Call for action on whale slaughter

Transparentsea campaigners on Bondi Beach last Thursday.Hilton Dawe (left), Will Conner, Dave Rastovich, Chris Del Moro and Howie Cooke. PHOTO: Skennar/Transparentsea
Transparentsea campaigners on Bondi Beach last Thursday.Hilton Dawe (left), Will Conner, Dave Rastovich, Chris Del Moro and Howie Cooke. PHOTO: Skennar/Transparentsea
The 36-day, 700km-plus anti-whaling and environmental awareness sea voyage campaign in trimaran kayaks initiated by Brunswick Heads professional free-surfer and activist Dave Rastovich ended last Thursday on Bondi Beach.

With him on the marathon trip which started on October 1 from Byron Bay’s Main Beach were fellow campaigners Chris Del Moro surfer and artist from the USA, Byron Bay musician Will Conner, Byron Bay activist Howie Cooke and photographer Hilton Dawe, also from Byron Bay.

 Dubbed ‘Transparentsea’, the campaign aimed to raise awareness of the Federal Government’s lack of action on Japanese whaling activity in the Southern Ocean, as well as highlighting areas of environmental concern along Australia’s eastern seaboard.

 Rastovich, who in 2005 co-founded the group ‘Surfers for Cetaceans’ and was this year one of just 300 invitees to Al Gore’s ‘The Climate Project’ Asia Pacific Summit in Melbourne, urged the Australian public to pressure Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett to uphold their pre-election promises.

“Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett told the Australian people they would enforce and uphold international laws that would prevent the Japanese from targeting whales in the Southern Ocean sanctuary,” he said.

“To date they have not acted on these promises.

“We’re here as representatives of the global surfing community and all people who are passionate about saving these amazing mammals, and we’re asking Rudd and Garrett to act now and do what they said they were going to do.”

Rastovich said everyone they had encountered during the trip, in every coastal town and at every beach, had been shocked to learn the government was not acting on the issue.

He said that during their stops along the coast, the Transparentsea team, in conjunction with Surfrider Foundation and Tangaroa Blue, also had initiated beach clean-ups with all the rubbish collected, tabulated and added to the National Marine Debris database.

“This journey has given us first-hand experience, undeniable proof, that our beaches may look good from far, but they are far from good,” he said.

“We visited beaches that did not have a single human footprint yet they’re covered with plastic and other forms of garbage that damage ecosystems and enter the food chain where it stays forever.”

Rastovich asked that anyone who cared about the whaling issue send a message to their local council or address it directly to Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd, to prompt the government into action.

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