Defending Our Pacific 2009 tour wrap-up

by Mike Gaworecki

November 2, 2009

I’m back in San Francisco after the Defending Our Pacific tour wrapped up in the Cook Islands on October 21st. We ended the tour by hosting an “open boat,” where a couple hundred locals and tourists got the chance to tour the Esperanza, and by holding a press conference to inform local journalists about what we accomplished out on the high seas.

We also met with some folks from the Ministery of Marine Resources in the Cook Islands. It was a pretty exciting meeting for all of us, because just the week before we had busted the Koyu Maru 3, a Japanese ship we caught fishing in Cook Islands’ waters illegally, as you might recall. The Cook Islands has started a formal investigation of the vessel with their counterparts at the Fisheries Agency of Japan. I’ll be posting updates on that as well as on how all of the actions and documentation work we did plays out at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting this December, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, being that the tour was a really amazing experience for me and seeing as I’m still trying to process all of it, I thought I’d share just a few more videos about life onboard a Greenpeace ship.

We saw an abundance of amazing marine life, including dolphins, whales, flying fish, seabirds, and more. Here’s a video of a baby whale shark we encountered one day:

Our helicopter, Tweety, is an invaluable tool that we use to scout out the open water, document pirate/unlicensed fishing, etc. I went on one early morning heli flight to search for another two Japanese longliners, which we suspected might be fishing in the Cook Islands’ waters with their sister ship the Koyu Maru 3. We didn’t find them, but I put this video together anyway because I think it’s interesting how a heli flight gives you a whole new perspective on just how small the Espy really is in relation to the deep blue sea:

 Lastly, I shot this video tour of the ship, which is pretty self-explanatory:

Like I said, there are definitely more updates coming on the political developments resulting from the actions we took and the documentation we compiled of the vessels plundering the Pacific. When the WCPFC meets this December, we’ll be pushing to have all four of the high seas pockets in the Pacific designated as marine reserves at this meeting.

There might be a few more videos coming from the tour, as well. Keep checking back!

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