Talking to Natalie Banks, head of the newly regionalised branch of infamous global activist’s Sea Shepherd, it’s hard not to get as passionate as her when you discuss the plight of the ocean and the issues these eco-warriors face on a daily basis when it comes to marine conservation, but they have officially launched in the U.A.E., as an awareness group, aiming to unite with governmental organisations here to help drive forward the changes needed.
What does Sea Shepherd do exactly
Sea Shepherd is a marine conservation organisation. Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd aims to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of marine life in the world’s ocean in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and marine species. Sea Shepherd has 12 vessels which it uses to get mainly volunteer crew on the high seas to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities and to stop these operations. By safeguarding the biodiversity of delicately balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.
What are your plans for the U.A.E.
Sea Shepherd in the United Arab Emirates is currently running two campaigns;
Marine Debris focused on the removal of plastics and litter from beaches as well as growing awareness of the sustainable products available that can replace single-use plastics. Sea Shepherd has a strong relationship with suppliers like Keep-Cup that people can use instead of the traditional take-away coffee cup for example.
Apex Harmony, focused on the awareness of shark conservation and the important role sharks play in keeping oceans healthy.
Sea Shepherd UAE is also working on a dolphin conservation awareness campaign with plans to roll these out to both adults and children in 2018.
What are the current issues facing the region?
One of the biggest issues facing marine conservation globally is the issue of plastic debris. Micro-Plastics are even being found in sea salts and in fish which humans then go on to eat. It is toxic and harmful to both marine life and human beings, with the consumption of plastics being attributed to breathing problems, infertility, cancer and even death.
There is also a disconnect regarding the awareness of the benefits marine animals provide humans. Sharks ensure coral reefs aren’t constantly riddled with algae, whale poop actually has been shown to offset carbon in the atmosphere, making the air humans breathe cleaner and healthier.
How can we get involved if we want to?
Sea Shepherd UAE aims to build connections between residents and the local marine life. The organisation is purely volunteer based and anyone with a passion for marine conservation can join. Those interested can send an expression of interest to email@example.com and they can keep up to date with our activities by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at Sea Shepherd UAE.
I’m living in the gorgeous merchandise I picked up at RIPE market, like the Gypsea one piece and hoodie with their famous skull and harpoon logo on it, and I love it when others recognise the effort and high five you mid walk. Get involved people.