Images credit: Sea Shepherd
MarEx spoke to Captain Paul Watson, Founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, to get his views on misconceptions about the organization.
Is Sea Shepherd an eco-terrorist organization?
No, none of us work for Monsanto. Seriously, since I established Sea Shepherd in 1977, we have not caused a single injury to a single person nor have we suffered a single injury to any of our crew. We don’t carry guns, and we operate within the boundaries of the law. None us have been convicted of a felony crime.
We work in partnerships with government agencies like Mexico, Ecuador, Gabon, Italy and Liberia within their territorial waters. In International waters, we intervene against illegal activities in accordance with the United Nations World Charter for Nature that allows for intervention by NGO’s to uphold international conservation law.
Is Sea Shepherd a protest organization?
I established Sea Shepherd as an anti-poaching organization to intervene against illegal activities. We are not a protest organization. We investigate, document and directly intervene against illegal activities that exploit marine wildlife.
Does Sea Shepherd comply with marine safety regulations?
Sea Shepherd looks on marine safety as a priority in all our operations. We have an unblemished record for safety. Not one crewmember has been lost or seriously injured in 40 years. Every ship is equipped with more than adequate safety and fire fighting equipment and all crewmembers are subject to training and regular safety drills. On major campaigns like the Southern Ocean, the ships carry a medical officer with substantial medical resources.
Sea Shepherd campaigns can be risky and I do insist that all crewmembers be aware of the risks that will be undertaken. When critics say we put our crew at risk, they are right, but our position is that risking our lives to defend endangered species or threatened habitat is an acceptable risk and far more noble than risking lives to defend oil wells, real estate, corporate interest and religion.
Is Sea Shepherd a U.S. based organization?
No, in fact Sea Shepherd is not actually an organization but rather a collective of numerous national entities, all registered independently within their own nations. Sea Shepherd is more of a movement with representation throughout Austral-Asia, North and South America, Europe and Africa.
Sea Shepherd Global based in Amsterdam is the coordinating center for all Sea Shepherd entities except for Sea Shepherd USA, which is prohibited by the U.S. Federal Court from direct association with other Sea Shepherd entities that oppose illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. The ships are registered in the Netherlands, the USA, Barbados and Australia.
Why is Sea Shepherd so small compared to other organizations?
After 40 years, we could have been a much larger organization like Greenpeace or Oceana. However, from the beginning we decided we would not be a fund raising bureaucracy. We do not spend large sums of donor money on fund-raising and promotion. We don’t hire people to stand on the streets to sign up members. We don’t spend money advertising. We keep the administration to a minimum and the ships are 90 percent volunteers.
Support comes from word of mouth, visits to the ships and from people watching Whale Wars or seeing our documentaries. We want people to know that when they donate to Sea Shepherd the money goes to ships and campaigns. Sea Shepherd believes that the passion of our volunteers accomplishes more than having an organization with a large bank account.
Some members of the public believe we must have tens of millions of dollars to operate our ships and campaigns. The truth is we don’t. We operate 10 ships on a budget of less than five percent of the Greenpeace budget.
Are Sea Shepherd ships manned with experienced and nautically trained professionals?
Not in the traditional sense. Our ships are registered as yachts so we do not need to comply with strict manning regulations. Our crews are volunteers from all over the world from all walks of life. Back in 1911, Ernest Shackleton was criticized for not having a professional crew. He answered that he needed men of passion, not professionals.
The fact is that I could not pay professionals enough to do what our volunteers do for little or no wages. We look for experienced deck and engine officers. If we can’t find an experienced engineer, we do hire one if need be. Our officers train the volunteers.
We have had astrophysicists and math teachers serving as watch officers, we have had motorcycle and truck mechanics working in the engine room. We have had retired naval, coast guard and merchant officers.
On major campaigns, we always carry a qualified medical doctor in addition to crew with EMT certification. It’s a balance between experienced and inexperienced crewmembers. All volunteers are vetted by a crewing director.
Over forty years we have never lost a crewmember nor has any crewmember suffered a life-threatening injury. The ships hold monthly fire and safety drills or more if there is a change of crew.
Is Sea Shepherd an animal rights organization?
Some media describe Sea Shepherd as an animal rights organization. However, Sea Shepherd is not an animal rights organization. Sea Shepherd is a marine conservation organization specializing in anti-poaching activities. This misconception may be because all Sea Shepherd ships are 100 percent vegan vessels. They are vegan vessels for conservation and environmental reasons considering the ecological damage the meat and fishing industries are causing.
Is Sea Shepherd a leftist movement, or is it a right-wing movement?
The conservative call us liberal, the liberals call us conservatives. We are neither left nor right. Sea Shepherd does not hold a political position on anything. We are not left nor right, we are in front. We are motivated only by conservation principles. Our clients are the marine species we defend.
Does Sea Shepherd carry and use weapons?
Despite accusations that we use firearms, we don’t. None of the ships have any guns onboard. Instead we the ships are armed with a far more powerful weapon – cameras.
A favorite accusation from Sea Shepherd critics is that you are not qualified to be a Captain and therefore should not call myself a captain. Is that true?
I find this accusation amusing, because it tends to come from week-end sailors or fishermen who rarely go out of sight of land. The truth is that I don’t hold a commercial ticket nor would I want to. Our ships are all registered as yachts, and I am qualified to be a yacht master.
I was trained as a seaman with the Norwegian and Swedish Merchant marine, as a fireman with Canadian Pacific Steamships and I served in the Canadian Coast Guard on weather ships, buoy tenders and as a hovercraft rescue officer. I was first mate on all Greenpeace campaigns from 1971-1977.
My qualifications have not been questioned or denied by any ports of call we have entered or cleared and my experience is deep-sea, ice navigation and trans-ocean including leading ten expeditions to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. If I was not qualified I would not have been able to command our ships since 1978 until the present day.
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.
The Japanese whaling fleet has returned from Antarctic waters having achieved their goal of hunting 333 minke whales.
“Since a majority of both the males and females taken were mature, this indicates that the species is reproducing healthily,” said the nation’s fisheries department in a statement.
Japan intends to take nearly 4,000 whales over the next 12 years as part of its research program and has repeatedly said it aims to resume commercial whaling, reports Reuters.
Environmental organization Sea Shepherd has issued the following statement regarding its attempts to prevent the Japanese fleet from fulfilling the quota:
“Despite our efforts to once again disrupt the slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean, the Japanese whaling fleeting has reached their self-allocated quota of killing 333 minke whales.
“Today Sea Shepherd mourns the loss of these whales. We have called an emergency meeting of the Global Board of Directors in Amsterdam this weekend to review our whale defense strategy in the Southern Ocean, and will release a more detailed statement on Monday morning
“We were aware of the challenges from the outset of the campaign – the doubling of the whaling area and the reduced quota that would be easier to reach – but we did our best despite the odds because it was the right thing to do. And – as usual – we did it alone. It is a reminder that the needless slaughter of marine life will continue unless governments stop making hollow statements of disapproval and start taking action to hold Japan accountable.”
Former Australia Greens leader Bob Brown said Japanese whaling fleet’s gloating at its killing of 333 defenseless minke whales, 30 percent of which had not even reached maturity, shames humanity.
“The Bob Brown Foundation totally backs Sea Shepherd’s ongoing defense of the whales against these international criminals who bloody the Antarctic waters with their cruel grenade-tipped harpoons. Australia’s Turnbull government, by doing nothing despite the Federal Court injunction against the Japanese whale-killers, is complicit in the crime.”
The Sea Shepherd captains and crews, from eight countries, who tracked the Japanese criminals and showed an appalled world evidence of this year’s slaughter, are the heroes and upholders of human dignity in a world which would otherwise be oblivious of the Japanese outrage, said Brown. “Sea Shepherd’s huge public backing in Australia will continue to grow and the whaling, already reduced by two-thirds due to Sea Shepherd’s campaign, will be ended altogether in coming years.”
Japan’s “scientific research” program used to justify the killing of whales was rejected by the International Court of Justice in a 2014 decision.
The court ruled by 12 votes to four against Japan, and ordered it to revoke scientific permits issued under the program. At the time, the Japanese government told United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that the court’s jurisdiction “does not apply to … any dispute arising out of, concerning, or relating to research on, or conservation, management or exploitation of, living resources of the sea.”
In 2015, the Australian Federal Court fined the Japanese whalers A$1 million for hunting within an Australian whale sanctuary, however the fine remains unpaid.
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.
I was raised in a small fishing village on the Passamaquoddy Bay in New Brunswick, Canada and I still vividly remember the way things were in the Fifties. The way things were then is not the way things are now.
I’m not talking about technological, industrial or scientific progress. I’m referring to the health and stability of eco-systems. What was once strong is now weak. What was once rich in diversity is now very much the poorer.
I have been blessed, or perhaps cursed, with the gift of near total recall. I see the images of the past as clearly as the days that were. As a result it has been difficult for me to adapt to diminishment. I see the shells on the beaches that are no longer there, the little crabs under the rocks, now gone, the schools of fishes, the pods of dolphins, the beaches free of plastic.
I began traveling the world in 1967 — hitch-hiking and riding the rails across Canada; joining the Norwegian merchant marine; crossing the Pacific and Indian Oceans; traveling through Japan, Iran, Mozambique and South Africa, working as a tour guide in Turkey and Syria, co-founding the Greenpeace Foundation in 1972 and, in 1977, founding the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson some forty years ago when he founded the non-profit.
Many things that I saw then no longer exist – or have been severely damaged, changed and diminished.
In the Sixties we did not buy water in plastic bottles. In the Sixties the word ‘sustainable ‘was never used in an ecological context, and except for Rachel Carson, there were very few with the vision to see into the future, where we were going, what we were doing.
But slowly, awareness crept into the psyche of more and more people. People began to understand what the word ecology meant. We saw the creation of Earth Day, and in 1972, the first global meeting on the environment in Stockholm, Sweden that I covered as a journalist.
Gradually, the insight into what were doing became more prevalent and to those who understood, the price to be paid was to be labeled radicals, militants, and a new word – eco-terrorist.
The real “crime” of eco-terrorism was not burning down a ski lodge, toppling a power line or spiking a tree. Such things are only outbursts of desperation and frustration. The real crime of eco-terrorism was having thought, perception, and imagination. In other words, the questioning of the modern economic, corporate and political paradigm.
The word eco-terrorism should be more accurately used for the destruction caused by progress like the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal or the BP Deep Water Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Picture of an oil rig taken during Sea Shepherd’s Operation Toxic Gulf in 2014.
In the Seventies, the late Robert Hunter, along with Roberta Hunter, Dr. Patrick Moore, David Garrick, Rod Marining and myself observed and wrote down the three laws of ecology. What we realized was that these laws are the key to the survival of biodiversity on the planet and also the key to the survival of the human species. We realized that no species could survive outside of the three basic and imperative ecological laws.
The law of diversity: The strength of an eco-system is dependent upon the diversity of species within it.
The law of interdependence: All species are interdependent with each other.
The law of finite resources: There are limits to growth and limits to carrying capacity.
The increase of population in one species leads to the increase in consumption
of resources by that species. This leads to diminishment of diversity of other species, which in turn leads to diminishment of interdependence among species.
For example, increasing diminishment of phytoplankton populations in the sea is causing diminishment of many other species as well as a 40% diminishment in oxygen production since 1950. Diminishment of whale populations has contributed to the diminishment of phytoplankton populations because whale feces are a major source of nutrients (esp. iron and nitrogen) for phytoplankton.
The planet simply cannot tolerate 7.5 billion (and growing) primarily meat and fish eating necrovores. The killing of 65 billion domestic animals each year is contributing more greenhouse gases to the planet than the entire transportation industry. The industrial stripping of life from the sea is causing unprecedented biodiversity collapse in marine eco-systems.
Ecological systems globally are collapsing from coral reefs to rainforests because humanity is exploiting resources far beyond the capacity of eco-systems to create and renew natural resources.
Diminishment of eco-systems is also leading to the breakdown of human social structures causing global conflict in the form of wars and domestic violence. Terrorism is not the cause of society’s problems, it is merely a symptom.
Humans are compromised by medieval paradigms like territorial dominance, hierarchical desires and superstitious beliefs combined with primitive primate behavior like greed and fear.
Sea Shepherd’s 2010 Faeroe Islands Dolphin Defense Campaign: Operation Grindstop. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd /Sofia Jonsson
The fishing village that I lived in as a child is no longer a fishing village. The relative innocence of our lives as children of the Fifties and Sixties is no more. The African bush, the Arctic tundra, the marine reserve of the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazonian rainforests that I once traveled through are no longer what they recently were.
Humans have this amazing ability to adapt to diminishment. It’s a trait that was exceptionally useful when we lived as hunter-gatherers. We adapted to food shortages, to changes in the weather and to the world as it evolved around us. Today we are trying to adapt to the destruction brought on by ourselves and that adaption is taking the form of more and more control by governments and corporations and a blind reliance on corporate technologies.
We no longer have the empathy we once felt. I vividly remember the events of October 23rd, 1958. I was seven years old on the day of the Springhill Mine Disaster in Nova Scotia. 75 men died and 99 were rescue. I remember crying for the fate of people I did not know and feeling excited every time a miner was brought to the surface alive. I no longer have that capacity. Perhaps I lost it when I became an adult, or perhaps society no longer has room for such emotions.
Disaster happened and we grieved for people we did not know. A few weeks ago nearly 100 people were viciously murdered within a few kilometres of where I live when a deranged man mowed them down with a large truck in Nice, France. Last week, a priest was beheaded in France. Every week brings us more stories about mass killings in the Middle East, Africa, America etc. It’s a worldwide pain-fest of chaos and violence and yet it is met with complacency for the most part and a predictable Facebook posting of — “say a prayer for Paris, or Orlando, or Nice, or Beirut, or Istanbul” in a litany of self-indulgent adaptation to tragedy, before being quickly forgotten.
This is not the world of my childhood. We remembered the horrors of World War II with real emotion. I remember talking with both World War I and World War II veterans and feeling their pain. Today it’s just another short-term item on the news, in a world that seeks to escape through movies, celebrities, video games and increasingly more fanatical religious fervor.
Here is the reality. As human populations increase, the consumption of resources increases with it. But because resources are finite and the rate of renewables is overcome by demand, this can only lead to one result — the collapse of resource availability.
And because we are literally stealing resources from other species, this will lead to
diminishment of species and habitats, which will contribute to even more resource diminishment.
Sea Shepherd’s 2008 Seal Defense Campaign photographs the murder and carcass dragging of a seal. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd / Greg Hager
At COP 21, I called for an end to worldwide government subsidies for industrialized fishing and at least a 50-year moratorium on commercial industrialized fishing. That solution was not given a moment’s thought at a conference that did not even take into account the imperative role of the Ocean in addressing climate change.
My opinion of COP 21 is that governments were not looking for solutions. They were looking for the appearance of solutions. They certainly did not want to hear about solutions from people like me. They want solutions that are accompanied by jobs and profit. The one thing they do not want is any form of economic sacrifice.
I also do not believe that the majority of humanity — certainly not the leadership — understand the true gravity of the situation. There are six viewpoints concerning climate change: 1. Denial 2. Acceptance, with the view of it being a positive development. 3. Acceptance with the belief that science and technology will save the day. 4. Acceptance, but refusal to fully appreciate the consequences. 5. Apathy. 6. Acceptance with the resolve to find real solutions.
Those who are in denial have vested self interests in doing so, motivated primarily by greed or ignorance. My old Greenpeace colleague Patrick Moore sees climate change as an opportunity for longer growing seasons and better weather. (He lives in Canada and I don’t think he’s really thought it through.) Others like Elon Musk see our salvation in science, in moving off-world or developing artificial eco-systems on Earth. Most responsible world leaders recognize the problem but are too politically-impotent to address it with realistic solutions because those solutions would not be politically popular. And as with everything, the majority of the world is apathetic and too self-absorbed with entertaining themselves (developed world) or surviving (underdeveloped world).
On this path we are on now, the future is somewhat predictable. More resource wars, more poverty, more accumulation of wealth by the minority of privileged people, more disease, more civil strife and with the collapse of biodiversity – global mass starvation, and pestilence.
The rich tapestry of all our cultures and all our achievements in science and the arts hangs by threads linked to biodiversity.
If the bees are diminished, our crops are diminished. If the forests are diminished, we are diminished. If phytoplankton dies, we die! If the grasses die, we die!
We exist because of the geo-engineering contributions of millions of diverse species that keep our life support systems running. From bacteria to whales, from algae to the redwoods. If we undermine the foundations of this planetary life-support system, all that we have ever created will fall. We will be no more.
We made the mistake of declaring war on nature, and because of our technologies it looks like we are going to win this war. But because we are a part of nature, we will destroy ourselves in the process. Our enemy is ourselves and we are slowly becoming aware of that indisputable fact. We are destroying ourselves in a fruitless effort to save the image of what we believe ourselves to be.
In this war, we are slaughtering — through direct or indirect exploitation — millions of species and reducing their numbers to dangerously low levels while at the same time increasing human numbers to dangerously high levels.
Dolphin offal and intestines photographed during the 2011-12 Taiji Dolphin Defense Campaign. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd / Christoph Heylen
We are fighting this war against nature with chemicals, industrialized equipment, ever increasing extraction technologies (like fracking) and repression against any and all voices that rise up in dissent.
In our wake over the past two centuries we have left a trail of billions of bodies. We have tortured, slain, abused and wasted so many lives, obliterated entire species; and reduced rich diverse eco-systems to lifeless wastelands as we polluted the seas, the air and the soil with chemicals, heavy metals, plastic, radiation and industrialized farm sewage.
We were once horrified by the possibility of a Chernobyl or a Fukushima. But the accidents happened and we adapted and accepted. Now we are complacent.
In the process we are becoming sociopathic as a species. We are losing the ability to express empathy and compassion. We idolize soldiers, hunters, and resource developers without giving a thought to their victims. We revel in violent fantasies hailing two-dimensional fantasy killers as heroes. We have become increasingly more Darwinian in our outlook that the weak (other species) must perish so that the strong (ourselves) may survive. We forget that Darwinism recognizes the laws of ecology and we cannot pick and choose when it comes to the laws of nature. In the end nature controls us, we do not control nature.
The consequences of our actions are not going to happen centuries from now. They are going to happen within this century. Oceanic ecosystems are collapsing — now! The planet is getting warmer — now! Phytoplankton is being diminished — now!
To be blunt — the planet is dying now, and we are killing it!
From what I have experienced and from what I see there is only one thing that can prevent us from falling victim to the consequences of ignoring the laws of ecology.
We must shake off the anthropocentric mindset and embrace a biocentric understanding of the natural world. We can do this because we have wonderful teachers in indigenous communities worldwide who have lived biocentric lifestyles for thousands of years just as our species all once did. We need to learn to live in harmony with other species.
We need to establish a moratorium on industrialized fishing, logging and farming.
We need to stop producing goods that have no intrinsic value — all the useless plastic baubles for entertainment and self-indulgence. We need to stop mass-producing plastic that is choking our global seas. We need to stop injecting poisons into the soil and dumping toxins into the sea. We need to abolish cultural practices that destroy life for the sole purpose of entertaining ourselves.
Of course it won’t be easy but do we really want the epitaph for our species to be, “Well we needed the jobs?”
Without ecology there is no economy.
I am not a pessimist and I’ve never been prone to pessimistic thoughts. There are solutions. We see people of compassion, imagination and courage around us working to make this a better world — devoting themselves to protecting species and habitats; finding organic agricultural alternatives; and developing more eco-friendly forms of energy production. Innovators, thinkers, activists, artists, leaders and educators — these people are among us and their numbers are growing.
It is often said that the problems are overwhelming and the solutions are impossible. I don’t buy this. The solution to an impossible problem is to find an impossible solution.
It can be done. In 1972, the very idea that Nelson Mandela would one day be President of South Africa was unthinkable and impossible — yet the impossible became possible.
It’s never easy but it is possible and possibilities are achieved through courage, imagination, passion and love.
I learned from the Mohawks years ago that we must live our lives by taking into account the consequences of our every action on all future generations of all species.
If we love our children and grandchildren we must recognize that their world will not be our world. Their world will be greatly diminished and unrecognizable from the world of our childhoods. Each and every child born in the 21st Century is facing challenges that no human being has ever faced in the entire history of our species:
Emerging pathogens from the permafrost. (Just this summer, an anthrax virus from a recently thawed reindeer carcass broke out killing 1,500 reindeer and hospitalizing 13 people in Russia.) Eruptions of methane opening huge craters in the earth in Siberia, mass-accelerated extinction of plants and animals, pollution, wars and more wars, irrational violence in the form of individual, religious and state terrorism, the collapse of entire eco-systems.
This is not doom and gloom fear mongering. It is simply a realistic observation of the consequences of our deliberately ignoring of the laws of ecology. I call it the Cassandra Principle.
Cassandra was the prophetess of ancient Troy whose curse was the ability to see the future and to have everyone dismiss her prophecies. No one listened to her, instead they ridiculed her. Yet she was right. All that she predicted came to pass and Troy was destroyed.
Years ago I had a critic in the media label me as a doom and gloom Cassandra. I replied, “Maybe, but don’t forget one thing. Cassandra was right.”
Sea Shepherd’s Galapagos Director Sean O’Hearn-Gimenez on a shark finning arrest operation om 2007.
And over the years I have made predictions (that were ridiculed and dismissed) that have come true. In 1982 I publicly predicted the collapse of the North Atlantic Cod fishery. It happened a decade later. In 1978 I predicted the destruction of one half of the African elephant population in Defenders magazine. I was wrong. Some two thirds of the population have been destroyed. In 1984, I predicted ecological destruction by salmon farms including the spreading of viruses to wild salmon populations. Every prediction was based on observation with reference to the laws of ecology and every prediction was dismissed.
Nothing has changed. Today I am predicting the death of worldwide coral reef eco-systems by 2025, the total collapse of worldwide commercial fishing operations by 2030; and the emergence of more virulent viral diseases in the coming decades. It does not take any exceptional foresight to predict that war will be the major business of the next half-century, as well as the rise of more authoritarian governments.
Recently my old friend Rod Marining, also a co-founder of Greenpeace, said to me: “The transformation of human consciousness on a mass scale can not happen, unless there are two factors. First, a huge mass visual death threat to survival of our species, and two, the threat of the loss of a people’s jobs or their values. Once theses two factors are in place humans begin to transform their thinking over night.”
I have seen the future written in the patterns of our behavior, and it is not a pleasant future, in fact it is not much of a future at all.
The four horses have arrived. As death sits astride the pale horse, the other three horses of pestilence, famine and war and terrorism are stampeding at full gallop toward us while our backs are turned away from them. And when they trample us, we may look up from our latest entertainment triviality to see ourselves in the dust of the ecological apocalypse.
I also see the possibility of salvation. By listening to the words and observing the actions of indigenous people. By looking into the eyes of our children. By stepping outside the circle of anthropocentrism. By understanding that we are part of the Continuum. By refusing to participate in the anthropocentric illusion. By embracing biocentrism and fully understanding the laws of ecology, and the fact that these laws cannot — must not — be ignored if we wish to survive.
We need to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe.
Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals.
Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.
Feel free to join these great animal welfare groups on Linkedin !
Animal Welfare Europe
Animal Activists International
Petitions & Causes Animal Welfare
Animal Rights World Wide
Say NO to animal cruelty !
World Animal Protection ( vh WSPA )
Sea Shepherd International
AMCF Animal Medical Care Foundation
Jane Goodall Instituut Nederland
AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection
SAFP Stray Animal Foundation Platform
ISAT International Stray Animal Team
HAA Helping Abused Animals
CAS International – against bullfighting
Vrienden van de Olifant – Elephants
SPOTS protection big cats ( lion, tiger, cheetah, leopard )
by Captain Paul Watson
One of the most irritating things about the Taiji campaign in Japan is the infighting amongst individuals and organization involved.
We received a few messages and calls this past week rudely demanding why Sea Shepherd is not in Taiji, Japan?
“Other groups are there, where the hell are you?”
Or “Why have you abandoned the dolphins?”
One group that has been telling us to get out of Taiji for years because we are in their opinion, counter productive called to criticize Sea Shepherd for not being there implying that we have quit the Taiji campign or at least that is what some people want others to believe.
One person called our office to say we had no right to post Blue Cove and Red Cove Day banners. “You’re stealing our ideas and taking credit for what our group is doing?” The very irate caller said, stating we had no right to post these banners.
Very strange since neither Sea Shepherd nor I post these Blue and Red Days banners but many of our supporters do and it has been my belief that the people who created the Blue and Red Day Banners would want them posted by everyone. I do admit I have no idea who created the concept and I don’t really care. If people around the world wish to post these banners, it it their right to do so unless someone, somewhere wishes to invoke a copy right.
To be blunt, Sea Shepherd has not abandoned the dolphins at Taiji. And to be even more blunt we really don’t care what people call us. We are there and will continue to be there for the dolphins. Not for people – for the dolphins.
The strength of an eco-system is in diversity. So also is the strength of a movement. We need diversity of strategies, tactics, ideas and passions.
With Taiji, we have that diversity. We have Sea Shepherd, The Dolphin Project, Save Taiji Dolphins, Earth Island Institute, Surfers for Cetaceans and many more groups and individuals.
We have no intention of bickering with any group nor do we have any interest in criticizing any other group. Our policy on criticisms from other groups is to ignore the criticisms and to refuse to engage in arguments with other groups.
The situation in Taiji continues to evolve. It is no secret that most Cove Guardian veterans have been banned from entry into Japan. This of course presents logistical obstacles that must be solved.
Sea Shepherd has decided to not be on the ground for September. Why? Because we don’t have an available Cove Guardian leader for September and September is the least dangerous month for dolphins in the season. Therefore we have scheduled Operation A for October – January and Operation B for January to March.
Why do we need a good Cove Guardian leader? Because it is our responsibility to see that volunteers from around the world have guidance when on the ground in Taiji. The police have in the past threatened and arrested Sea Shepherd volunteers. Leaders on site need to be there on the ground to offer advice and guidance on hotels, eating places, individuals of concern, the regulations and how to deal with the police and the ultra-nationalists, etc.
Sea Shepherd intends to have leadership on the ground in Taiji beginning in October. We also have plans in process that we do not intend to divulge simply because some people see fit to question our motivations and our strategies.
We are also working on a global plan to address the root of the problem – the captivity industry.
We will never abandon the dolphins. We have opposed the killing of dolphins since 1981 at Iki Island and since 2003 at Taiji. We had crew almost killed in the Tsunami in 2011. We have been on the ground every year in Taiji since 2009 in addition to fighting the slaughter of Pilot whale and dolphins in the Faroe Islands since 1983.
Criticisms, accusations, belittling and condemnation from third parties are meaningless within the context of our history and our achievements.
We salute Ric O’Barry and the Dolphin Project. We salute Louis Psyhoyos for The Cove. We salute the Producers of Blackfish. We salute Surfers for Cetaceans. We salute each and every person who has stood on the beach at Taiji and we salute each and every person who has demonstrated in front of a Japanese Embassy or consulate anywhere in the world.
We also salute our past Cove Guardian leaders who cannot return for the simple fact that they are Cove Guardian veterans. They did not commit a crime but in Japan opposition to the slaughter is treated like a crime.
Ric O’Barry has also suffered being banned demonstrating that it is not just Sea Shepherd’s opposition that is considered a threat.
Ric may disagree with Sea Shepherd’s aggressiveness but to the Japanese authorities, there seems to be no distinction.
In short, if our critics wish to criticize, they will do so and we can do nothing about it. But what we can do is to not join the party.
We need to focus on the real enemy and not be distracted by anyone else for any reason. I know people like to whine and complain, to point fingers and condemn. By all means they are free to do so. We have no control over that.
What we can control is our own response and that will be no response at all.
I see every individual and group involved in this cause as an important part of this important movement. There are only two sides – those who want to see dolphins slaughtered and those who don’t.
It a battle between life and death, good and evil, and we all know who represents Evil and who represents Good and if there are shades of gray poking about here and there, such shadows are of no significance.
We must try as hard as we can to speak in one voice when we can. Sea Shepherd intends to do just that.
From Captain Paul Watson:
Sea Shepherd’s Operation Virus Hunter is focusing international attention on the health of wild salmon populations on the West coast of Canada and the threat of viruses and parasites from domestic salmon farms.
If the wild salmon disappear, the Orcas will not survive. If the wild salmon disappear, the culture of West Coast First Nations will be seriously damaged. If the wild salmon disappear, bears and eagles and many …other species will also disappear.
What the Norwegian salmon farm industry has done is to introduce and exotic non-native species – the Atlantic salmon into an eco-system it does not belong. They then concentrated these fish in captive pens where they breed parasites and develop viral infections. The industry counters this with antibiotics but the viruses persist and the wild salmon have no defenses against viruses or parasites.
Salmon should not be confined to concentration camps. Wild fish populations should not be wiped out to feed the captive inmates. The diseases and parasites from the captive inmates should not be allowed to infect wild salmon populations.
DFO should be doing their job and not allowing the salmon farms to police themselves.
Sea Shepherd stands behind Dr. Alexandra Morton and the majority of the First Nations on the West Coast in opposing the ecological destructions being caused by these floating virus and fish fecal factories.
– High Seas Pursuit Now Underway.
Sea Shepherd’s Flagship, the Steve Irwin, has intercepted a fleet of six illegal fishing vessels, the Fu Yuan Yu fleet, in the Indian Ocean.
The Sea Shepherd ship, under the command of Captain Siddharth Chakravarty, has now engaged in a pursuit of on…Show more
Sea Shepherd Global – Sea Shepherd Intercepts Fleet of Illegal Fishing Vessels in the Indian Ocean
High Seas Pursuit Now Underway The Fu Yuan Yu 076, currently on the run from the Steve Irwin. Photo: Tim Watters Sea Shepherd’s
Activist hackers from the Anonymous collective have claimed responsibility for bringing down five government websites in Iceland in a protest against whale-hunting by the North Atlantic nation.
The sites, which included the prime minister’s official website and that of the environment and interior ministries, went offline on Friday and remained down until about midday on Saturday.
In an anti-whaling video posted on social media, activists called for people to hack websites linked to Iceland to protest persistent commercial hunting despite an international moratorium.
On a new Twitter account devoted to the campaign, screenshots showing the sites down were published late on Friday by activists who said they belonged to the loose Anonymous collective. The government made no comment about the outage.
Iceland is a member of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), an inter-governmental body which imposed a ban on all commercial whaling from 1986. The moratorium remains in place, but both Iceland and Norway continue to hunt whales.
Iceland has come under fire for whaling for decades, including in the 1970s and 1980s when activists from Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society tried to disrupt annual hunts using boats or by sabotaging hunting stations.
Isolated in the North Atlantic with only Greenland as its close neighbor, Iceland has relied on fishing and whaling as a key part of its economy. Icelanders argue whales reduce the stocks of the fish they hunt for.
Since its devastating financial meltdown in 2008 and a sharp currency devaluation, however, tourism has boomed and whale tours are increasingly popular.
by Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson
COP 21 – The Positives and the Negatives
The positive: (1) The attention of the world has been focused on the issue of climate change. (2) The issue has been given great credibility through the recognition and participation of 195 nations. (3) there will most likely be a surge in support for alternative energy technologies. (4) It could have been worst.
The negatives: (1) Having attended these international conferences since 1972 I’ve yet to see any past agreements translated… into action. So we shall see. Promises are cheap. (2) the Ocean was virtually ignored. (3) Oxygen depletion was completely ignored as was phytoplankton diminishment. (4) the issue of animal agriculture was not only ignored it, the food concessions at the events contradicted that concern 100%. Serving fish and chips during an ocean forum and hamburgers at forums dealing with greenhouse gas emissions was a disconnect that was painfully obvious. You would think the delegates and the NGO’s could have weathered a meat free two weeks considering that the animal agriculture industry slaughtering 65 billion animals a year produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation industry. (5) and no one wanted to hear about cutting off the 75 + billion dollar government subsidies to the industrialized fishing industry.
In the agreement signed in the COP21 climate deal: the words “fossil fuels” do not appear. Neither do the words “oil” or “coal.” I find that quite revealing.
My two solutions to address climate change were two solutions that no one wanted to hear. (1) shut down industrialized fishing and allow the ocean ecosystems to repair themselves. And (2) convert the majority of the 7.5. billion humans on the planet to a plant based diet.
My summation is that this watered down agreement is too little, too late, and what is on paper will most likely not see any realistic application in practice.
Hopefully I will be proven wrong.
The former Nasa scientist criticizes the talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020,
“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”