By FRAN SILK
ROBINA nature-lover Terri Melloway can barely contain her excitement.
After years of animal activism through GECKO, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd and wildlife carer groups, the American-born Gold Coaster has renewed hope for the future of Australia's marine animals following the establishment of a Gold Coast chapter of Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd's anti-whaling campaign will have a particular resonance on the Gold Coast, according to Ms Melloway, where many people were upset about the Japanese killing whales "for research".
"All this horror goes on and on around the world ? the whole thing is barbaric as these are beautiful creatures that don't deserve to die," she said.
"And these animals do not die right away, they electrocute them, they end up shooting them and these animals sometimes take up to half-an-hour to die.
"Next year they (the Japanese) will be targeting humpback whales ? that's Migaloo, the white whale," Ms Melloway said.
Former civil rights lawyer Timothy Midgely is the international director of Sea Shepherd and he was on the Gold Coast last week helping to drum up support for the non-profit organisation.
Based in Los Angeles for 25 years, the English-born activist said he took hope from the fact that the Australians he had met had a deep knowledge of environmental issues, particularly local problems.
His own "conversion" to eco-politics came when he was swimming in the Caribbean 25 years ago, and was surrounded by thousands of fish.
"Now you'd be lucky to find one," he said.
"Our oceans are in terrible trouble and we are losing species at an alarming rate.
"More than 90 per cent of the big fish have been removed from the world's oceans in the last 50 years," he said.
The Gold Coast chapter of Sea Shepherd is planning local fundraising and education campaigns and can be contacted on 55933631.