The fight to protect marine wildlife and preserve threatened species receives a major boost today; Age of Union Alliance, led by tech leader and environmental activist Dax Dasilva, is proud to announce a $4.5 million donation to Sea Shepherd, the global NGO that partners with governments to patrol their oceans and fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing all over the world.
Overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification, and habitat deterioration threaten our planet’s fragile marine ecosystems which are teetering on the verge of collapse. IUU fishing, in particular, is threatening our world’s oceans and their ability to survive. Fish populations are being decimated, endangered species are nearing elimination, and developing nations’ waters are being emptied. Given that over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, healthy oceans lead to a healthy planet.
IUU fishing is a global threat, and this transformational donation will fund the operating costs of a 56 metre Sea Shepherd vessel for three years, beginning January 2022, under the name Age of Union. The ship will begin patrolling waters to prevent bycatch of dolphins off the West Coast of France until the end of March. From there, the ship will journey on to the West Coast of Africa to protect marine wildlife for approximately three months.
“I have long admired Sea Shepherd’s unyielding efforts to protect our planet’s most sacred oceanic ecosystems,” said Dax Dasilva, Founder of Age of Union. “With these funds from Age of Union, we hope to help Sea Shepherd save the lives of endangered species, preserve their habitats, and support local communities disrupted by illegal poachers. We must continue to shine a light on the important work organizations like Sea Shepherd do to keep our waters safe for the prosperity of critical marine wildlife.”
“Sea Shepherd is proud to have the support of Age of Union,” said Alex Cornelissen, CEO of Sea Shepherd. “Thanks to their passion and support, we will expand our operations, save more wildlife, and protect critical marine habitats that are crucial to the survival of our oceans. Shoulder to shoulder, we stand in our fight against poachers in the larger effort to save our oceans. To honor the partnership with Age of Union, we will proudly bear their name on one of our flagship vessels.”
Key Statistics About the Marine Wildlife at Risk
- Every year, between 6,000 and 10,000 dolphins are killed off France’s West Coast. Notably, there are twice as many dolphins killed as bycatch off the West Coast of France compared to all other countries combined.
- With populations of fish off the coasts of Europe and Asia collapsing drastically, the waters of West Africa are a place where recently there have been significant depletion of fish stocks. That is quickly changing–the Gulf of Guinea is a critical habitat for tuna, humpback whales, whale sharks, and megafauna, and IUU fishing is responsible for up to 40% of the catch in West Africa, requiring immediate action to prevent this.
- Fish is the number one source of protein for local communities in West African countries. For example, at least 33,000 people in Liberia and 200,000 people in The Gambia depend on small-scale artisanal fisheries for their livelihood. To protect their interests, governments have established protected areas reserved for small-scale local fishers where industrial fishing is strictly prohibited. Without the presence of a vessel like Age of Union, industrial ships routinely illegally fish in these areas, stealing from local communities, by robbing them of their food source and livelihoods, leaving little for their families.
Sea Shepherd’s projects off the coasts of France and Africa mark only the beginning of the Age of Union vessel’s plans for the next three years. Support from Age of Union will continue to keep the vessel operational until the end of 2024, helping to ensure worldwide protection of marine wildlife and threatened species.
This announcement follows Age of Union’s initial launch as a non-profit in October 2021 when Dax Dasilva announced an initial pledge of $40 million toward protecting ecosystems around the world. Sea Shepherd is the sixth global partnership that Age of Union has announced using funds from this initial pledge, which will continue to grow in years to come.
About Age of Union Alliance
Age of Union is a non-profit environmental alliance that supports and makes visible a global community of changemakers working on the ground to protect the planet’s threatened species and ecosystems. Launched in October 2021 by tech leader and environmental activist Dax Dasilva in Montreal, Canada, Age of Union seeks to ignite a flame within every person through conservation efforts that solve critical environmental challenges around the world and inspire high-impact change by showing the positive impact that every individual can make.