Dubloons still the go
April 14, 2008 5:45 PM   Subscribe

4008, 4009, 4010 ... ah, bugger, I lost count! Seal protesters' bail paid in coins .

"I took out 5,000 $2 coins and that's what we're gonna pay the bail. They want cash, we'll give them cash. Doubloons. I think it's appropriate for their pirate action," Paul Watson told CBC News earlier in Cape Breton.Whether you agree with their protest or not, this seems pretty cool.
posted by Megami (26 comments total)
It's ironic, to say the least, that a group that has an avowed and deliberate policy of damaging ships at sea should accuse anyone else of 'pirate action'.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:48 PM on April 14, 2008

If I was the magistrate I'd have at least insisted on a bottle of rum as well.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:01 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Previous post about Paul Watson.
posted by homunculus at 6:08 PM on April 14, 2008

Canada didn't take full advantage of this opportunity. Their ship would have made great target practice for our subs.
posted by Dasein at 6:29 PM on April 14, 2008

The two are accused of being in Canadian waters and interfering with the seal hunt ... the ship's crew failed to comply with warnings and continued to violate marine and fisheries regulations.

I've heard this story mentioned on CBC news a few times, including even an interview with someone involved in making the arrest, and somehow I never did get any idea what exactly they're accused of doing. All the articles I find with a quick google news search are similarly vague. The mass media is not giving us any hints as to which "regulations" exactly, or what was done to violate them.

Not that I really need to know, but it's just odd how the RCMP side of this isn't getting out at all. I wonder if they have any actual legal case, or not. Wouldn't be surprised either way.
posted by sfenders at 6:57 PM on April 14, 2008

I JUST saw a news story on this... like five minutes ago. The toonies were all nicely packed in boxes, but noooooo he had to put them in a loot bag for the bailers. HAH! count that lot, suckers!
posted by Planet F at 6:57 PM on April 14, 2008

Wouldn't that mean it would actually take longer for his people to be released, as the money would all have to be counted first?
posted by davey_darling at 7:05 PM on April 14, 2008

Of course the very next one I check has a bit more, the Globe and Mail: "The charges relate to a March 30 incident in which the vessel Farley Mowat allegedly went within six metres of several sealing vessels that reportedly had at least one man on the ice floes nearby." ...

Right. How hard is it to just mention that amidst all the other background you throw in there, rest of the Canadian news media?
posted by sfenders at 7:06 PM on April 14, 2008

It's a rather silly stunt. And the toonies = two loonies = double loonies = dubloons!!1LOL pun is nauseating.

The people they're punishing / sticking-it-to by having to count coins aren't the ones that performed the arrest. It's like taking out your gripe with Walmart's corporate office by annoying the cashier at your local store. Silly.

The mass media is not giving us any hints as to which "regulations" exactly, or what was done to violate them.

I wasn't paying particular attention (I was reading in bed), but I think I heard on CBC radio news that the 'interfering with a seal hunt' charge involves being within [X Distance] of the hunting area. So if they were < X from the hunters, there's the charge.
posted by CKmtl at 7:19 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

What I hear from my friend aboard the ship is that they were accused of violating the so called "Seal Protection Regulations" which states that you can't come within a certain distance (1000 meters or 1 mile or something) of seal hunters bashing seal brains out with sticks. Ironically, the main reason they kill the seals is because they've over-fished the cod and are hoping by killing seals they can increase the cod catch--however, seals don't really eat cod so much as other fish the cod feed on (http://www.fisherycrisis.com/seals/greysealhunt.htm) and from what I understand seals help oxygenate the water...otherwise you get weird cod die-offs like this one:

Again, I have several friends aboard the Farley Mowat, and have been aboard myself, so obviously I have my biases; that said, I think Canada just did this because they felt like they might have public backing for once--since "Capt" Paul Watson made some stupid remarks about how the recent deaths of some sealers wasn't as much of a tragedy as the seal slaughter. Watson IS a bit of a nut. Immature and egotistical. That said, he does have his moments--especially in interviews like this one:

(He also has his really bad moments when he wears puffy pirate shirts and naval-like captain's uniforms with lots of fake medals on it. Or when he dumps his wife via email for a young, kiwi singer.)
posted by whatgorilla at 7:35 PM on April 14, 2008

Actually, I think a good part of the motivation for this on the Fisheries Department's part is that the Sea Shepherds have demonstrated time and again that they are a danger to those on the ships or in the groups that they consider to be targets.

I find the saccharine protestations coming out of the Sea Shepherds to be off-putting, as well. If you take part in tactics like sinking fishing vessels or throwing butyric acid on sailors, you're not 'innocent young people'. Trying to engender any kind of chaos on the deck of a working vessel is just another way of trying to get people hurt or killed.

Of course, maybe this is a fresh new crew, who've never tried to injure sailors on another boat. But I don't think it's worth taking the chance.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:56 PM on April 14, 2008

Intentionally ignoring the merits of this story, "Doubloons" isn't just a bad pun, it was an honest contender for the coin's popular name iirc.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:22 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

With regards to the original post, I love that the nature of the Internet is such that nobody has commented on the fact that we're getting Canadian news from The Australian.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:46 PM on April 14, 2008

Well that'll show... somebody... something.
posted by Naberius at 12:43 AM on April 15, 2008

The court should have rejected them. They aren't legal tender.
posted by oaf at 4:55 AM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Paul Watson was born in Canada and can't spell "Newfie"?

At this point, the claim of RCMP brutality looks pretty laughable.
posted by oaf at 5:30 AM on April 15, 2008

Well as long as we get to delcare war on the Dutch.
posted by chugg at 7:56 AM on April 15, 2008

oaf, could you explain "they aren't legal tender"? It's making my brain hurt.
posted by tehloki at 9:56 AM on April 15, 2008

Huh, I guess they could've refused it:

"Legal tender of Canadian coinage is governed by the Currency Act which sets out limits of: 40 dollars if the denomination is 2 dollars or greater but does not exceed 10 dollars."

So payment-in-nothing-but-toonies can be refused if the debt is more than 40 dollars. I'm guessing the "or greater" part was put in consideration of 5 dollar coins.
posted by CKmtl at 12:19 PM on April 15, 2008

They could have refused it 124 times.
posted by oaf at 12:28 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Stupid pointless stunt makes environmentalists look like dickheads. Thanks guys. The rest of us out here in non-crazyland appreciate it lots.
posted by rusty at 2:43 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Stupid pointless stunt

That's where you're wrong. It was a harmless stunt that brought a little more attention to the barbaric seal murders sanctioned by the Canadian government. It can hardly be called a "hunt", men bludgeoning babies to death while their horrified mothers watch helplessly by their sides. This so-called "hunt" makes Canada look like crazyland, not the people who protest it.
posted by chance at 8:20 PM on April 15, 2008

Hey chance,
they're not "bludgeoned". They use rifles and hakapiks, which are considered by independent and reputable vets to be an efficient and humane way of killing. Blinking eye reflex tests became mandatory in 2003 to ensure animals weren't suffering needlessly.
"Baby" seals aren't harvested. Their mothers abandon them 12-15 days after they're born, and hunters aren't interested in them until their fur changes at about 33 days old. Seals do not have a family structure after the nurturing period is over. In fact, they're highly anti-social despite traveling in herds.
Seals are a renewable natural resource, like fish or timber. Their population is closely monitored and harvested sustainably. Sorry you find it so unpalateable, but maybe that's because you're just a bit out of touch.
posted by Pseudonumb at 12:03 AM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

Ironically, the main reason they kill the seals is because they've over-fished the cod and are hoping by killing seals they can increase the cod catch

Not actually. That isn't one of the reasons behind the hunt. The DFO disagrees with you.

"Babies" aren't being 'murdered' (answering chance). Whitecoats and bluebacks are, in fact, illegal to hunt, and target animals (as Pseudonumb pointed out first) are independent animals, not dependents of their mothers.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:35 AM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Aww, come on, you two. chance just wanted to ignore the facts and spew some talking points, à la Bill O'Reilly.
posted by oaf at 6:14 AM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

I suppose it's harmless, so long as you don't actually care about changing anyone's minds or your cause actually succeeding.

The 'little more attention' that this brought is liable to be received with a chuckle from people already on your side: "HAH! count that lot, suckers!". It might even be liable to get a giggle out of people who don't particularly care, but they'll continue not caring; it was just a funny blurb in the news. Otherwise, as rusty noted, you'll get people who aren't on your side just thinking "stupid hippies".

Then there's the local people. The ones who work in the Cape Breton courthouse who will grumble to their friends and family about having to work through lunch, or overtime, to count all the coins. "Stupid hippies made me work late and miss my daughter's ballet recital", perhaps. Or the local business owners who dropped by the bank to get some rolls of change, only to be told that they're fresh out of toonies today. Then they see this on the news and mutter "stupid hippies".l

Those are the people who can put legitimate pressure on their MPs, if they're of a mind to do so. Getting a larf out of environmentalists in Australia, the US, the Netherlands or even other parts of Canada accomplishes pretty much nothing. It's entertaining yourselves with coins and bad wordplay.

In the future, please don't masturbate with coins that may someday work their way into my pocket.
posted by CKmtl at 9:20 AM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

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