Le Lézard
Classified in: Environment, Transportation
Subjects: ANW, ESG


Operation ICESTORM to head North from UK in early June on former Scottish Fishery Protection Vessel toward high seas confrontation with last fin whaling company in Europe


ALBERT DOCK, HULL, England, April 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Captain Paul Watson Foundation is launching Operation Ice Storm from Albert Dock in Yorkshire to directly oppose Iceland's last whaling company, Hvalur hf. Paul Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace and founder of Sea Shepherd, has a history of intervening in Icelandic whaling operations - In 1986, members of his group successfully reduced the whaling fleet of Hvalur hf by half.

"The time is up for the world's most notorious hunter of whales, Kristján Loftsson," stated Captain Paul Watson, who will lead this summer's anti-whaling campaign on his flagship the John Paul DeJoria, a 72-meter former Scottish Fisheries Protection Vessel.

Kristjan Loftsson operates Hvalur hf at a loss. The whaler's business empire includes large shareholdings in banks and IT companies and the magnate uses his wealth to hunt up to 209 fin whales each season. Fin whales are protected under international conservation law and listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Despite widespread opposition from the Icelandic public (a recent poll suggests over 51% of Icelanders oppose whaling) and Iceland's Fisheries Minister temporarily revoking Hvalur hf's whaling license last summer, Iceland's whaling boss continues to leverage his political influence in pursuit of resuming whaling operations. Loftsson plans to deploy two ships, armed with explosive harpoons - Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9 - in June.

"Our volunteer crew members are making necessary preparations to depart UK in June. From our standpoint, Loftsson is planning to hunt whales this summer and we will be ready," stated Captain Locky MacLean, who sailed the John Paul DeJoria to the coast of Iceland last summer to intercept Hvalur's vessels when the licenses were suspended.

In 2023, the US-based Captain Paul Watson Foundation and its UK arm, CPWF UK, worked in conjunction on land and at sea on "Operation Paiakan" during which a temporary pause on whaling permits was issued by Iceland's Fisheries Minister, Svandis Svavarsdottir, as the John Paul DeJoria lay-to off the West coast of Iceland, ready for a confrontation to stop Hvalur hf's vessels from hunting fin whales. This summer, CPWF's flagship will set sail in mid-June from Hull, UK to block Loftsson's harpoon ships if permits are issued.

CPWF UK's Rob Read, who has been running a ground operation in Iceland each summer for several years, and documenting the whale processing factory in Hvalfjörður since 2018, states "Whaling is the calculated, intentional, cruel killing of one of the planet's most intelligent marine mammals, whales are a key species proven to be critical not only to saving the oceans but ultimately all life on Earth."

Last May, Iceland's Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) alleged Hvalur hf was in violation of Iceland's animal welfare laws. They cited instances of multiple fin whales failing to die instantaneously during the hunt, and a median time-to-death of 11.5 minutes. Iceland, alongside Japan and Norway, persists as one of the final nations to engage in commercial whaling, defying the global moratorium imposed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1986.


ABOUT CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON FOUNDATION: The Captain Paul Foundation, founded in 2022 by esteemed environmental and conservation activist Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace and founder of Sea Shepherd, alongside tech entrepreneur Omar Todd, is a US-based non-profit dedicated to marine conservation. Committed to halting habitat destruction and wildlife slaughter in the world's oceans, the foundation aims to safeguard marine ecosystems and species and uses innovative direct-action tactics to expose and confront illegal activities at sea. Visit www.paulwatsonfoundation.org for more information.

ABOUT OPERATION ICE STORM: Operation Ice Storm has a singular focus: to save the lives of endangered fin whales from Iceland's last whaling company Hvalur hf. Despite the global ban on commercial whaling mandated by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1986, Iceland persists in granting permits for this activity. This joint campaign, launched by the Captain Paul Watson Foundation and its UK branch, will employ aggressive non-violent tactics and direct intervention to enforce international conservation laws.

For interviews and media inquiries, please contact Mia Music at [email protected] or Paul Watson at [email protected].

SOURCE The Captain Paul Watson Foundation

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