by Corey Dahlquist

Corey Dahlquist. Photo: Carolina A CastroToday is a Sea day – we are almost complete with our transit from the Vaquita refuge near San Felipe, Baja, Mexico to San Diego, California.  It’s cloudy, windy, and a bit bumpy.  I imagine that everything I am feeling is like unto what thousands of Sailors felt before me and that thousands more will feel after.

Operation Milagro is the most unprecedented success for Sea Shepherd as well as in global conservation history. As our mission comes to a close I am overwhelmed with all of the accomplishments that I share with this extraordinary crew – from the Captain to the media to the newest deckhand.  Everyone contributed immeasurably to the partnership with the Mexican government, the Mexican Navy, the local community, and to removing 42 illegal nets and 16 illegal long-lines from the Vaquita refuge and the gillnet exclusion zone in the Sea of Cortez.  We destroyed over 100 net and long-line anchors, collected and destroyed over 2000 long-line hooks, and created 10 variants of our signature “Phantom Ray” net and long-line catcher three of which we presented to the Mexican Navy to carry on operations during our brief departure.  Most importantly, the sea life saved from those nets, lines, and hooks may be measured in numbers but can never be measured in their continuing contribution to the earth and the marine ecosystem.

 

I didn’t join Sea Shepherd because I have a degree in environmental management.  I didn’t join Sea Shepherd because of its Vegan policy.  I joined Sea Shepherd because of one thing only.  Direct Action.  If you are a person, organization, or government that indirectly supports the illegal and wholesale slaughter of endangered marine wildlife for profit and gain or is unmoved by the slaughter of sea life improperly and coldly categorized as “by catch” in support of your legal fisheries then we will arrive, we will find you, and we will stop you.  We will do everything within our power, aside from violence, to protect our oceans for future generations and ensure that endangered sea life will have a fighting chance to recover and prosper.

When belief and action transcend money or any type of personal gain and a group of those individuals are organized and provided with the right tools they become unstoppable.  There is, however, one caveat.  Too often we measure success incorrectly.  People want to see the bottom line and that bottom line is usually depicted as numbers.  No one can measure the pure and raw emotion felt when you save a life – whether it be a mammal, fish, or simple crustacean.  You can only experience it for yourself.  

Corey Dahlquist. Photo: KWTo enjoy that feeling on a team that is just as dedicated as you are to the same mission, task, purpose, and cause, is likewise immeasurable.  The team assembled for Operation Milagro II are my friends.  They will be lifelong friends because we engaged in operations that, just like my service in the United States Army and the friendships I made there, brought us to the pinnacle of the meaning of life and the meaning of saving lives and then took us on the emotional journey of experiencing it for ourselves.  There is no substitute for this feeling and it cannot be replicated artificially.   

I am deeply and profoundly grateful for the opportunity to serve with Sea Shepherd and with two of the best crews ever assembled in the M/V Farley Mowat (2) and the R/V Martin Sheen for this operation.  There is something to be said for a group of individuals from all over the world with various backgrounds, beliefs, and ages to come together and work as professionals.  We are not professionals.  But, our leadership, teamwork, work ethic, and beliefs would convince any of you that we had been working together for years, not to mention receiving a substantial amount of pay or salaries for our effort.  That type of unit cohesion doesn’t happen often and, even more rarely, does it ever happen with a group of volunteers.  There is not one person more important than the other.  There is not one person who believed they contributed more than another.  Everyone did what he or she could when they could and then did more.  That is success and in my mind every leader’s dream come true when he or she sets out on a just cause or mission and asks people of like mind to follow him or her.  

To our crews, I salute you.  To our supporters, I thank you. You all are truly what makes Sea Shepherd great and what makes this world and all of its life worth fighting for.      

Very Respectfully,
Corey Dahlquist
Deckhand and Medical Officer

Nolan Corey saving crab from totoaba net

Totoaba net anchors

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Milagro III

OPERATION MILAGRO IV - Retrieving illegal nets and saving lives.
Milestone for The M/V Farley Mowat May 10th 2018 150 Pieces of Illegal Fishing Gear 596 Entangled Animals TOTAL COUNT FOR #OpMIlagro IV is currently: 364 Pieces of Illegal Fishing Gear 1701 Entangled Animals 747 LIVES SAVED On the evening of May 10...
Sea Shepherd Saves Leatherback Turtle on Earth Day 2018
Sea Shepherd crew saves the life of an adult leatherback turtle entangled in illegal gillnet in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico - a Federally Protected and UNESCO listed Area Read more at: https://goo.gl/Z976Hz Support us at: https://goo.gl/CK7N...
SHOTS FIRED AT SEA SHEPHERD'S M/V SHARPIE
On the night of April 10th, 2018, SHOTS WERE FIRED AT SEA SHEPHERD'S The M/V Sharpie Operation Milagro IV 31 27.31 N 114 45.63 W At 7:46 pm on the night of April 10th, while retrieving an illegal gillnet approximately 8 nautical miles off the Baja...
SEA SHEPHERD SAVES 25 CRITICALLY ENDANGERED TOTOABAS IN THE HEIGHT OF SPAWNING SEASON
Conservationists intercept and remove illegal gillnet minutes before recovery by poachers, saving entire school of totoaba bass from black market trade. Read the full article at: https://goo.gl/DJYxj6 Help us protect the oceans: https://goo.gl/YyLcv...
Sea Shepherd Improves Techniques to Save the Vaquita Porpoise.
Sea Shepherd is always improving techniques to better protect our oceans! Learn more about Operation Milagro at: www.seashepherd.org/Milagro Donate at: https://goo.gl/2sAS9r
Three Ships, One Mission: To Save a Species.
Sea Shepherd has 3 vessels in the Sea of Cortez to protect the #VaquitaMarina porpoise. This is the first time in the history of #OpMilagro that we have 3 vessels in the area dedicated to removing nets. Removing the illegal gillnets is the reason wh...
Nets
How many destructive nets will it take to understand that If the Oceans Die, We Die. Support #OpMilagro at: https://goo.gl/1XLQD4 Learn more about Operation Milagro at: www.seashepherd.org/milagro
Every Single Life Matters.
We fight for life, for biodiversity, #ForTheOceans Every single life matters. Because in the end "If the Oceans Die, We die" Captain Paul Watson. To learn more about Operation Milagro please visit: www.seashepherd.org/milagro To support us: https://...
To Save A Species
Poachers threaten our crew and shot at our drone one more time. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP ON THE VAQUITA. Join us by supporting our mission at https://goo.gl/2sAS9r
We Are Together
TO ALL PARENTS, CHILDREN AND LOVED ONES: Sea Shepherd has 32 extraordinary people in the waters of the Gulf of California, Mexico. The crew members on board The M/V Farley Mowat and The M/V John Paul DeJoria have one mission: To save the smallest, r...
EXTINCTION IS FOREVER - The Totoaba Fight
The totoaba bass is a critically endangered species. Totoabas share their waters with the vaquita porpoise, the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Both face this dire situation because of the illegal trade of totoaba swim bladders. Due to ...
SEA SHEPHERD FREES ENDANGERED TOTOABA FOLLOWING SECOND DRONE SHOOTING
#BREAKING SEA SHEPHERD FREES ENDANGERED TOTOABA FOLLOWING SECOND DRONE SHOOTING Despite gunshots being fired at its drone again,Sea Shepherd, together with the Mexican Navy, drove poachers off the protected vaquita refuge and saved the life of an end...
SEA SHEPHERD NIGHT DRONE SHOT DOWN BY POACHERS
SEA SHEPHERD NIGHT DRONE SHOT DOWN BY POACHERS Tension rises in the fight to protect the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. On Chrismas eve, the crew of the M/V Jean Paul Dejoria was surprised by gunfire. Read the article: https://goo.gl/ULQ...
Operation Milagro IV: The Science Behind the Campaign
In the past four years, Sea Shepherd has removed thousands of illegal gillnets during our Operation Milagro campaign in Mexico's Sea of Cortez. These nets contain hundreds of animals, some dead, some alive. The video above shows a list of species our...
Operation Milagro IV: A Vaquita Defense Campaign
This campaign launch video illustrates the issues surrounding the vaquita rescue efforts. Sea Shepherd is continuing its relentless commitment to stop the imminent extinction of the endangered vaquita porpoise by is returning to Mexico’s Gulf of Ca...
Op. Milagro III: Sam Simon Campaign Summary
The history of the Sam Simon, and the facts and figures surrounding the work this ship has done during Operation Milagro III in the Gulf of California from December 2016 to May 2016.
Operation Milagro III: The Endangered Vaquita Porpoise
ATTENTION! ATTENTION!! Sea Shepherd is making a valiant effort to save the CRITICALLY ENDANGERED Vaquita Porpoise from EXTINCTION. There are fewer than 30 left on Earth. We have to do everything we can to stop the use of illegal gillnets!! Please joi...
Operation Milagro III: Illegal Gillnets
This is a typical day for the Sea Shepherd crew on Operation Milagro III. The Gulf of California is one of the world’s hotspots for marine biodiversity, We will continue our work retrieving illegal nets, giving the unique inhabitants like the near-...
Operation Milagro III: Dead Dolphin Caught in Illegal Gillnet
Illegal gillnets do not discriminate! They are silent death traps that kill all sorts of sea life. Help our efforts to save marine life in the Gulf of California where the The MV Sam Simon and The M/V Farley Mowat are currently patrolling for Operati...
Operation Milagro III: M/V Sam Simon’s Thunder & Viking boats
The Thunder and Viking are two RHIBS (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats) on the Sam Simon ship. The agility and speed at which these boats can be launched allows these boats to play a primary role, detecting and retrieving illegal nets in the Gulf of Cal...
Operation Milagro III: Ray Day
On the 17th of April the crew of M/V Farley Mowat retrieved an illegal net with 22 cownose rays entangled inside. Twenty one of the rays were released alive. Unfortunately, one was dead. Every life counts, and every net out of the waters is a success...
Operation Milagro III: A busy 24 hrs
During the 11th and 12th of March, the Milagro III fleet witnessed a stampede of poachers in the Gulf of California. The Farley Mowat and Sam Simon drone pilots were hot in their case, and in some instances, met with fierce resistance from the poache...
Operation Milagro III: Using Drones to Nab Poachers
On Operation Milagro III, drones have proven to be one of the most valuable assets we have battling poaching in the Gulf of California. Many thanks to our donor, Clarence Stanback, whose generosity has enabled us to create a drone program at Sea Shep...