High sea battles ain’t no pleasure cruise
A rough day at work for most of us involves a broken coffee machine or an overtime meeting.
But for Joey McQuade, a rough day is being rammed by 8000-tonne factory ships while chasing illegal whaling fleets across the high seas.
The 22 year-old from Macclesfield has worked on three campaigns for marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd, and each time he’s been trusted with their most powerful tool: a camera.
“It’s important to document what’s happening in the waters down in Antarctica because not a lot of people go there,” Joey says.
“The footage we can capture has really brought light to the issues with illegal whaling and poaching.”
A friend and industry professional nominated Joey for the role of cameraman on his first anti-whaling venture, Operation Zero Tolerance, held over the summer of 2012-2013.
“I had just come out of studying film production, so to be able to take a job doing what I love doing – which is wildlife, which is documentary film-making – I couldn’t say no,” Joey says.
He was back on board for its follow-up, Operation Relentless, in 2014 and returned from a third campaign in April this year.
“It’s very rewarding because you can clearly see the impact they’ve made, and the lives that they save with each different campaign they run,” Joey says.
“Life on a Sea Shepherd ship is hard work, but everyone’s there for a reason.”
His footage has primarily been used for the documentary Whale Wars on the Animal Planet cable channel, where it shocked a global audience with the gruesome reality of whaling.
The most recent campaign, Operation Icefish, drew attention to the poaching of Patagonian toothfish with illegal gill nets.
While Joey’s always loved animals, his work with Sea Shepherd has strengthened his commitment to protecting them.
“You can’t not become passionate about wildlife conservation when you’re around people that dedicate their lives to the cause,” he says.
“Knowing that the natural world is getting smaller, and that animal populations are getting smaller as well, you want to take action.
“So it’s a huge honour to be able to be a part of Sea Shepherd.”
**WARNING – The following video shows images of whaling that may disturb some viewers**