Video Contest and Puget Sound Octopus!

Hi all!

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A few posts back I wrote about the Great Pacific Octopus (GPO) killing that took place here in Seattle, at Alki Cove 2, last October. That killing sparked a lot public pressure, especially among the dive community, onto Washington State Fish and Wildlife.

Fish and Wildlife responded by forming a committee which took comments from the public at local meetings, and online from around the world. The GPO hunting and killing was legal if you had a fishing permit under Washington state.

I am very excited share that the GPO is now protected in 7 major dive sites here in Puget Sound!!!

A new rule that provides additional protection for giant Pacific octopuses will take effect Oct. 6, when the recreational harvest of the species will be prohibited at seven popular scuba diving sites in Puget Sound.

You can read the full statement from Fish and Wildlife here. I want to thank everyone who sent in a public comment. This is a major success! We have managed to protect the largest and longest living octopus in the world, in 7 dive locations of Puget Sound.

Now on to the video contest!

From the Cove to Captivity video contest is all about YOU exposing the link Taiji has with the captive dolphin industry. Videos should be 3 minutes long and will be judged by a panel of professional film makers. The winner will receive a SSCS prize package- including autographed T-Shirts and flags from Cove Guardians.

I’ll let Melissa and Izumi tell you more about it:

Good luck! I really hope everyone interested in using film as a way to raise awareness will put some time into this contest/project.

-Elora Malama

Portland VegFest 2013

Portland Veg Fest 2013

I want to thank everyone at Portland Vegfest for hosting Sea Shepherd at their event! It was a really great experience and I talked to so many interesting and wonderful people.

I had the opportunity to give a presentation both days. My first speech was on what is happening in Taiji and how the captive industry is connected to the slaughter of marine cetaceans and drive fisheries around the world. Remember: DON’T BUY A TICKET!

The second speech was actually supposed to be given by my father, Scott West, about the Faeroe Islands pilot whale slaughter. Unfortunately Scott had to go out of town last minute and I stepped in to speak about what happens in Denmark-Faeroe Islands. Thankfully I am friends with several of the previous campaign’s crew members and have access to information through Sea Shepherd.

I spoke about the dangerous levels of mercury and other toxins in the meat they are consuming. How cetaceans are non-human persons and should be valued as such. I played videos of Paul speaking about the legal/illegal ramifications of the slaughter, and footage of a recent slaughter itself. I spoke about how unsustainable it is to mass slaughter species, especially apex predators who do not reach sexually maturity for up to 15-20 years. And of course about the cultural argument verses what these people said to our undercover crew members: “The blood makes us feel very powerful and confident”.

No one would go hungry in the Faeroe Islands, much less starve to death, if they never killed another whale. Sea Shepherd discovered in 2011 that there are even underwater grave yards where the killers have dumped the bodies because no one wanted to consume the meat.

Today was day 6 without a slaughter or capture in Taiji :)
However 100 cetaceans lost their lives in Faeroe Islands THIS last Sunday.

On a more positive note I spoke to many kids and teens about how to get involved in their communities, schools, and of course even in the Taiji campaign with a parent or guardian. However, I want to make it clear that even if ocean conservation isn’t your cause, you can go out and work on whatever it is that is important to you. If you are educated about your topic, you work hard, and you make enough noise… people are interested to hear what young people have to say. You just have to be creative and articulate.

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- Elora Malama

Sarvey 911

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are still here. I know since my return home from Taiji 3 years ago my blog hasn’t been as active. The life of a teenage activist is a busy one!

In my last post I asked you all to send in comments advocating the protection of Puget Sound’s Great Pacific octopus. I want to thank everyone who participated. We won’t know what the boards decision is for a few more weeks.

Since then I have finished spring quarter at my community college and I am currently entering my 3rd week of summer quarter. I will be finished with my associates degree this December and I am looking forward to applying for colleges and eventually transferring as a junior.

In addition to school, I am still active with Sea Shepherd, and I also have a summer job working for a local wildlife rehabilitation organization. Sarvey Wildlife Care Center.

Sarvey Raccoons

Sarvey’s mission is: “to save the lives of sick, orphaned, injured, displaced, and debilitated wild animals entrusted to our care so that they may be successfully returned to their native habitat.
To offer educational opportunities that encourage a greater appreciation of the uniqueness and perfection of each species and the ecologic challenges facing them.”

I do not work in the clinic as I have no vet training or experience in that area. My job is the rescue and release side of Sarvey’s slogan: Rescue, Rehabilitate, Release. I drive the ambulance and pick up injured animals in need of help. Our clinic staff is amazing and I really enjoying watching them work and care for our patients.

Sarvey is the only wildlife rehabilitation organization in Washington State that has an ambulance service. I drive to various drop off clinics and pick up animals that were rescued by members of the public. I also go out on rescues whenever possible. Recently, I helped rescue some ducks and released a Great Blue Heron. (Click this link to see the video release, you will need to be logged into facebook)

Sarvey Deer

I absolutely love my job and I am really enjoying my summer.

I hope everyone is having a lovely summer too and remember you don’t have to travel the world to be a part of the solution, sometimes you need to stay home and solve the problems in your own back yard. If school, work, or your personal life is keeping you from working on issues that really get under your skin… spend the time bettering your own community and getting involved in other projects close to home that need your help.

-Elora

P.S Like any non-profit organization Sarvey could always use that extra $5 you might spend on Starbucks one morning. Please consider making a donation or a monthly pledge to help animals in need. Consider donating and helping out wildlife in Washington State. We care for everything from Pigeons to Eagles and Opossums to Bob Cats.

Freedom

Giant Pacific Octopus (CTA)

GPO

About a month ago I attended a meeting put on by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, concerning the Giant Pacific Octopus (GPO). I don’t know if you remember, but last October a fishermen killed a GPO here in Seattle (Alki Cove 2) and it created quite the controversy. If you aren’t familiar with this issue, please read the article posted on the Sea Shepherd’s website: click here.

After the killing of this GPO the community here started to protest. This issue even drew international attention, as the public was outraged. As a resident of Seattle, and diver, myself I was quite surprised to learn that the Giant Pacific Octopus (GPO) was allowed to be fished/hunted.

Right now, here in Puget Sound, a licensed fishermen can harvest up to 1 GPO per day, everyday, all year, every year. This gives one person the right (provided they are able to catch them and the octopus population would support this) to kill 365 Giant Pacific octopuses a year. Do the math and that is for just one person… 10 people could kill 3650 a year if they were able.

Responding to the public outcry the Washington State of Fish and Wildlife created a board/panel of citizen-nominated individuals to develop options for a vote to protect the GPO. The only area completely protected right now is Hood Canal

During this meeting I learned that there is very little known about the GPO. Rich Childers and Greg Berlin, shared a power-point presentation that talked about the known (basic) biology of the animal, the history of octopus fishing in Seattle, and the current laws now. As far as they can tell, the octopuses, are common and not threatened. This information comes from the annual divers octopus count here in Puget Sound.

However, I would argue otherwise.

We don’t know a lot about this species. The experts running the meeting even said as much. We do know that the life span of a GPO is 3-4 years. A Female GPO will lay 50,000 eggs that size of a grain of sand. Out of those 50,000 eggs only 2 (approximately) will develop to adult hood, reach sexual maturity, and reproduce. It takes the GPO about 3 years to reach sexual maturity.

Knowing all of this, how can we say this species is not threatened by a permit that allows a single person to kill 365 a year!? We haven’t even factored in environmental mutations.

It isn’t very well known how important to the local environment GPO’s are. However, every animal has a role. If you take out one, another will suffer… and so on.

I know personally that the GPO’s are important to the diving community, here in Seattle. I have seen the GPO dens, and take my word for it, they are cool! Crab and other animal remains are spread out at the opening, like a warning for all other creatures near by. If you shine a light inside of the den you can see a leg or an eye. It’s a really amazing experience.

The Great Pacific Octopus also brings in money from tourists. People come from all over the world to see the San Juan islands, the resident Orcas, and divers come to see the GPO.

While the cost in regulating a new law might be high, we are talking about preserving something much bigger. Here is a list of the options the board is considering:

Option A: Status Quo – no changes to current regulations

Option B: Marine Preserve – no recreational harvest of all species

Redondo Beach (map)
Seacrest Park Coves 1, 2 and 3 (excluding fishing pier) (map)

Option C: Marine Preserves – no recreational harvest of Giant Pacific Octopuses

Redondo Beach (map)
Three Tree Point North (map)
Seacrest Park Coves 1, 2 and 3 (excluding fishing pier) (map)
Les Davis (map)
Alki Beach Junk Yard (map)
Days Island Wall (map)
Deception Pass (map)

Option D: Puget Sound closure to recreational harvest of Giant Pacific Octopuses.

* The beaches listed under Option C were identified by the advisory group as some of the most popular diving beaches in the Puget Sound area. Not included on that list are beaches in Conservation Areas or Marine Preserves, where octopuses are already off-limits to harvest.

The advisory group is looking for public comment! I know from speaking to some of the members that they actually take these comments quite seriously! Please take a few minutes and send them a message explaining why you want to see these octopuses protected! THIS ENDS ON MAY 31

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A PRIVATE COMMENT/OPINION

Anyone from anywhere in the world can make comments!

Take ten minutes you’d spend on facebook and give these amazing animals a chance!

-Elora Malama

Melbourne, Washington, Oregon…

Hi all!

I so happy to say I was able to return to Melbourne Australia! I still had my return ticket that I bought last summer, so traveling out was a lot less expensive. I returned to visit friends, help set up the Sea Shepherd Australia’s office new location, and of course greet my fellow crew members when they docked!

I finished finals for Winter quarter, and I was on a plane 48 hours later! I had an 8 hour lay over in LA and then a 15 hour flight to Melbourne. I had this horrible passenger sitting next to me on the plane. Maybe this is just me, but I feel like there is a flying etiquette that some people just are blind to! For example… it is rude to move around all your friends sitting next to you and disrupt other people who have already settled into their flight. It is also rude for that same person to take up the empty chairs next to you and go to sleep over BOTH of them, and then proceed to put their feet on a part of your lap. Please don’t do that. It will piss off the person next to you. (In the case of this story a 19 year old environmentalist that really just wanted to travel in peace!)

When I arrived, I got right to work on painting these new showers, that were put in on the docks, for the ship crew. I also spent the evening with my dear friend Sarah and her lovely family! I was so tired by the end of the day, when I went to sit on the couch, I passed out. oooppps!

The fleet’s arrival was amazing! I am so proud of my crew and all that they accomplished this season! It hurt that I wasn’t returning with them, but it was nice to see the campaign come to a close and get that little bit of closure.
I spent the next few days working as a deckhand on the Steve!

Steve Irwin

Sam 2

Bob Coming in port

I came home this last Tuesday night, and drove to the Bonneville Dam in WA/OR two days later. I joined the crew, here on the ground, for the Dam Guardian campaign.

The Dam staff is hazing, branding, and killing sea lions on the Bonneville Dam in WA/OR and in Astoria OR. The reason? According to some of the fishermen in Astoria Sea Lions are an invasive species that haven’t been present in the Columbia River for thousands of years.

We can only date the sea lions back as far as Lewis and Clark, who noted the presence of seals and marine mammals feeding on fish as far up as the Columbia River (which is the current site of the Bonneville Dam). The hydroelectric dams that block passages and create habitat loss are killing more Salmon than the sea lions ever have. The Columbia River never had a seal or salmon population decline until human interests got involved in the matter.
The argument the fisheries have is that the Sea lions are taking away salmon that could be going to consumers. Failing to admit that their Dam is the actual problem.
Sea Lions Friday March 29th

Sea Lions are eating between 1% and 4% of the spring salmon run. The government has permits to kill up to 17% of these same spawning salmon. Along with that, the government has concluded that 7% to 16% of the adult fish are killed by the dams that they must navigate. The native people of North Bonneville are allowed to take as much salmon as they wish.

Hello? Friday March 29th

The highest number of sea lions seen at the Bonneville Dam varied from 90 in 2004 and 54 in 2011. I can say personally, I’ve only seen 6 sea lions here at the Bonneville Dam, but I know there are at least 50+ in Astoria. Compared to the Dam’s destruction and the human consumption of the fish, we can safely say that 90 sea lions are deserving of their meals and are not the problem. Salmon and sea lions lived sustainably together for thousands of years… human fishing is the new addition to the equation here.

The hazing process is terrible! It’s loud! I cannot imagine how loud it is under the water, when it echos through the whole Dam complex on land. The sea lions swim away in complete terror, but do return to continue hunting. Hunger beats fear. Tax payer dollars are going into this. We are paying for this!

Shooter Firday March 29th

A boat maneuvers around the dam, like a chicken with no head, and shoots at the sea lions up close. The hazer stands on the shore with the “spotters” and shoots into the water from the Dam. The spotters have young college interns working with them, learning how to terrorize and torture.
And then there are the traps… When the dam raises the amount of water flowing out, the tide rises. The water covers all the safe spots that sea lions can lay on and they are forced to take rests in the traps, because it is the only solid ground available to them (that isn’t inhabited by fishermen).

I talked with three fishermen today, at the Dam. One said he wanted to see the sea lions stay because they were his “underwater eyes”, where they hunt he knows to hunt there too. The other two fishermen said: “too much money is going into this. It isn’t a problem. You eat what you catch and they should be able to eat as well”. They agreed that we have the options to eat other things, but this is all the sea lions have to survive.

Seal in trap! March 30 2013

We have to educate people, get people to think about where their fish is coming from, have people reach out to the government in protest, and honestly just be a pain in their butts!!!

Branded March 30 2013

I am traveling to Astoria tomorrow, where all of the branding has been happening these last few weeks. Hopefully it will be a peaceful day!

Until tomorrow,
Elora Malama