Scuba Goat

Jeff Hansen - Sea Shepherd Global Director - S02 E06

July 13, 2021 Matt Waters / Jeff Hansen Season 2 Episode 6
Scuba Goat
Jeff Hansen - Sea Shepherd Global Director - S02 E06
Show Notes Transcript

Originally from Melbourne, Jeff Hansen resides in Perth, Western Australia and is one of 6 Global Directors for Sea Shepherd.  As leader or co-lead he has played a pivotal role in protecting Australia's coastline.  Stopping the West Australian shark cull, preventing the worlds gas hub titan from ploughing through the largest Humpback Whale nursery on earth and stopping BP from drilling for oil in the rich, fragile and biodiverse waters of the Great Australian Bight. 

Jeff is humble, passionate and dedicated to the world's wildlife and joins me on the show to discuss various elements that keep him ticking, his opinions and achievements he and the larger global Sea Shepherd team have made.

Jeff's links:

Facebook

Instagram

Sea Shepherd links:

Sea Shepherd Australia Facebook page

Sea Shepherd website

Sea Shepherd donation link

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Matt Waters:

Hey there dive buddies and welcome to the show. Since becoming closer to and more aware of our blue world. I've noticed how many marvelous foundations charities and organizations there are doing their bit. Equally so I've also noticed the commercial entities that are seemingly polar opposite in the thought processes, or are they rather than fighting to enforce a particular view? Should we not be putting more effort into working together to not only provide awareness, but also protect the oceans inhabitants? My next guest has been the managing director of sea shepherd Australia for almost 14 years. And is one of the directors of sea shepherd global undoubtedly Jeff Hanson has been involved in multiple discussions from both sides of the fence. And on several occasions has found that working with the opposition, it brings up some unexpected and successful surprises. Jeff, welcome to the show, chief, how are you doing?

Jeff Hansen:

Oh, great. It's really good to be here on Scuba Goat and yeah, it's so great to connect with you, Matt .

Matt Waters:

You are more than welcome on the show, buddy. Um, and I've got , uh , right out the gate. I've just got to let everybody know that Jeff has gone above and beyond because the kids are out of school at the moment and he sat in his car to do the recording. Good on you, mate.

Jeff Hansen:

This is the things you have to do when , uh, you know, young hearts and minds, they just want to run. Right. And so they should right .

Matt Waters:

Um , right. So , um, do you want to give us a bit of a background on yourself, you are over in Perth at the moment?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah, this is where I guess I call home now, but I grew up in Melbourne , um, opposite , uh , Darwin Creek. And , um , I spent every day I could down there lifting rocks and catching lizards and snakes and just having a playground there with my mates and my first love was dinosaurs, but as I couldn't have them as pets. So I think we moved to, to reptiles and , um, you know, I guess I always had a dream of going out to be a wildlife vet specializing in reptiles or working in Africa, saving animals from poachers and , um , yeah , for all the wrong reasons. I did a double degree in electronic engineering and computer science , um , at LA Trobe uni in Bundoora. And , um, uh, in reality it was slightly eating away at me, you know , work in Germany. I worked in the states, which was great to see the world, but whenever I watched the nature documentary or I felt ill in the stomach and I thought I couldn't change my life. Um, and then I , um, yeah, I looked at Steve Erwin's life when he died and I thought, no , he died at 44, which is quite young, but he led a full life of passion. And so what's the point in living to be a hundred and do something you hate. That's not a life. Um, and so I started taking steps in other directions. I went and volunteered at Australia zoo and it was like, well, that's kind of, not really what I want to do. And then I met , um, it was with my wife marina and we were on the, on the Bunda cliffs, in Australia, which stretches for a hundred kilometers long and 80 to a hundred meters vertical. And looking over the coast there, we saw a mother and a calf Southern Ryte whale, and marina said, I'm going to go back and start to h elp th at s e a s h epherd m o b. An d, you know, I just learned about sea shepherd and was blown away by the, the words of Paul Watson and the actions of the volunteer crews and what they were doing actively intervening to stop illegal wh aling i n t he Southern ocean. And I just had to be a part of it. So yeah , I came back from Australia zoo. I met Paul Watson in Fremantle and , um, I said to Paul, I've just come back from Australia zoo. And he said, well, I'm trying to name one of our ships the Steve Erwin, could you help with that. And I said, well, I've just come back from there. I'll, I'll see what I can do with the connections I made. And two weeks later, while still working [inaudible] I saw an email which said Steve Erwin, and it is , um , Jeff, we have permission to name the ship the Steve Erwin and we'll get right on it, Paul. And I was really blown away by, I thought, geez, I've only just started taking a step in this direction and look what already what had happened. And then I flew to Melbourne and got the ship ready for campaign, took 10 days off school and watch the Terrio and Chris , and then , uh , name the, the ship, the Steve Erwin and it sail away to Antarctica to defend the whales from the Japanese harpoons. And , um, yeah, it broke my heart not being on it. Um , but on the third leg of that campaign, I got to go down to Antarctica and see one of the most beautiful places on the planet , uh , an ancient world of ice and, you know, Minkey's Southern right Whales, humpbacks, you know , um, you know, blue walls chunks of ice with the Delhi penguins on them and, and all cause storming through like the wolves of the sea, you know, just an incredible and nature. And I get, get gave me a taste of what our oceans were like before us. And , and , um, I strongly believed, you know, we were heading in a position where I, I believe , um , was away from where the Japanese whaling fleet was. And I presented my hypothesis to Paul Watson and we changed course and yeah, I kind of was caught up in the moment and stood back and thought, geez, what , what if I was wrong? But , but luckily we had , um, yeah, we had harpoon ships on the radar , um, trying to take us away from our position, sitting in the fog. And then Paul asked me for were I believe the factory whaling ship to be the Nishin Maru, which is the one that if we find the Nishin Maru, we can sit on it and block it from being able to transfer. Um , whiales in essence, if I can't count low dead whales and I can't kill live ones, and that's one of our most effective tactics down there and here we we encountered armed, Japanese coast guard, throwing percussion grenades at us in Australia's Antarctic territory. And we , uh , saved over 500 whales. And then I presented a number of ideas on how we could grow sea shepherd in Australia. And Paul asked me to, to run it back in , um, 2008. So yeah, and from then, it's just been one thing after another, a real baptism of fire , um,

Matt Waters:

Was that, that, that, you know, where you've gone from sitting and looking out over the bight to being on the ship with Paul and saying, we need to go that way instead of this way, is that all in one year, is that all in 2008?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah , 2006, late 2006 was, was standing at the Bunda cliffs and then 2007 was sort of volunteering at Australia zoo. And, and then , um , meeting Paul at the end of 2007, and then , um, February, 2008, the third leg of operation Migaloo. I was on the ship. And , um , with Paul, you know, as , uh , as a quartermaster in the bridge. So yeah, it, it happened quite quickly and I was definitely not a public speaker, but I started volunteering with a local Fremantle chapter and, you know, it just , um, they just flowed like all , all the, you know, all the stuff I was kind of keeping inside me about the natural world, you know, cause at the time when I met marina, I was, I met her at yoga. I was training for the west Australian Ironman. I was kind of doing lots of kilometers on the bike and that running and thinking, looking at nature and thinking, I'm going to spend more time doing something with nature. I don't know how or when, but it's, it's definitely, it's , it's pulling me in, in that direction.

Matt Waters:

It's obviously a very , um, a subject that's very close to your heart and stood you in good stead for well, the next 14 years,

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah, I think we all have it as kids, you know, kids that grow up in the world that we all love the natural world, we're still connected to it, but it's the way society is built. The kind of tries to take us away from it and disconnect us from the natural world. Um, and I think that some of us long for it and, and feel very strongly about it , uh , our whole lives. And , um, I've always felt a deep connection to nature and , and even some things where, you know, I, I hear about the connection that Aboriginal people have and I've seen it firsthand that they have to the land and the sea. And some of the things that I've seen, you wouldn't believe where I've walked down. Um, we're in wild beach and Northern beaches of Sydney. And I was with , uh , the morning elder and , and while song man Barna Lori , and we left the house together. We walked down to the beach, we stood at the ocean and he's told me there was a big part of dolphins out there. And I'd seen exactly what he had seen and looked out together and didn't say anything. And a couple of minutes later, a big pot of dolphins come through. And I was just, and I think that's the level of connection that we may never understand that you first Australians have with the land and the sea and to, and to each other. And one day I was out in the Bush , um , actually in Victoria , up near patent hill , um, going for a Bush walk through there with , and I, I stood there and I felt that there was kangaroos in the area and we're walking along an incline and I just sensed that they were in the end of the sanity , right close to us. And then I looked up this hill and there was about four or five of them just standing next to the tree, just still just looking, looking at us. So I think we have, we very much are connected. And , um, you know, we, I think we've , we've somewhat lost that. And , and, you know, often, sometimes you'll be in the garden and you were thinking about someone you haven't thought of for years. And then all of a sudden the phone rings and it's fam like, we always think it's still there. We've just lost that ability to tap into it. And I know that when , um , James Cameron was, you know, he made that film avatar and you can see that the connection that the indigenous group have in the film to the plants and the animals and how it's all connected through a neuro network. And, you know, I've read the book, the hidden life of trees works, explains that trees are connected with Fungal neural network where they can communicate with each other. They can ensure that the younger generation of trees don't grow too fast. So they get a good foundation. Or if there's trees in the forest are doing, doing, not doing well, they can send nutrients to some of those other trees in the forest to help them. Um, and yet I know that when Sam Worthington was, you know , getting ready for that role in avatar that , um, he , he spoke to some local , um , Nunga , um, elders to understand their connection to the land and the sea. So it's, it's real and it's, it's there and it's , um, even scientifically proven , um, it's, it's truly, truly amazing. And then there's the whole, you know, explaining the , the importance of the natural world to us from it's our life support that makes it possible for us to live here.

Matt Waters:

Well That's it, we are part of it aren't we.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. And I love that. Um, you know , I was with Paul Watson many years ago, down in Margaret river in Western Australia. And , um , he sat down with a bunch of school kids and he said, has anyone ever been on a spaceship? And all the kids are looking around at each other. And he said, yes, what you're online right now? This is spaceship earth hurdling through space, unlike any spaceship , there's the passengers and the crew, the crew run this ship, the insects, the worms, the turtles, the sharks, the trees, the plankton, they regulate our climate. They take care of our waste. They provide us with the food that we eat and the air that we breathe. Cool . Wait, wait, just the passengers, where's this here . And a good old time problem is we're killing off a crew . So we've got to protect the crew and if understood that business and government and , and right through the board, we, hopefully we shouldn't need these conservation movements or conservation fights. And we have a government that actually holds the ecology of our planet, you know, right up there. And instead of always focusing on the economy and infinite growth on a finite resource,

Matt Waters:

Yeah, it's a, it's a difficult one. Isn't it? Especially when you've got people that just don't have the knowledge and experience of, of what it's all about. Uh, and , and in fact are completely oblivious to the importance of everything,

Jeff Hansen:

But mind you, they, if they're given the knowledge, they can, like, I've seen people that have perceptions on sea shepherd and be that government be that industry. And, and when you just talk to them, not with ignorance, but to explain the importance of the natural world and talk about it in different ways. Like Sir David Attenborough does with BBC and et cetera, like the more people that have that knowledge, the more that it becomes common, the more that becomes the new norm , um, people will start to think about things differently and we have to change the way we live on a planet. And as we can see, you know, that the money is, is going to more investment in renewables , um, the price of coal and oil and gas is definitely, it's not being commercially viable anymore. Um, and it just, the whole saying is change is opportunity in disguise. So you have to be optimistic. Um, I think we just need to continue the fight as long as we can to, to have those environmental winds , to bite us that time that we all that we wake up.

Matt Waters:

Mm . Um, talking about environmental wins , um, I'm dying to get on the topic , um, Operation Jeedara , um, I'm just completely fascinated. And in awe of this one , uh , can you give us a bit of a background for those listeners that might not be aware of?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah, well, 2015 , I was in Adelaide. I met a fellow Peter Owne, who's the director of the wilderness society in south Australia. And he said that he put a call out to many groups to try and get them to help with , um , a big fight he was facing, which was BP wanting to drill for all in the great Australian bot in waters , deeper rougher, and more remote than the Gulf of Mexico, where they had their massive blow out there. Um, and also found out that less than six months after that big blowout in the Gulf of Mexico , um, that the Australian government granted leases the BP to drill for oil in the great Australian Bight, which is just, you know, at the time, I really didn't know much about the bite . So with Mernie elder Bunna Lawrie and , um , Peter Owen and myself, we sat down and form the , um, the great Australian Bight Alliance and formed the strategy on how we could potentially stop BP from drilling oil there. And , um, we really looked at, I guess, one of the things that had worked in the Kimberly , which was where we were successful in, in many other groups and indigenous as well, and stopping , um , a massive gas hub from going through the middle of the world's biggest humpback Whale nursery was to take the Steve Erwin up there and showcase what we would all lose if the project went ahead. And so in essence, we put together a voyage of, of expedition because when we're Googling these places that we're going to go to, Pearson Island, Noyts reef and St.Francis Isle Fennel island, and there was very little information about these places. Um, and so, yeah, we basically launched the campaign operation Jeedara , and the reason we call it Jeedara was because Mirning elder Bunna Lawrie. He told us the story of the great white whale Jeedara , um, which went into the great Australian Bight along the waters there and breathe life into the land and the sea, and that all the Marine life that there in the byte , um, through that area, go there to honor the journey of the great white whale Jeedara. And what's there in the bodies. It's nature on steroids. I mean, it's one of the last big intact Marine wilderness areas left on the planet. Um, you're talking deep sea canyons up welling of nutrients, giant squid, orcas, sperm, whales, blue whales humpbacks. One of the world's most significant Southern Ryte whale nurseries and seals, dolphins, penguins sharks, Mako sharks, great white sharks. Um, the place is truly remarkable. And the offshore islands, there are places like pearson island. They , uh , the welcoming party, there is Australian endangered sea lions rushing out to meet you as long nose , fur seals, there's, you know , black footed rock Wallabees, peninsula dragons, Cape barren, geese. And then, you know, I've been diving there with , um, you know, the south Australian parks team and the water. Quality's incredible, the visibility, and then the Marine life there, it's just so healthy and rich, you know , Harlequin fish and Southern blue devils. And yeah , it's just, and you know, when we arrived at Pearson, which was 70 kilometers off the coast of the air peninsula, you , you know, you had to wait for the right conditions to land at that beach there. And even then it was quite tricky. And there's such so many rocks where there's, you know, baby , um , seals underneath them be that Australian sea lions or the long nose fur seals. And it shows that if there was a spill in the byte and the spill modeling showed that it could impact much of Southern Australia from Western Australia around new south Wales, that places like Pearson, which are on par with the Galapagos would be lost. That'd

Matt Waters:

Be w we gotta , we got to put it into perspective there as well, because as a, as a non Aussie, you know, I've only been here three years, so I've done , uh , a lot of learning in the last three years. But prior to that, I knew literally nothing about Australia. So there's a lot of people that listen to this show that are outside Australia, and to give them an idea of the size of the location we're looking at , um, when BP did their , um, estimates on what would occur should a spell occur. ie how far the oil damage would stretch. It's over 12,000 kilometers. Huge 12,000 is crazy.

Jeff Hansen:

You're dealing with a sea straight that is the biggest in the world. You know, the forties, the fifties, the sixties, you know, there's nothing between Australia and Antarctica. Yeah . Um, and you, you're dealing with, you know, deep seas. Um, and there is in the Gulf of Mexico, you've got quite an industrial area where there's plenty of other vessels and support rigs to handle the spill, but in the great Australian Byte there's nothing, there's no oil and gas there. So if there was a blow out, there's nothing there to handle the impact. And you're not going to be able to do anything about a spill there because of the sea state, the conditions, the canyons , et cetera. So all you're going to be able to do is spray dispersants everywhere. And when you know that the dispersants that some of them were used in the Gulf of Mexico made the spill 52 times more toxic. Um , so this stuff, and even BP, when they, you know, through an FOI request that was done, found that , um, BP actually said that, you know, one of the benefits, if there was a spill would be to create jobs in the cleanup effort. I mean, and , and, and, and the, the NOPSEMA, actually wrote back and said , look, I, I think you better take , take that bit out, but, but in the end, BP pulled out. And then the next, next cab off the rank was Chevron. They pulled out. And then we had , um, Equinor, which was falling out as Statoil a Norwegian company. And they were the last big oil and gas company to pull out. So there's still a number of leases there. We're still working on it. Or we want to say greater protection for the bight. And we want to say an anti-seismic in our oceans. Um, you know, seismic is so destructive to our marine life , um, from plankton right through to whales .

Matt Waters:

Do you wanna explain that to me, mate ?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. So seismic is something that is used by a lot of the oil and gas companies to , you know , firstly, you know, blast, you know, sound waves through, down to the ocean floor and then get a readout so they can see what you know, where there are oil and gas deposits in the ocean. But you know, a lot of the Sonic blasts and the impact of that does is it has shown to actually cause impact to cetations right through to, to plankton. Um, you know, we're talking about animals that are, you know, it could be down, it could be , um, you know, sperm whales and all sorts of other whiles where it causes hemorrhaging in a brain and effectively, they just have to get out the ocean. And often they strand or beach themselves and autopsies have shown, you know, blood coming out frequently through there is a and causing hemorrhaging of the brain . Um, the other type of noise in our ocean is obviously , um, sonar from our, our submarines and, and, you know , um, Navy operations as well. That has a big impact on citations as well. There's been footage of documentation of, you know , a Navy vessel going through and a pod of orcas just storming towards the coast to get to get out of the water because of the noise is just impacting them so bad , like , wow. Um, and then there's shipping noise as well, which, you know , our ships all over the world and it's really, well-documented in the film , um, uh , Sonic sea. And it just showcases, you know, the impacts that humans have had on our oceans , um, through sound because, you know , our world is very much driven by sight , you know, we're up here and we can see as far as, as light can travel, you know , out into the galaxies and like air is an incredible medium , um , for lot , um, our oceans and water is an incredible medium for sound. Where blue whales used to be able to communicate with each other from one side of the planet to the other. And so when you think about that, that that is their way to navigate and communicate that with deafening out the oceans. And that's so sad that we've done that. Um, and like, because of, because of ignorance and what we're seeing now is that even fishing companies like , um, you know, the tuner or, or other , um, Rock lobster, et cetera, that they're actually asking , um, you know, they're joining forces to see inquiry's up, which just got recently, there's an inquiry got up on seismic and oceans from Senator Peter wish Wilson of the greens and the reason he got that inquiry because of backing from the commercial fishing sector, because they're saying the impacts of seismic , um, on their fisheries as well, because it's impacting lobsters and plankton. And so even in some cases they're asking to be compensated when , uh, oil and gas companies that come through and done their seismic work. So yeah, it's, it's another can of worms that , um , we , we need to address, I mean, best way to look after the oceans is just leave it alone .

Matt Waters:

Just talking about the bight there. Um, I did watch the video that goes with operation Jeedara. Um, in fact, I've watched it probably six times now in the last week. Oh , wow . I think it's fantastic. Um, and I urge anyone to watch it. The thing that I actually really loved about it was when the old boys sat up on top of the , um, the bight looking out to see . And we talk about, as you mentioned earlier, Jeedara being , uh , a white whale and lo and behold, there's a white calf that rocks up in front of him and stays for an hour or two, doesn't it?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. So as I mentioned, we named the campaign operation Jeedara and in honor of Bunna Lawri and the mirning and they're dreaming. And when we arrive at heada bight , um, which is, you know, you can stand there at the platform and, and count at the time 50, 60 mother and calf pairs of Southern right Whales for their carves , uh, incredibly important nursing grounds there. And often you'll even see if, you know, cause you get some big sharks, are there huge growth, great witehs. And they'll come in trying to look for an opportunity to, you know, grab one of the calves. And so they've noticed that the , the mothers will actually form a form a group and put the carves in the middle and protect the carves carves that way. But Bunna Lawrie a mirning elder, was standing at the , at the edge of the cliffs. And he was, you know , using his clap sticks and , and singing and doing ceremony and welcoming the Whales Whales. And because of that, that relationship goes back to, you know , thousands of years to , to millennia. Um, and he was standing there and he had , um, you know , a mother come over Southern right whale and sit right in front of him and a white calf , um, right in front of him. And so I remember standing there, we designed the logo for the campaign and I very much wanted it to be very , um, having an emotional feeling and connection with it. And so that the logo had the, you know, the Bunda cliffs, which stretched for a hundred kilometers long, 80 to a hundred meters, vertical turquoise ocean and Jeedara the white whale. And I'm standing there at that, had a bite with a burning elder and, you know, we've got our t-shirts on with the logo on it and here's a white calf right in front of us. You know, it's just,

Matt Waters:

Its uncanny, you're stood inside your own logo?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. And I just think it's, there's , there's too much of that that happens, you know, for it to be coincidence.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Yeah. I've got to agree. I mean, and I'm sure there's many divers out there as well. I'd probably think the same as, you know, you go looking for particular species when you want to film them or take camera shots or anything like that, or even just to experience it and those times, and I've had a few now where you've been in the water and there's been quite a lot of other divers. And let's say for example, a whale shark or a manta Ray is off in the distance, or even more recently a Mola Mola. And you see the cavalry charge of all the divers chasing after it to, you know , live the experience. And on several occasions, just have that little moment. And we had thinking, oh, she's going to turn left in a minute. I ended up just swimming at 90 degrees , um , away from everyone and the dive guides or your dive buddies are like, you know what , the only thing you do and it's going that way and that's okay, come this way, come this way. And sure enough, you know, it comes back round and you have that moment and you can still see the cavalry charge, following the whale shark as she comes over and gives you a little wink on the way past. And it's a sensational, sensational feeling. And it is , it's almost like this link that you're talking about. That's what I feel. I feel like there's a link there to the special moments.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. I think animals can sense it. You know, when , when we're, when we're quiet, it's a bit like that. They talk about great whites to can tell when my calm and my heart, when our heart rates are racing , you know, and , and I think that's the same with, with nature. They can sense how people are reacting and responding. Um, I've been fine with diving. I , I get frustrated being in a dive group where you've , you know , you're constantly on the move. Yeah . Now when you , I like to just sometimes sit and watch and see what happens, you know , um , a bit like, you know, being traveling in Europe and you find a nice Plaza or plucker and just sit there and watch the world go by and watch the day-to-day happenings of life. And that's the thing, you know, you're , you're a visitor in, in the world, in the oceans that at some reef or some ecosystem or some particular area, which is a number of animals home and they're going about their daily lives. And to spend some time, you know, I'd rather spend, you know , half an hour sitting in one spot and just watching and see what evolves.

Matt Waters:

I quite a lot of people in Papua New Guinea do that, especially the older, older , uh , divers that didn't want to move around to sit him on top of the reef , four or five meters, leave them there for an hour and a half. They loved it. Yeah . Yeah. Watch the world go by.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. It's a beautiful thing. And I mean, it's interesting, like you hear those stories where, you know, someone that's looked after elephants for, you know, many, much of their life and being a caretaker for elephant , um, you know, orphans, et cetera. And then that particular person has passed away. And the day that they pass away, a whole group of elephants have come back into camp and pay their respects and no one's , you know , sent them an SMS or anything. And there's so many stories like that , that they have this connection as well, you know.

Producer - Rod:

G'day Scuba Goat listeners, rod here, producer of the show. I hope that you're enjoying this episode and that you'll subscribed and following the pod on your favorite app, please keep an eye out for the all new Scuba Goat website coming soon. Now, back to Matt and the show.

Matt Waters:

Um, let's, let's have a look at some of the campaigns shall we.

Jeff Hansen:

Lets go.

Matt Waters:

All right . I'm just going to list them off if you want to give a bit of a background to them and a bit of an overview how's that?

Jeff Hansen:

sounds good.

Matt Waters:

Ready? Um, Operation Dolphin Bycatch.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. So that's led up by our French director Lamya and she's one of our six global directors , um, to document what's happening with the it's a legal fishing fleet of France, but a bycatch of upwards of 10,000 dolphins a year. So showcasing well it's going on there, which is, and even sometimes bringing dolphin carcasses into the heart of Paris to say, well, this is still going on. And this is the impact that , um, you know, our health, you know, of eating seafood is having , um, we go on about Tashi and his 10,000 dolphins getting killed every year by illegal fishery off of our coast. So, yeah. And , um , even to the point we had , um, New York times on one of our ships and we had a fishermen saying, oh, we never catch them. Cause we've got pingers in our nets . And this particular fishermen pulled in , uh , a net , um , with New York times on board and there was a dolphin court in the net. So , so yeah, it's , um, it's been a very successful campaign and even featured in Seaspiracy.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Yeah. And , um, is this, it's still a occuring every year, isn't it it's not been resolved yet.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. It's still ongoing and it's still gathering more and more support from within France to put pressure on the government to system action. So yeah, it's still ongoing. What

Matt Waters:

Is , what is it with, I know we're going to talk about the other operations and campaigns and we'll have it , but what is it with governments? Why can't, why can't they actually listen? Um, you know, from, from your experiences , you must have spoken with a few of them or at least communicated with them. Why, why is there such , um, why, why did they avoid actually taking action and just stop in all the crap that's going on?

Jeff Hansen:

I think because they , they don't like to choose one side or the other and often governments will choose industry over NGOs and conservation. So that's, you need to build up a campaign to the point that it's so strong that it becomes political, that it's going to be, they're going to not get certain key people in those seats back in the next election . Um, so ultimately very few governments do the right thing as in what's what's best for humanity and best for the nation. Um, because they're worried about the impacts on the next, the next election. So, and you do have, for instance, you know, rec fishermen and commercial fishing are very powerful voice in Canberra. And we also have an issue where we have, you know, political , um, you know, corporate donations as well. So, you know, that's, that's another big, big impact that, you know, the greens have fought to try and stop corporate donations at a government level, but both the library and the liberal parties have blocked that because I get those donations and that, that, that impacts, you know , political decisions as well. So there's, there's a lot of stuff that needs to be sorted , um, to stop us having these fights.

Matt Waters:

And it's someone with a bit of balls in parliament to say enough's enough, isn't it?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. And you know, every time that they have tried and , you know, in the past, even, you know , to try and see some real action on climate , um, then they've seen certain seats where they still want to have a coal mine, and they're worried about coal jobs, et cetera, et cetera, that they're going to lose those, those seats in those positions. So it's sometimes political suicide to do the right thing. But then there is the fact that these governments and people, at times, haven't gone into these areas and say, look, we're going to have these announcements. We need to shift away from coal. It's not good for your health with black lung disease. It's not good on the planet, but you're not going to be left without a job. We're going to transition you. We're going to work towards getting you out of these, these, these, this , this industry like Germany have done with, you know, closing down coal there. So it's just a lack of, I think , um, you know, vision and , and communication and strategy. Um, and I think the three year term doesn't help as well.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Yeah. So it's fear of missing out and seats and , and the money that comes with it.

Jeff Hansen:

Absolutely . Yeah .

Matt Waters:

Well, you mentioned Coal as well. Um, I'm just looking through the list, this , uh, operation reef defense, that's the one to do with the GBR, isn't it?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. So that's the Adani coal mine down in Carmichael, coal mine , west part of the stop Adani Alliance , um, and effectively where they were going to, there's still, you know, it's being slowed up as much as we can, but, you know, a massive coal mine up there from Adani an Indian , um, you know, company that , um , know muscling in, on building this massive coal mine and having huge ships going in and out and across the great barrier reef. So yeah, we , part of that Alliance and the , the way that that's worked is really just to, we took the Steve Erwin up the the coast to, to raise awareness and show support of, of that , um, that fight. Um, and then also, you know, with the Alliance, they've working behind the scenes, try and stop, you know, certain companies and banks from providing insurance and financial support to that. To that project, so it's definitely, you know, an ongoing fight, but yeah, I just don't see how coal is commercially viable anymore. And it's the same with, with gas as well.

Matt Waters:

And it's, I mean, this is coal , that's just been delivered back to India, isn't it? It's not , um, it's not for use here.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah, that's correct. And I think there's quite a lot of the call was going to be used for some, you know , producing some , um, some plastic plant as well to make more plastics. So, you know, in terms of, you know, the, you know, the energy required as well. So yeah, coal is just, it's just got to go and it's, it's, it's moving that way globally. Um, but you know, Australia, if you measure our emissions in terms of, you know , what also we export and leave the country where basically one of the world's worst polluters per capita and , and our action on climate is ranking about dead last.

Matt Waters:

I can listen to it. I mean the size of the country and the, the natural source of resources we've got here with the sunlight and , and there's so much more that can be done.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. We have a country that has so much sun, so much wind and so much resources in terms of mining and what we could pull out of the ground to make more, you know , batteries and electricity. There's all this opportunity for growth and jobs in the, in the renewable sector. Um, recently we've closed down, you know, Holden another car manufacturing plants here when we should have been on the front foot and transition them to electric cars like Australians really want to get on board and buy electric cars, but there any global cars come from outside Australia. And as a result, they're hit with huge luxury car taxes. So the Australians are really wanting to get on board with this, but they let down by the government. So, and there's just all this opportunity right here in this country to be a leader in renewables and , and even car manufacturing and everything, but it doesn't get the support because of decades and decades of fossil fuel companies going into Canberra with their political donations. And then those industries are subsidized and a huge amount.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, fingers crossed. We'll get someone who could, when are you, I'll tell you what you take his job, you sort out.

Jeff Hansen:

I have been approached a couple of times, but I just feel a lot of politicians end up doing, you know , things that are , you know, so wasting so much time on areas that, you know, dealing with slush funds and what someone's secretary is up to and as opposed to actually doing the work. Um, you know, and I think that's the thing I like about Sea Shepherd, but it's , you know, we can produce real, tangible results for the oceans , uh , and we're becoming more and more effective every day.

Matt Waters:

Indeed, indeed . Now I did mention in my introduction to the episode about how you've worked with industry to come to resolutions before, and I think it was during your Ted talk , um, or it was a video I've lost count of how many videos I've watched now in the last week, but , um, there's one in particular that actually struck a chord with you. Would it be fair to say that.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. So we've been successful in stopping whaling in the Southern ocean and, you know, the Australian government and New Zealand government , uh , kudos to them that took Japan to the international court of justice and found Japan as wiling to be illegal. Uh , any end I did pull out and, you know , over a decade of campaigning, we saved the lives of over 6,000 whales in the Southern ocean whilst century is in fact, the sanctuary for the whales for those campaigns took up a huge amount of time, money and resources. That meant we couldn't do really anything else. Um, and when we got back from an Antarctic mission in March, we were pretty much getting ready till December to get ready to go again. So with the end of whaling , um, we looked at illegal fishing in the Southern ocean and namely the Pentagon Antarctic tooth fish poaching, a deep sea Cod fish , which is sought after for its white , um , oily flesh , um, very little binds , uh, otherwise known as Chilean sea bass in the restaurants, but there was six vessels wanted by Interpol that were out there, you know, flouting the laws , um, you know, fleeing and, and , and, and able to be, you know , detained and DePaul was after them. And within a couple of days of reaching the searching grounds, obviously the Bob Barker captain by Peter Hammerstad found the most notorious poacher, the thunder , um, and we notified the thunder. You're not supposed to be here. You're, you're illegal. There's an Interpol purple notice out for you. And they said, oh, we're just, we're just transitioning. We're just passing through. And you've just dumped all your, all your gillnets , uh, and you're on the run. And they , they just ran. So the Bob Barker began to shoot and our vessel, the Sam Simon , um, they also , um, they came in and found the location of the thunders gillnets and pulled them in over about three weeks in icy cold conditions. And those nets stretched for 72 kilometers long.

Matt Waters:

72 K.

Jeff Hansen:

72 K's long.

Matt Waters:

Jesus.

Jeff Hansen:

And, but that se chase lasted for 110 days at sea. And during that sea chase , um, I'd recently met the guys from Austrial fisheries, one of the legal two fish companies, and they had perceptions on us and we have perceptions on them. They felt we were a bunch of Cowboys and just there for media. And they quickly learned that, hang on, you guys have reached the search grounds, found the most notorious poacher, and you're onto them. You notifying governments, you notifying Interpol to come out and arrest the ship. And so I guess a bit of a relationship developed between , David Carter, the CEO of Austral fisheries and myself. And we realized that we saw the same key threats to the oceans and more illegal fishing, plastics, climate, and threats to vulnerable and endangered species. So David said, well, we've got a vessel leaving , um, Norway on route two more vicious. Perhaps we might be able to j oin up w ith the chase. And so one morning the thunder captain w oke up and found two conservation ships and an industry ship on, on his stern. And that sent a very powerful message because, you know, it's one thing for conservation ships to be, you know, chasing poachers on the high seas, but an industry ship that was, that was something new. Um, and so that sent a very powerful message out there and, u m, which was, which was fantastic, you know, to see that. And even the words that the captain of, u m, the Ostral ship said to the captain of the thunder were really inspiring saying, you know, you know, we've got to look after the s ea. You know, you've got to stop taking and taking a nd, and, and do do the right thing by our children. And of tthe Thunder was definitely s haken by it. And in the end, he, he scuttled h is i n his own ship o f the p rinciple, our n ation, south to m ine. We had to rescue the crew and took t hem into the authorities. And the office o fficers got three years jail, 1 5 million euros in fines. But, u m, in about, in about two years, we had the six vessels wanted b uy Interpol. We're all out of action. Um, a number we found in port, we found him in the Southern ocean, and then we located an in port, then we notify the authorities and they went out and detained the ships one vessel, the , um, the Viking we found in Indonesia's borders . We notified the fisheries minister at the time, Susie , she sent out the Navy, detained it and then, and then subsequently blew it up. So, and , and those campaigns gave birth because of, because of one of the countries that said that would arrest the thunder was Gabon. If it came in its waters, those , um, yeah, those that, that chase of the thunder gave birth to discussions with Gabon, which then linked to the now eight government partnerships we have in Africa, which is producing incredible results for oceans.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Now that's a, that's a huge element of sea shepherd right now, isn't it?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. And that's, I think, you know , Testament to Peter hammerstedt our head of campaigns globally and was the captain of the sander and, you know, his , his vision as well , um , backed up by our global directors that, you know, Gabon had a very small coast guard . They couldn't patrol their entire 200 nautical mile eez, but they had a fishing fleet operating in their waters that pay money to fish there, but they never inspected some of these vessels because they couldn't get out there and reach them, even though they are welcome to , um, or , or go and , and stop illegal fishing vessels coming into their waters. So we said, well, we've got the ship, the mostly volunteer crew and the fuel, and you've got the authority, so why don't we partner up? And so in essence, we provide the tools in order for them to make the arrests. We also provide a training platform. We bring expertise on board , um, to be able to assist with that training, you know, Israeli defense , um, expertise as well. And in the end, we now they've been so successful those partnerships in Gabon. Yeah . Over four years ago, now that we have eight government partnerships in Africa and we've facilitated the arrest of, you know, over 60 illegal fishing vessels. Um, and in terms of tangible outcomes in places like Liberia, the artesian or fishermen, they can see the fish returning for the first time in decades.

Matt Waters:

Literally taken the words out of my mouth. I was going to ask that very question.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. Yeah. And they've , and they're actually, you know, these people , um, live on the beaches in, tin hearts. They have nothing else, but a livelihood to either, you know , eight or to , you know, as their livelihoods to catch fish, to sell, to get their kids to school. This is all these people have. And they've been yelling at the governments for years for help because they've had these massive trawlers come through and industrial fleets running over their wooden canoes, sometimes killing them, even recent stories of Chinese fleets coming through there and pouring petrol on them and setting them alight, I mean, just crazy stuff. And so to be able to help, and not only is it great from a conservation perspective and protecting, you know , these incredible unique Marine wilderness areas , um, but also to , you know, the impact on local artesian or fishermen. Um, the president of Liberia gave us the highest military honor for work tackling illegal fishing there. Um, and then also once again, just showcasing the impact that we're seeing with illegal fishing. There's such a link with library, you know, much so much of illegal fishing floats out there , uh , their slaves on board because the fishing fleets that have , have traveled further and further to get the catch, because they're fished out waters close to the home, they can't get their costs of their maintenance of the ship down. They can't get their fuel costs down, but I can get the cost of the crew down by simply not paying them. And if you don't like it though , throw overboard. And then some people have been at sea for five years and not able to get home.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, that's crazy. Isn't it? It is. But what , uh , um, you know, with what you're doing in Africa, though , it's a huge deterrent as well. Isn't it? So where it's been pilfered and then just having that presence there now of having boats in the water that have got people on board that can take action and inspect the vessels, those that are trying to Dodge , um, the legal routes. Uh, I'm sure , uh , staying , uh, more vigilant in staying well out of the way.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. Well , I mean, it only takes a handful of arrests and the word gets out and even the legal ones, the ones with licenses to be there in some places have been leaving the entire ease it because they don't want to be, they don't want to be inspected, you know? So, so there's that huge opportunity there that you can protect a vast area of Marine ecosystem, you know, it's huge. Um, you know, and David , um, David , um , it's David Attenborough on the recent , um, a perfect planet episode five where he neurites our work in , um, in Africa. And he talks about how we arrested one vessel, the little Biko two , um, which was set up to process deep, deep sea sharks , uh, for, for shark liver oil. And that vessel had the ability to walk out of a half a million sharks a year, and with one arrest , we're able to save that. And, you know, David's, so David's talking about, you know, the importance of sharks and our oceans, and also that they're healthier oceans are the more rich and bio-diverse , they are the greatest , they stand a chance in fighting against the impacts of the climate, as well as the world's greatest carbon sink. So it all ties in, you know, with, with, you know , the more, you know, illegal fishing vessels that we stop. Uh , and the breather that we give our oceans also ties in with the climate fight, as well as our work in the bite and our work , um, cleaning up a beaches around Australia and, you know, working with indigenous Rangers in Arnhem land, you know, removing tons and tons of Marine debris and, and nets from critical sea turtle, nesting habitat, and sacred country to the young old people.

Matt Waters:

When was that? Um, what was that huge haul of rope you guys dragged in? Um, so many videos now,

Jeff Hansen:

It wasn't , there was one , um, you probably thinking of the one-off , um, uh, Cocus islands, where it was yeah . A huge look like a big Moring line, or , um, it's huge amount of rope that was just, you know, took our team a lot of effort to getting out of the ocean. Um, but yeah, Cocos is, it's been tough for our crew going, you know, volunteers they're getting there and , um, and cleaning up there because they're just, they're just so amazed by how much rubbish and marine debris is washing up on the coast. Um, and you know, there are still beautiful parts of Cocos that, you know, I guess a bit sheltered from the rubbish and still a beautiful place to go and visit. There's still a lot of work to do to actually clean it up. And a lot of that trash there is coming from Asia. Um, but , uh , crew , I , I spoke to them as they were there and they felt so in such despair because they're cleaning up the beaches and some of the plastic they're pulling up , um , pulling off the beaches, just disintegrates in their hands. And as they're pulling it up, cleaning it up off the beach, they're looking out to sea and they can see more just coming and coming and coming. And they're like, what's the point? And it's like , well, you know, not fighting these fights is not an option. You know, you just to know where our planet's headed and do nothing. That's just suicide. We've just got to do what we can. And this is same mentality we had with previous wars. You know, we, we didn't go well, the opposition's too big and , um , what's the point we just give up no, we all fought. And that's, I think that's the whole message here is if there's one thing worth fighting for on this planet, it's it's life and looking after the natural, natural beauty of our world, and yeah, we've made a mess, but we've got to start somewhere and start cleaning it up

Matt Waters:

For sure. Yeah. And do you think , um, that the new gen , the younger generations that are coming through are much more aware than , um, those that are, you know , our age and older? Are they more open to listen?

Jeff Hansen:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah . I'm , I'm inspired by, I think the curriculum now is teaching more kids about the natural world and the impacts what's happening with plastics and climate, et cetera, et cetera. We have the school strikers out there on the street calling for action on climate. I was part of a panel a couple of weeks ago, talking about climate. I was sat next to a girl is 15 years old that just took the Australian government to the federal court , um , and found that the Australian federal environment minister has a duty of care for future generations. And so, yeah, that's, I was nowehere near doing stuff like that. Um, so yeah, it's inspiring to see where kids are at and what's coming down the line. And to me that gives me a lot of hope because I think, yeah, we've , we're having some great environmental wins, but environmental wins are only temporary , um, because you live to fight them another day, but if we've got this younger generation coming through and we can hold the line and we can bide us more time for more of us to wake up and as younger generation voting more for the planet, then hopefully our jobs will get a lot easier in the future.

Matt Waters:

Operation Pahu?

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. So that's um , in New Zealand, we've got the last of the , uh, well, I got the Mala dolphins, which are probably one of the most endangered small dolphins in the world. They're incredibly important to Mauri culture. Um, then we've got, you know, all the different, other small spaces of dolphins that are being impacted by fishing gear and fishing nets over there caught in the gillnets , uh , as well. So our team in new Zealand's there just trying to see what we can do to raise awareness about, you know , if nets are being put in the wrong place or placed in exclusion zones that are supposed to be, you know, net free for the local, you know, Mauri and Hector dolphins. So yeah, there's a lot of work , good work we're doing there. It's only a small team in New Zealand. There's no one, no one paid over there, but they do regular beach cleanups and do what they can. Um, absolutely. So, and new Zealand's obviously had , uh , a lot of crew members over the years, you know , on our boats , standing in the Southern ocean, defending the southern ocean whale sanctuary be that Australia and New Zealand Antarctic territory places like the Ross sea, et cetera. So, yeah, it's , um, I think that's where, you know, Paul Watson started Sea Shepherd in 1977 , um, you know, and it was really, I don't think Paul expected it to get where it's got today was kind of get a ship and go out and find the , the , the , um, the part whaling vessel the Sierra , uh , the most notorious poaching vessel and , um, locate that vessel and take it out of action , um, which he did and, you know, which was just remarkable back in the day, what Paul did. And I guess it's really grown from a save the whales movement , um, to a save the oceans movement. And , um, it just gets stronger and stronger. Um, it's funding is always an issue. Like we , I think sea shepherd historically has been incredibly good at delivering results , um, and probably lacks the , the funding to, to support it. But we're definitely something that we're working on.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. And it's ever evolving. That's the thing. I remember everything grows from somewhere and Paul started it and look at the size of it now, where's it going to be in another 30, 40, 50 years?

Jeff Hansen:

I think that's the thing with Paul is that, you know, when I, you know, named or facilitated the naming of the vessels of Steve Erwin and , and I spent like two weeks and , you know, always, you know , working really hard to get that, that , um, outcome happen . The email I got from Paul was, hi, Jeff, we have permission to name the ship the Steve Erwin and we'll get right on it. Paul and I read it and I went, oh, wow, that's amazing. But then I'll read it again. It was that he didn't even say thanks. And then I understood Paul's mentality really early on as the founder of sea shepherd. I didn't do it for Paul. I wasn't doing it for him. I was doing it for the movement and doing it for the oceans. And that's the thing I really understood really early on about Sea Shepherd, but also about Paul is that, you know , he asked me to, you know, be the run sea shepherd in Australia back in 2008 and he's never micromanagement, you know, and he's, he said that the best thing to do with power is just to give it away, you know , and that's the way that Sea Shepherd has been able to operate the way we've done over the years on a budget globally of about $15 million , because it's about imagination and passion and , um, you know, people from all over the world, mostly volunteers, a handful of staff globally , um, and that sort of ethics and values , um , is from the top all the way through like our six global directors have all been on the front line. They've all been on the ships, be there in Antarctica, you know, play off Africa. They've all been on the front line, defending our oceans. So they've , they all come with a love of the natural world, a deep understanding of its ecological importance and, you know , a real passion for being lean and effective. I mean, I, I'm the managing director for Australia and one of the six global directors. And yet I run Sasha , but from a donated office desk in Fremantle , from a company that UDL , urban design landscape architects, they're passionate about what we do. I said, look, there's a free desk, free coffee, free internet , go for it. And I, I love that. I love that we can be, you know, have not have these big offices. And, you know, when we, we meet donors, we can say hand on heart. You know, that they're part of this, they're part of the victories. There is these are as much our supporters and donors is a crew on the front line . And you know, we're not building all this capacity , um , in terms of big offices and wasting donor's money. Yeah.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. It's been put to good use, has to be , um, not political seats. Yeah . Yeah,

Jeff Hansen:

Absolutely. And it's, it's important, you know, it's, it's important to say hand on heart that, you know, I wouldn't waste my time with an organization that wasn't delivering tangible results and wasn't true to its values right down the line. Now ships are all plant-based ships , there's no meat, right on products on our ships and merchandise is all eco ethical, you know, right down the line, you know, organic cottons and dyes and no sweat shops, et cetera. Um, and any Sea Shepherd event always has to be plant-based , you know, so we follow everything right down the line.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Yeah. It's good to see. And there's plenty of , um, you know, you talked about the volunteers and everyone doing that, that good bit around the country and indeed around the world. Um, I see a lot of markets and market stalls , um, being very active here in Australia and I think it's fun . Marvelous, absolutely marvelous.

Jeff Hansen:

Well, these volunteers , uh, you know, they they're , they're moms and dads and people with lives and they're giving up their spare time to get up, sometimes it's dark to pack the car, to get into the local markets and raise funds and awareness. There are no commission they're not paid , um, or they organizing a cleanup and they get down like clean up the beach, but then they've got to go home and get all the gloves and all the tubs and everything and wash it all out and get it, get it dried for the next next time and do a cleanup . And these people are getting paid nothing. Um, and that's when, when you think, you know, in , in me , in my position, I've done all that as well, but it's also, I feel lucky that I've done every role in sea shepherd that we have now paid in Australia. Um, so that comes with a great level of respect and understanding and appreciation for what they do. But also when we have our volunteers out there working so hard , um, because they know that we're lean in effective, but that also keeps me honest as well to know that there's people out there that are giving up so much. So we have to be, you know , true to our values all the way down the line.

Matt Waters:

I applaud each and every one of them bravo. Um, Jeff, I think we'll , um, we'll wrap it up for now. Um, however , um, thank you very much for coming on the show.

Jeff Hansen:

Ah , thanks, Matt. It was a real delight

Matt Waters:

And spending a good portion of your afternoon, sat in your car. haha!

Jeff Hansen:

Well, I'm just parked right opposite the Swan river. And in fact, I'm looking out over the dash. All I can see is water. So this is often I run through here on my morning run sometimes or ride, and I've even seen bottlenose dolphins here and I've even seen the odd bull shark in the shallows here. So yeah. Lovely , beautiful, beautiful. It's it's a good place to live. Um, but , uh, yeah. Thanks Matt, for having us on the show, man , I've really enjoyed meeting with you and connecting with you and , um, yeah. We've whatever. However, we use the ocean for oxygen or diving or whatever. We've got to be custodians for our occeans. They are our primary life support

Matt Waters:

A hundred percent. And I openly invite Sea Shepherd representative to come on the show and tell me their experiences as well. I really enjoy that. Um, we've got a new website coming out soon and it all has a small bio pages. So for example , uh , this episode Jeff's episode, will have a little bio on Jeff and a few quick fire questions, but all the links to sea shepherd and everything we've spoken about in the show will be in there as well. And the same goes for anyone else who comes on the show. So put the word out in sea shepherd, get them on board a bit more than keen to have them tune in and create some more magic

Jeff Hansen:

Sounds great, Matt . I know they'd love to sign up and have a chat and uh, yeah, we'll see where this relationship plays, but it's all , it's all good.

Matt Waters:

Good stuff. All exciting. Yeah . Oh, Hey, I'll tell you what I didn't ask you before you go. Um, Scuba Goat. I keep forgetting to ask the question. Um, greatest of all time dive, probably the most difficult question you're going to get after this year.

Jeff Hansen:

Hmm. Yeah, that's that's I feel very spoiled because of dive . The Galapagos was my first dive , uh, which was quite remarkable. Um, and I've, you know, I've done snorkeling in Tonga with humpbacks and I've done snorkeling in an Exmouth with , um , whale sharks and , Manta Rays, which was probably one of the most enjoyable experiences just lying on the water. I was, it wasn't diving. I was just snorkeling, but I had, you know, mantas just coming through one after the other , um, probably about 30 of them in a feeding pattern. And they where probably 10 meters away from me at the start. But in the end they were right next to me or I had to move back otherwise the whole gamut they were going to hit me. Um, I really enjoyed that, that experience , um, diving, I mean, I've , I feel lucky to have dived at Pearson island. It's such a healthy Marine environments , so lash , um, and just, you know, I remember seeing the film crew that were trying to get some footage for Northern pictures and filming a , um, a piece for ABC. And now we're trying to get all the Australian sea lions and, and they're all over and probably about 20 meters away from me. And I just sat on the bottom and I had five or six Australian sea lions with me. I had, I had , um , a female just sitting on the bottom, just looking at me, staring at me and a big male with it , with a neck that was just so thick and his face right in front of me. And I just sat there and I was just like, how good's this beautiful, clear water. I was just relaxed and breathing and have these sea lions just connecting with me. So, yeah, that's probably my, one of my favorite experiences , um , diving. Absolutely. It's pretty remarkable stuff of , of a place that very few Australians know about. And I think that's where you mentioned about the bight I've shown footage of the bight to Australians and people in Hollywood , um, and Australians have going, how did I not know about this place? So yeah, there's people that don't know

Matt Waters:

There's two sides to it as well. Isn't that you want to tell everyone and show them how amazing it is, but at the same time, nah , let's keep it a nice little secret. It's beautiful. It's absolutely amazing. I'm going to head down there next year.

Jeff Hansen:

Oh, you got to do it. And I think that's the thing, like there's, there's an element where you want to try and keep things quiet, but when that's sometimes while big industry takes advantage of that, if it's remote and there's few people, so then you're kind of left with the story. You've got to tell the story of what and , and bring, bring these places into the land rooms of people all over the world to join the fight.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. And that's it. I mean, if they , if there's people out there listening to this podcast and they're not involved in sea shepherd and they have a genuine passion for what we've been talking about, get involved, just get onto sea shepherd, represent, get involved. There's always something you can help with.

Jeff Hansen:

Yeah. Plenty of things. And even people that think, well, I can't be on a ship and you might be even someone that, you know, can't get out there and do much physical work. There's always something that people can do. Yeah , for sure.

Matt Waters:

For sure. And then those that were the lottery, they can give us a load of money.

Jeff Hansen:

We'll put it to good use.

Matt Waters:

Jeff again, thank you very much for coming on the show and I appreciate it immensely. Um, have a good afternoon and uh , we'll speak again soon.

Jeff Hansen:

You too, Matt . Thanks again. Um , really enjoyed our chat.

Matt Waters:

Thanks man. Bye-bye everybody podcast for the inquisitive diver .