SwitchOn! Issue 1.2 - Page 35

Catch Your Planet Needs You! every Monday 7-8pm 94.1fm Melbourne – global streaming from 3WBC Your Planet Needs You welcomes home the Sea Shepherd Fleet by Viv Benton The Sea Shepherd ships have just returned to port in Australia where two, the Steve Irwin and the Sam Simon are moored at Sea Works in Williamstown near the city of Melbourne. On weekends the ships are open to the public and Sea Shepherd volunteers take tours to point out the features of the ships, and talk about the role they have played in preventing the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary near the frozen continent of Antarctica. It is to the credit of the previous and present Australian governments that asked the International Court of Justice to rule on whether the Japanese whaling fleets activities constituted “scientific whaling” or whether it was commercial whaling in disguise, that the taking of whales by the Japanese fleet has now been ruled illegal. Whales are extremely important to the marine ecosystem as they keep the entire system in check. The feces of whales, seeds the ocean with iron, encouraging the growth of phytoplankton. These tiny plants take in CO2 to grow - absorbing it from the atmosphere, and they give back to the atmosphere oxygen, which most animals need to breath. Phytoplankton are fed on by the ocean’s krill who in turn are the mainstay food for many of the ocean’s creatures, in particular whales. The whales trawl the ocean for the krill, which when passed through the gut of whales is excreted and finds it’s way slowly to the ocean floor where it locks away CO2 out of the atmosphere in the depths of the ocean. When whales are removed from the marine ecosystem, this delicate balance is thrown into chaos and the CO2 in t H][