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The Sam Simon departs Wellington for the Southern Ocean. Photo: Jeff WirthThe Sam Simon departs Wellington for the Southern Ocean. Photo: Jeff WirthThis morning the Sea Shepherd conservation ship, Sam Simon, departed Wellington, New Zealand for a new Southern Ocean defence mission, Operation Icefish. The campaign, Sea Shepherd’s 11th in the Antarctic waters, will focus on targeting the illegal fishing of Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish.

The Sam Simon will join the Bob Barker, which departed from Hobart, Australia last Wednesday, to patrol the remote waters of the Southern Ocean shadowlands for illegal toothfish fishing operators.

Captain Sid Chakravarty of the Sam Simon said, “We are extremely grateful to the people of New Zealand for providing us with such incredible support during our final preparations for Operation Icefish. Our crew has worked tirelessly to ensure the Sam Simon is fully equipped and ready for this year’s mission. Now, we set sail for the Southern Ocean, taking with us a message to all illegal toothfish operators that threaten the region: Poaching will not be tolerated.”

Illegal fishing operations will be documented, reported and confronted. The toothfish poachers will be physically obstructed from deploying their illegal gillnets and unlawful fishing gear will be confiscated.

CEO of Sea Shepherd Global, Alex Cornelissen, said, “For the first time in ten years, Sea Shepherd will have the time and resources to target another poaching operation in the Southern Ocean. Thanks to the victory against Japanese whaling at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, our ships are freed up to target the continued illegal extraction of toothfish. Our experience in these waters and knowledge of the area will serve us well in the coming months. The same waters that have been the arena for confrontations between Sea Shepherd and the whale poachers will now be the scene of a new battle. The fight goes on for the protection of our marine environment, there is no rest on planetary duty.”

"It was New Zealand that exposed the exploitation of toothfish in Antarctica and it is now fitting the Sam Simon departs Wellington to defend them. With the crew goes the hopes and dreams of our passionate supporters across the world, and the belief that the precious Antarctic waters is not the place for blind greed and corruption,” said Michael Lawry of Sea Shepherd New Zealand.

Sea Shepherd press conference, Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Jeff WirthSea Shepherd press conference, Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Jeff Wirth Captain Sid Chakravarty speaks to media on Operation Icefish. Photo: Jeff WirthCaptain Sid Chakravarty speaks to media on Operation Icefish. Photo: Jeff Wirth
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