Sunday, September 08, 2013

Operation Requiem - Anniversary!

Where's the  babemobile now? Source.

So there.

This brief exchange reminds me of unfinished business.
It is now one year since Julie Andersen and Co got their hands on Sea Shepherd's pointy babemobile and embarked on a junket across the South Pacific - and it is now high time for one last look at that shit.

But first.
Remember the bombastic announcement?

It still makes me puke whenever I watch it.
Like I said from the outset, the whole BS about kicking ass, stopping at nothing, putting one's life on the line and being willing to DIE had nothing to do with conservation but was instead Andersen's attempt at starring on some sharky Whale Wars clone on Animal Planet. But worry not, I'm not about to bore you with yer another repetitive rant. Should you really have missed the whole kerfuffle when it happened, you can check out what I've posted here when I awarded it the Shark Conservation Con of the Year.

Instead, I want to talk about this.
Sounds great doesn't it - were it not for the fact that like the whole campaign, it's just simply a big heap of BS! To wit, protected one of the world’s largest marine reserves, stopped illegal fishing = boarded legal purse seiners in the PIPA! Talk about a double con: the specific activity but also the fake protected area

Even if one overlooks the details, the general gist of that page is that Andersen's junket has been a great Shark conservation success and that it has paved the way for greater and better things to come, see the reference to several partnerships with local governments and NGO’s and the laying of the groundwork for the establishment of locally protected marine areas in 3 countries.

And the reality one year later?
  • Is the babemobile under its vociferous captain honoring the given assurances and patrolling the waters of Tonga, Kiribati and Vanuatu that gave such warm welcomes? 
  • Are the SSCS and/or the Shark Angels working collaboratively with those several South Pacific governments and NGOs as announced - and if so, where, and what are the results? 
  • And what of those LMMAs - what is the progress there?
Or may Operation Requiem STILL be nothing but a scam?
I'm asking because I am hearing and reading NOTHING - and I betcha it's because NOTHING is happening! From what I can discern, Andersen has been terminated, see below;  Fisk, meh; and the sly Ms Basset is back to being her radical shepherdette self in Hawaii. Initiatives from those quarters, let alone successes in protecting the Sharks in the South Pacific: a big fat zero.
On the contrary: Tonga under its Shepherd of the Sea has since opened its doors to unlimited Shark fishing and finning - and the PIPA has since been fittingly outed as a scam
Or not? Surprise me!

The Pacific Voyagers?
Having employed some of the voyagers, my impression was that this was nothing but yet another junket on other people's money, namely some wealthy and IMO hopelessly romantic and credulous German dude who came up with and financed the whole exercise - and observing the local leaders parade around in their big SUVs whilst preaching sustainability to others has certainly done nothing to dispel my reservations.
I believe that this pseudo-cultural retro movement does nothing in addressing the aspirations of the young generation of Pacific Islanders that are desperately looking for a vision of the future, foremost of which decent jobs and decent lives. For that, like anybody else, they will need to have a good education and then be willing to work hard - and I'm concerned to see zero reference to that in the Voyagers' messaging. But as always the proof is in the pudding, and it remains to be seen whether now that the voyage and with it, the indiscriminate funding have ended, there will be any lasting and tangible legacy.
But I'm obviously digressing - progress for Sharks, zero!

Sea Shepherd?
If my suspicion is accurate and NOTHING has happened in the past twelve months and that consequently, the overarching campaign is nothing but hot air - why, exactly, is this stuff still on their website? 
Whereas I will always remain opposed to the personality cult and its brand of radical activism, Sea Shepherd's largely overlooked Shark conservation activities in the Galapagos have been nothing short of stellar. And I must also say that as of late, I've been rather impressed with Gary Stokes' work at CITES and more recently, on the airline and shipping lines campaigns - the more since trusted friends think very highly of him. Plus, would that be a vintage BAD t-shirt? :)
So why tarnish the Shark conservation effort with this shit - the more as the Pacific is already so well served by the literally countless NGOs and especially, Pew?
Or again: surprise me!

And the breathy Director of Shark Campaigns?
According to this posting on SSCS France, she has been terminated because when questioned about her association with Scubapro that stands accused of supporting marine Mammal captivity, she has by no means put her life on the line, or whatever, but has instead chosen to continue taking Scubapro's money - and no I'm not at all surprised!
But fear not, she's obviously completely unfazed, still desperately kissing Discovery's arse and already working on her next Shark con - and talk about a revealing choice of name if ever there was one!

To be continued no doubt - alas!


Angelo Villagomez said...

They really should have googled that name before choosing it.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

First of all an indulgence and a short education of the word, "Boondoggle."

Boondoggle - work of little or no value done merely to look busy waste, wastefulness, dissipation - useless or profitless activity; using or expending or consuming thoughtlessly or carelessly; "if the effort brings no conservation gain it is a waste"; "mindless dissipation of donor resources."

Which brings us to the topic du jour, Sea Shepherds South Pacific Shark Conservation Campaign.

Called it!

DaShark said...

Yes you did!
I totally agree with the issues raised in your post, i.e. the squandering of donor money, and the choice donors have.

But the term is misleading.
If you consult the Wikipedia entry for boondoggle, there is a notion of continuing to go through the motions once one realizes that the project will never work.

This however was premeditated.

This was a scam pure and simple.
The Seal-Wars-inspired video clip clearly documents the intention of shooting a reality show with all the usual ingredients of human drama, conflict and fakery - see also the quotes by fat Paul who's the ultimate master of that art.

The boondoggle only eventuated later, i.e. when Fiji (and quite possibly even some participants) refused to play along.
Since it was too late for calling it off, the message was then changed into "collaboration and awareness".

It would be really interesting to hear how much donor funding was squandered on this total fiasco - but I suspect that for the SSCS, such revolutionary notions as "accountability for other peoples' money" may be way too heretic.

OfficetoOcean said...

Sorry mate, I think you've misunderstood the whole thing, it was "for the sharks" so it's all okay.

Fins up.

Anonymous said...

The lead Peroxide Piranha delves yet again into the self serving breach. Sick and tired of these leeches cavorting in the name of conservation. Conservation is not CEO salaried twats in air conditioned offices barking at tribes and cultures of which they have no understanding. It's about getting grit in your teeth, mud on your face and sweating it out in mosquito infested mangroves with the locals to find a solution. Frigging diva's do my bonce in...

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Have to agree w anon here, rather testy, but heck if the sustainably created make up and hair care products fit the bill...