SURFERS STAND-UP TO WHALING AS TRANSPARENTSEA ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS INITIATIVE FINISHES AT BONDI
(Thursday, November 5th, Bondi Beach, NSW, Australia): The anti-whaling and environmental awareness campaign initiated by professional free-surfer and activist Dave Rastovich (Brunswick Heads, NSW, AUS) reached its exciting conclusion at Bondi Beach, Sydney today following an epic and testing 36 day voyage by sea which began at Byron Bay on October 1st.
Anti-whaling and environmental campaigner, free-surfer Dave Rastovich rides his last wave to shore at Bondi following an epic 36 day, 700+km voyage from Byron Bay. Image credit Skennar/Transparentsea
Dubbed 'Transparentsea' the campaign takes aim at the Australian 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 and his fellow campaigners, including surfer/artist Chris Del Moro (San Diego, CA, USA), musician Will Conner (Byron Bay, NSW, AUS), activist Howie Cooke (Byron Bay, NSW, AUS) and photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, NSW, AUS) were welcomed to shore by hundreds of well-wishers and supporters, having accrued nearly 800km at sea in their trimaran kayaks, as they traced the path of migrating humpback whales south.
Surfers show their support by paddling out to greet the Transparentsea team at Bondi. Image credit Skennar/Transparentsea
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, recounted the incredible personal interaction he and his team had experienced alongside whales during their journey and encouraged the Australian public and all-like minded people 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. To date they have not acted on these promises,' said Rastovich.
'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.'
'Everyone we've encountered during our trip, in every coastal town and at every beach, has been shocked to learn the Government is not acting on this issue,' said Rastovich.
During their frequent stops down the coast, the Transparentsea team in conjunction with Surfrider Foundation and Tangaroa Blue also initiated beach-cleanups 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. 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 added.
Rastovich asked that anyone who cared about the whaling issue to send a message to their local council or addressed direct to Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd, to prompt the government into action.
Left to Right the Transparentsea campaigners included photographer Hilton Dawe, musician Will Conner, surfer Dave Rastovich, surfer Chris Del Moro, activist Howie Cooke. Image credit Skennar/Transparentsea
A petition has been established at transparentseavoyage.com http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/australia-keep-your-word-stop-japanese-whaling-in-the-southern-ocean-whale-sanctuary#at