Paul Watson Of Sea Shepherd, Has Been Protecting The world's Oceans For Over 30 Years, Saving Marine Species. And He's Not Afraid To Confront Anyone .
Sea Shepherd is a direct action marine conservation group. It's been called aggressive, but Watson believes his interventions against the unlawful exploitation of ocean wildlife and habitats is justified.
His controversial actions have got him and his crew arrested, attacked, denounced by governments and labelled eco-terrorists. Paul presently lives in exile in France.
Watson was one of the co-founders of Greenpeace. In 1977 Watson left Greenpeace due to disagreements about his preservation tactics. That same year, Watson formed the Sea Shepherd Conservation.
Watson is best known for his role in the hit documentary reality TV series "Whale Wars." The show follows Watson and his crew as they try to stop Japanese whaling fleets from slaughtering whales in the Southern Ocean, near Antarctica. Whaling is illegal under international law yet the Japanese claim their whaling is for research. Sea Shepherd has had a number of conflicts with Japanese whaling vessels. Some of which included ramming boats, boarding vessels and throwing stink bombs of butyric acid onto the Japanese whaling ships.
Critics of Sea Shepherd say that more whales have been killed, their work is ineffective, they put crew members lives at risk, and call them eco-terrorist. Sea Shepherd says,
"Sea Shepherd has actively opposed the unlawful slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean since 2005 with aggressive interventions that have saved the lives of 6,402. This includes minke, humpback, and fin whales saved by both Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Sea Shepherd Global campaigns.
Sea Shepherd has fought the outlaw whalers on the high seas and in the courts, in the United States and in Australia.
Sea Shepherd has an impeccable safety record and has never injured anyone in almost 40 years of saving the oceans. We have partnerships with governments to enforce laws and stop poaching.
Sea Shepherd is an anti-poaching organisation dedicated to operating within the boundaries of international law, to uphold international conservation law, with a commitment to absolute non-violent tactics".
In addition to conflicts with the Japanese whalers in the Antarctic, Sea Shepherd battles fish poaching. This campaign is known as 'Operation Icefish’. Campaign Leader, Captain Siddharth Chakravarty, says.
"In a span of just 15 months, Sea Shepherd has cleaned up the Southern Ocean of illegal fishing. Six of the most notorious and persistent poaching vessels on this planet are now out of commission making this one of the biggest successes in marine conservation history.”
"Sea Shepherd first focused its attention on the illegal operations of the Bandit 6 toothfish vessels in 2014 when it launched Operation Icefish; the organisation’s first campaign to target illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing in the Southern Ocean."
Authorities in Indonesia have sunk the last of the “Bandit 6” toothfish poaching vessels, the Viking, in Pangandaran, West Java.
Sea Shepherd representatives were on the ground to film the sinking, which marks the end of over a decade of toothfish poaching in the Southern Ocean at the hands of the Bandit 6, and the conclusion of Sea Shepherd’s 12th Southern Ocean Defense Campaign, Operation Icefish 2015-16.
Volunteers sometimes end up in risky situations. During Operation Jairo, Sea Shepherd’s campaign to defend sea turtles, poachers attacked our crew on the beach. "Whenever we go up against criminals, it can be dangerous for our crews"
Faroe Islands lie's north-west of Scotland, halfway between Iceland and Norway. For hundreds of years, people of the Danish Faroe Islands have been herding migrating pilot whales and other small cetaceans in shallow waters and slaughtering them. The Faroese argued that whaling is part of their culture. Yet pilot whales meat is considered unfit for human consumption because its toxic levels of mercury. Sea Shepherd has been leading the opposition to the mass slaughter of pilot whales and other dolphins in the Faroe Islands since the 1980s in a movement known as 'Operation Sleppid Grindini.
A total of 14 Sea Shepherd volunteers representing 11 countries were arrested throughout the campaign. Ten of those volunteers were subsequently deported for the “crime” of defending pilot whales.
In Mexico Sea Shepherd Conservation Society launched Operation Milagro II in November 2015 with the objective of stopping the extinction of the endangered vaquita porpoise.
The Vaquita is the smallest cetaceans and only inhabit the northernmost part of the Gulf of California. They look like small dolphins. They are the most endangered marine mammal in the world, with a population estimated to be less than a few dozen. The greatest threat is posed by the gillnets used to catch the Totoaba fish. As a similarly sized animal, Vaquita can swim into gillnets become entangled, and drown.
The totoaba and vaquita are listed as critically endangered and are protected in Mexico. The gulf is the only place in the world where they exist.
The black market trade in totoaba fish bladders drives the poaching of the fish. Driven by China. Chinese believe fish bladder is rich in collagen and will maintain youthful-looking skin.
In an effort to save the Vaquita, the Mexican Government enacted a two year ban on the use of gillnets in 2015. The protected territory covers 13,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of California.
Sea Shepherd Crews save the vaquita by removing the illegal fishing gear that kills them. Sea Shepherd crew have confiscated 40 illegal gillnets in the Gulf of California. In the process, we have saved whales, sharks and other species that live in the Gulf of California.
Each year millions of tonnes of plastic litter enter our oceans and waterways injuring and killing more than a million birds and 100 million marine animals (including fish, turtles, whales) through entanglement, suffocation, and ingestion.
Trash is filling the oceans and killing many marine animals. The greatest killer of all the plastics comes in the form of minute remnants, broken down from everyday products. Mostly unseen, they are known as microplastics. The harmful effects of these toxic particles intensify as they are passed up the food chain and are quickly becoming, not only a threat to marine animals everywhere, but also a serious health risk to seafood consumers the world over.
Make smart consumer choices and consume less where possible.
Opt for reusable shopping bags and drink bottles.
Choose cleansing products that don't contain microbeads and avoid single-use plastic items (straws, cutlery, food and beverage containers, balloons etc.).
Support container deposit schemes and other recycling initiatives.
Pick up litter when you see it and encourage others to dispose of theirs responsibly.
Join a Sea Shepherd beach clean up
Ways To Help