Flying the Netherlands flag and operated by ‘eco warriors’ Sea Shepherd, Sam Simon departed Wellington, New Zealand on 9 December 2014 to seek out commercial fishing operators poaching stocks of the Patagonian Toothfish from Antarctic waters. Sam Simon, with a crew of 30, will meet up with another of the Sea Shepherd fleet, Bob Barker, and the two vessels, with their dazzle camouflage, will operate in the Antarctic for up to three months.
The Patagonian Toothfish is a large, slow-growing species, and a catch of 1,500 tonnes could return NZ$108 million. Stocks of the fish are very limited, so there is great incentive for ‘pirate’ operators to far exceed licensed quotas. While on their southern patrol, the Sea Shepherd vessels will also monitor Japanese ‘research’ whaling ships. Sam Simon is named after a TV producer who paid for the vessel. VHY