Sea Shepherd Monitors Newest Marine Protected Area in Israel
Monday, 07 Nov, 2022
For the past weeks, the Sea Shepherd Global ship Bob Barker has been on patrol, monitoring the Palmahim Slide – a newly-created marine protected area (MPA) recently designated as a “Hope Spot” by famed oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle – and other marine parks in order to detect and deter illegal fishing off the coast of Sea Shepherd Global’s latest country partner, Israel.
“Hope Spots” are areas that scientists with Dr. Earle’s non-governmental organization Mission Blue have designated as critical to the health of the ocean.
Located in the deep sea off the coast of Tel Aviv, the Palmahim Slide MPA is the most remote of Israel’s oceanic conservation zones, and was established in September of this year to protect a reproductive hot spot for deep-sea sharks, as well as a spawning ground for the overfished Mediterranean blue fin tuna. All fishing is banned in the protected area. Some estimates suggest that populations of Mediterranean blue fin tuna have fallen by as much as 85% in the past few decades.
"Ancient civilizations from the Phoenicians to the Roman Republic, were built on the trade in blue fin tuna. Along the coast of Israel are ports that have been used for millennia, and even Neptune’s trident was itself a blue fin tuna fishing hook. Illegal and destructive fishing is now one of the greatest threats against the survival of our own civilization."Captain Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd Global’s Director of Campaigns
The arrival of Sea Shepherd Global in the waters of Israel, under the campaign name Operation Living Sea, is a continuation of partnerships with governments around the Mediterranean to build enforcement capacity in the world’s most overfished sea.
“We’ve seen what’s possible working with authorities in Italy, where 7,600 octopus traps were recently confiscated with tens of thousands of octopuses saved; and in Greece, where three trawlers were just now busted fishing in the largest marine protected area in the Mediterranean, Greece’s National Marine Park of Alonnisos. Just as Sea Shepherd Global has partnerships with eight coastal States around the continent of Africa, Israel marks our third country partnership in the Med,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen, CEO of Sea Shepherd Global.
Over the past weeks, crew on board the Bob Barker have documented several cases of trawlers fishing illegally in either marine parks or other protected areas. Photographic and video evidence has been handed over to Israeli authorities that are investigating.
Out of the sixteen bottom trawlers that are licensed to fish within the waters of Israel, six have been detected violating local fisheries regulations.
Tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Dax Dasilva from Age of Union joined the crew of the Bob Barker on Sea Shepherd Global’s first campaign in Israel.
“People understand why national parks are on land are important, but we also need similar protected areas at sea. With the growing movement to create new marine protected areas, we also need enforcement. Age of Union is proud to partner with Sea Shepherd Global to physically protect these wild places.”Dax Dasilva, Age of Union