiasco - but now, Julie Andersen has really crossed the line.
So there.

So, apparently, this is all a terrible misunderstanding.
  • The bombastic video? A misunderstanding!
    It turns out that there was really no intention of creating a rapid response force to do battle all over the world, and that, really, nobody is actually gonna be putting their lives on the line to fight the battle no-one else would take on!
    So what is this - just a lot of self congratulatory bullshit aimed at impressing the credulous sheeple and perpetuating the myth of the death-defying pirates? Probably - and it works! Case in point: They risk their live to saving wildlife, they are the best!!!
    So what are we to believe? The sanctimonious assurances on the project website or the on-camera statements by the self enamored Leaders? Talk about a case of institutional schizophrenia and of trying to brazenly upstage Stefanie and her Pacific Shark Initiative!

  • The plan to come to Fiji? A misunderstanding!
    The first press release of May 14 reads, and I cite: Captain Watson will captain one of at least two ships that will leave Australia next month for Fiji to begin the hunt for illegal shark finners. Most certainly a misunderstanding!
    And Paul Watson's statement that The Sea Shepherd South Pacific Shark Campaign Operation Requiem is departing the Solomon Islands for Fiji under the leadership of Shark Angel Julie Anderson? A misunderstanding, much like the article in the Fiji Times!
    Anyway, tempi passati. We now learn that they have made a new plan (= by changing the one that did not exist to start with?) and that the floating babemobile is going somewhere else, and thank God for small favors.
    Whatever - right?

  • And the involvement of the Shark Angels? A misunderstanding!
    Despite of the banner suggesting the exact opposite, I learn that this is really an initiative by Sea Shepherd only, because Shark Angels is a separate organization! For once, I am really tempted to take this at face value, the more as the blog is on the SSCS website and that a press release informs us that Julie Andersen, founder of Shark Savers and Shark Angels, joined Sea Shepherd to lead the organisation's global campaign to save sharks from extinction.
    So let's take that to the bank - Andersen works for Sea Shepherd.
    The obvious question being, does Shark Angels even want to be associated with this shit, and has anybody there even been consulted?
And now, she is here.
So much for Again, Sea Shepherd has no intention of entering Fiji!
David describes it as follows
Told they weren't needed, told they weren't wanted, asked to stay away to avoid causing offence but still they go and the first thing they do? Start spreading longlining propaganda only two weeks away from the decision as to whether Fiji introduces the world's greatest shark sanctuary. Has Sea Shepherd crossed the line from tasteless self promotion to the totally indefensible? Three years of hard work jeopardized for a PR stunt... and Patric has posted this.

Those posts are about this utter stupidity.
So some pampered bimbo from the US has made the mind-boggling discovery that fishermen are just ordinary people trying to make ends meet like everybody else, and that they do not like it when somebody tells them not to fish. Wow - and to top that off, the representative of none other than Sea Shepherd (!) comes to the conclusion that conservation is not just about taking a black-and-white stand! Priceless!
And in communicating these revolutionary insights to the uninformed masses, she is offering the guy a global platform for asserting that the fishing industry has not been consulted (a bold faced lie), that the Shark Sanctuary will be useless and that it won't happen anyway because there is no consensus from the fishermen, as if the latter was ever gonna be a realistic option.
And this on the website of the SSCS???

And that's not all!
After complaining about having been obviously denied permission to act as a volunteer teacher, she then has the audacity to go to a remote village and teach? And to then brazenly pose (again!) with the kids? And maybe even film?
Because it didn’t matter what the government thought?

And all of this on a tourist visa???

Needing and loving the light?
Indeed: the limelight, and this at any price! I mean, seriously, how many more pictures of Julie Andersen can the world possibly stomach! Look at me me me me ME!
No she is neither bad, nor is she a political activist, or whatever - quite to the contrary, she is probably well intentioned. But she's not very smart, lacks substance, understands nothing and is quite obviously a narcissist and rather shameless self promoter.
Not to worry, given time these things tend to sort themselves out.

But here and now, it is simply unacceptable.

This noise is now directly affecting the Fiji Shark Sanctuary Campaign.
Please do read this post by Shark Defenders. These are the facts (e.g. four consultations!) and these are the organizations government has chosen to invite and engage with when considering Shark conservation measures.
Fiji is awash in NGOs big and small, and the marine conservation community is tightly knit and pervaded by a spirit of cooperation despite of the inevitable competitive aspects. With some notable and rather inexplicable exceptions, they all have tacitly agreed not to interfere and to let the campaign run its course and when asked for opinions, they all tote the company line and defer to the decisions and leadership of the project team.

This is a process.
It includes regular information and consultations, and now that government has announced that a decision is forthcoming, several entities are starting to discuss ways to facilitate the implementation after a possible, but by no means certain (!) positive outcome - and let there be no doubt that this crap is certainly not helping!
The specific strategies will vary depending on the specific content of any forthcoming Shark decree - but from what is transpiring now, they will certainly neither involve pointy boats with green volunteers playing deputy sheriff, nor will there be a need for parachuting in foreign volunteer teachers and the like.
Teaching is the exclusive domain of the Ministry of Education and when it comes to outreach & awareness, the local NGOs are more than capable of deploying their Fijian staff who know exactly what they are talking about, and how to best get the message across.
Having said this, any assistance from abroad will be welcome - provided that it is being solicited and that it is genuine and not merely showboating for the media.
But not now.

This is why I am so pissed off.
This very much smells like the attempt at yet another brazen conservation heist - Palau all over again. The org is not welcome, and the individuals representing it have been told in no uncertain terms to wait and not to interfere. And yet they do and to my dismay, it very much appears that somebody here in Fiji is aiding and abetting.

Look, guys.
You know who you are and I am not going to point fingers because of a sense of local solidarity and in one case, even respect and possibly even friendship. I know that opinions and agendas differ and in the case of the industry, I also understand the need for bums in bunks, and the allure of being featured in the media. But with all due respect, this has now gone far beyond being private for family and friends and simply diving with Sharks.
The way I read it, those people should not be here to start with. And now that they are, instead of acting like legitimate tourists, they are upsetting the process at a critical time, and need to be reigned in. As a minimum, tell them to enjoy their holiday, keep a low profile and above all, to shut the f up!

If this continues unabated, it will end in tears.
Everybody here knows where they are now, and where they are going to be in one week's time. There is a strong indication that this involves capturing commercial media and if so, your identity will be eventually revealed - and you may want to make sure that you are not going to be embarrassed when it does?

Just a suggestion!

PS Patric on conservation boondoggling and St. Paul here!
PS2 David here!


Anonymous said...

Sea Shepherd has a lot to learn about working in the Pacific!

OfficetoOcean said...

Given the exposure this article has had already, seeing it spread all over Facebook, I am actually quite surprised at the relative silence in the comments section. Could it be that even the most ardent believer Shepherdism is unable to defend this shameful episode?

Anonymous said...

What REALLY upsets me is that they were CLEARLY told to stay away, and that their presence there, they could jeopardize the whole thing. So what do they do? They show up! Shows just how damn little they care about sharks. SSCS and SA absolutely disgust me!!

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Conservation Rocks Stars...rather lightweight tho, punching above their weight class with glossy videos and hoping no one, god forbid you rabid dogs, notice the deception;)

Wait, does this post make me a rabid dog as well?


Wolfgang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wolfgang said...

The more I hear / read about the Shepherds and the Shark Angels, the less I like them. They never impressed me, to be sure, but I still thought they deserved some credit. Not anymore.

I am sure Watson just looooves to be in Frankfurt in an air-conditioned prison - he now gets the type of international PR coverage he is addicted to: People should see in him either a fearless eco-hero who risks his life getting "shot" at by the bad guys or, now, a martyr suffering unjustly for "the cause".

I still wish him well, and hope his lawyers will succeed in convincing the regional court in Frankfurt that he should not be extradited to Costa Rica. Prisons in Costa Rica have no air-conditioning, and what they serve their inmates probably ain't exactly gourmet food...


Watson and Andersen - they are some odd team... But let me just leave it at that.

I will tell you why: Paul Wildman, truly a wild man and Julie's business partner, lover, fiance, body-guard, - whatever - has already threatened to track me down in Bolivia if I wouldn't stop "bad-mouthing" his friends, the Shepherds, the Shark Angels & Co.

Thus, you will appreciate that I have to be very, very careful, indeed!!! Even a ten-year old could beat the shit out of me given my present physical condition. Imagine what a grown up could do to me...

So, yes, this Paul character and I certainly don't have a good relationship. He called me once, publicly, a "motherfucker" - he was wrong: I loved my late mother but I didn't fuck her. I, in turn, called him recently a "giggolo", and I could be wrong, too. But at least we got sort of even - harharharhar... :-)

We all know sharks, including the sharks of the Fiji islands, don't really need pathologically narcissistic people like Watson and Andersen.

Sharks need people that are for real, and REALLY love sharks: People like Ila France-Porcher, Cristina Zenato, Lesley Rochat, Alex the Sharkman, and so many others out there.

DaShark said...

Me too, I never liked either – but that’s not really the topic here.
The topic is that Sea Shepherd has been told to stay away by government, and that the Fiji Sanctuary project team has personally asked the very individuals that are currently here not to interfere.
And yet they have chosen to come, and are interfering.

Like you, I wish Watson well.
Nobody deserves to be slapped into jail for being a conservationist - but then again, he’s certainly been pushing both envelopes and buttons, and deserves his day in court.
I have no doubt whatsoever that he’ll eventually walk free and that in the process, the case will generate plenty of media shining a spotlight on the situation of Sharks in CR. I equally have no doubt that since everybody is watching, the court case will be totally transparent and that justice will be served.
And the stories about sending him to his death and the like – total BS and the usual propaganda to impress the sheeple and relieve them of even more $$$.
If that were true, Randall Arauz would have been dead years ago!

Andersen, meh.
I’m being sent brand-new pics of her donning a silver wetsuit with dorsal fin!!! - so we can all look forward to be regaled with more idiotic images, likely filmed in Fiji, likely illegally.

Which begs the question, and Patric is of course right: is this junket being financed by donor money?

To be continued no doubt!

The Sharkman said...

These are the guys saying that "They are all that stands between Sharks and extinction" and that ‎"They are fighting the battles that no one wants to fight"
Who the hack are they kidding?? All they are doing is interfering were they do not belong and were they are not wanted. They should do everyone a favour and leave. They should definitely stand back and watch how things are done in Fiji. Maybe they will learn something.

@ Wolfie.
Thanks for your kind words my friend. Right now, I wish I had the strength and energy to do much more. Recovery is taking a very long time.

SharkWarrior said...

I support the good efforts of all of those out there trying to help save our sharks. The more of us, the better, that is what is needed if we are to have real impact. I also think becoming ambassadors in our individual capacities only promotes the cause and helps raise necessary awareness further.

But I also believe being in integrity and being honest about what we stand for and why we are doing it must remain our priority at all times, our personal ambitions to always come second next to the critical conservation issues we are fighting.

We will not always like each other, or each others methods of achieving the results but so long as our focus is on achieving results for the cause we represent and not on growing personal glory – besides, if we do an honest job we will get the recognition which is our due, that is automatic and a rule of the Universe.

I was therefore disappointed when watching this video of what came across as pure arrogance, and as an obvious PR & marketing stint with little real conservation cred. Pointing to this further is the embarrassment they are bringing upon themselves re Fiji.

Despite this, it is my honest hope that they will find a way to make this work positively, and what they have allowed to start on the wrong footing they can change for the better, for the sake of our sharks, which is what it should be all about.

Lesley Rochat

Wolfgang said...

You are right, Mike - I drifted off topic but I felt I had to say what I wrote even though it was not "balanced".

I still realize that both Watson and Andersen are also driven by a strong conviction to make a change. It is just the questionable way the do it that I TOTALLY dislike.

However, perhaps I should fume less - at the end of the day we are all "arme kleine Wuerstchen" (= "poor small sausages").....

Douglas David SEIFERT said...

I am appalled by Sea Shepherd's actions in Fiji. I believe they were effective in keeping the world attentions on Japan's whaling and that is where they needed to keep their focus. But then egos and greed were introduced in the form of television (un)reality programming and the organization became self-deluded, drank its own Kool-Aid, and turned into a cult of narcissism hiding behind the skirts of conservation. This is when it attracted the real nut-jobs, which, I am sorry to say, are the ones driving the media output. As for Shark Angels, what was a fine idea of grabbing media attention and putting the spotlight on shark conservation, is rapidly being debased into a bimbo festival thanks to Julie Anderson's bimbo stunts and photo ops.
If Sea Shepherd and Shark Angels wish to retain my respect and their credibility in the eyes of the world, they would do well to look at what message they are actually putting out, not the message they want to put out.
And, they would be better respected if they would act as good guests and respect their hosts wishes, in this case the government of Fiji, the NGOs that have been doing the heavy lifting ever so subtly for the past ten years and the Fijian people who are very well aware of the value of the ocean and their local sharks and don't need parachute activists and tabloid journalists causes a kerfuffle.