09.10.23, Cadiz: The organisations, WeWhale Association, Sea Shepherd France, the World Cetacean Alliance and the political party PACMA have filed a report with the relevant authorities regarding a suspected offence against marine fauna in the waters near Tarifa, Cádiz. The incidents occurred on 17 August 2023 and are related to an attack on a group of orcas by the crew of the vessel “NAKULA”, flying the flag of Malaysia.

The report is based on a series of pieces of evidence, including video recordings and photographs taken by eyewitnesses, as well as a post on the social media platform Facebook in which the perpetrator of the acts admits their involvement. Additionally, a geolocation map is attached, pinpointing the exact location of the incident.

The reporting organisations believe that these actions may constitute an offence against marine fauna, as defined in the Penal Code under articles 334.1, 334.2, and 335. According to current legislation, hunting, fishing, acquisition, possession, or destruction of protected species of wild fauna, as well as trafficking in them, their parts or derivatives, and activities that hinder or impede their reproduction or migration, are punishable by imprisonment and fines. The report includes substantial evidence supporting the allegations, such as social media posts and testimonies from eyewitnesses. Furthermore, the authorities are requested to conduct a thorough investigation into the facts and to identify the perpetrators and the owner of the vessel “NAKULA.”

The organisations also call for the summons of both the alleged perpetrators and key witnesses to clarify the events and ensure justice in this case.

The report has been filed with the competent authorities, and it is expected that an investigation will be initiated to determine the veracity of the events and to take appropriate measures if the commission of the offence is confirmed. The reporting organisations are committed to the protection of marine fauna and hope that this case serves as an example of the importance of preserving our natural environment and its inhabitants, especially the critically endangered Iberian Orca population, of whom only approximately 40 individuals are left.

President of WeWhale Association, Janek Andre, said, “We are very happy to be joined by Sea Shepherd France, the World Cetacean Alliance and PACMA in filing this report. The incident on 17 August was a very shocking and troubling event and we are working hard to make sure those responsible are brought to justice in the name of the Iberian Orca”.

“We are particularly concerned about the abuses that some sailors are indulging in to keep orcas away from their boats. Iberian killer whales are critically endangered, and while recent interactions may have caused material damage, killer whales in the wild have never attacked a human being, despite what some of the gutter press would have us believe. The urgent task is to understand what attracts them to the rudders and find harmless solutions to deter them. We are counting on Justice to send a strong message to those who would be tempted to attack orcas” declares Lamya Essemlali, President of Sea Shepherd France

CEO of the World Cetacean Alliance, Harry Eckman, said, “All current evidence suggests that orca interactions, like the incident on 17 August, are play behaviour by juvenile orcas. As frustrating as this may be for seafarers, this does not justify the dangerous and reckless events that took place. It is vital that those responsible are held to account for their actions. Orca require our protection and it is our collective responsibility to minimise our impact on their environment.”

We at PACMA regret that these individuals have felt free to harm animals, believing that they would not face any legal consequences, even doing so shamelessly in front of witnesses. On our part, we will make available all the tools at our disposal to ensure that this case reaches its conclusion and that an exemplary sentence is achieved to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Furthermore, the WeWhale Association has established a dedicated website known as “Attacks Against Orcas” (www.attacks-against-orcas.org/) with the aim of providing information on ongoing cases involving reported incidents of aggression towards Orcas (Orcinus orca) by vessels or humans. This platform also enables individuals who witness such attacks to report their observations of aggression against these animals.