Age of Union Alliance, a non profit environmental organization led by Montréal-based Lightspeed CEO Dax Dasilva, has donated $4.5 million USD to Sea Shepherd.
Founded in 1977 out of Vancouver, Sea Shepherd is a non-profit marine conservation activism organization based in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington. It provides fully-equipped vessels, professional crews, fuel, and other tools that enhance their ability to detect and deter IUU fishing.
“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.”
– Dax Dasilva
Sea Shepherd also partners with governments to patrol their oceans with a mission to fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing all over the world. It claims that it has assisted law enforcement to arrest 73 vessels over the past five years.
According to Sea Shepherd, the donation will fund the operating costs of a 56 metre vessel for three years, beginning this month, under the name of 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,” the organization notes. “From there, the ship will journey on to the West Coast of Africa to protect marine wildlife for approximately three months.”
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Without the presence of a patrol vessel like Age of Union, industrial ships routinely illegally fish in local West African communities, robbing them of their food source. Fish is the number one source of protein for local communities in these areas: at least 33,000 people in Liberia and 200,000 people in The Gambia depend on small-scale fisheries for their livelihood.
This marks Age of Union Alliance’s sixth global partnership using funds from the group’s initial pledge of a $40 million contribution toward protecting ecosystems around the world.
“I have long admired Sea Shepherd’s unyielding efforts to protect our planet’s most sacred oceanic ecosystems,” said Dasilva, who launched Age of Union Alliance in October 2021. “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.”
The alliance started with five initial projects across five countries. It currently backs a Nature Conservancy of Canada project designed to preserve Quebec’s Saint Lawrence River; a Junglekeepers-led Amazon Rainforest sanctuary and ranger program expansion; a wildlife corridor expansion in the Democratic Republic of Congo focused on protecting the country’s endangered species; and more.
Featured image from Age of Union Alliance