Monday, 23 April 2012

Anti-whaling activist set for new campaign

ANTI-whaling activists will soon have two ships berthed at Williamstown, taking the place of Victoria's tall ship Enterprize.

Fresh from 95 days in Antarctica, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society member, Williamstown North's Vincent Burke is back home aboard the Steve Irwin and anticipating the imminent arrival of the Bridget Bardot vessel.

Mr Burke was in charge of crew safety on the Bob Barker, which spent months pursuing Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

"They managed to kill 266 minke whales and one fin whale," he said.

"They came down here to take 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpbacks, so we stopped about 768 kills, which is a huge success.

"We would have liked to have kept it lower than that, but it's still the second-best season we've ever had."

Mr Burke said Sea Shepherd spent up to $4million each year doing the job he believed the federal government should be doing.

The 35-metre (115-feet) Brigitte Bardot will arrive in Williamstown at the end of this month to begin a shark fin campaign.

"Once the time is right, it will be leaving with a full crew to go on a campaign in the South Pacific," Mr Burke said.

"It will be approaching shark-fin poachers, primarily ... there's up to 70million sharks taken every year, which are taken for fins.

"They catch sharks alive, cut their fins off when they're on the side of the vessel, then they push the bodies back in alive and they fall to the bottom and drown."

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