I have always been fascinated with whales. They are intelligent, beautiful and powerful creatures that play a very important role in our ecosystem. Unfortunately, their future is being challenged for their meat, their bones, their teeth, etc. For that reason, I am going to continue with Whale Wednesday.
If you have seen Whale Wars on Animal Planet, you are familiar with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). Sea Shepherd was founded by Paul Watson in 1977.
Paul was one of the early members of Greenpeace before founding Sea Shepherd. He left Greenpeace in June 1977 due to disagreements in tactics and with the emerging bureaucratic structure of the organization. The organization opposed direct action campaigns, which Watson felt was necessary.
Sea Shepherd is an international organization who's mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans and conserve and protect ecosystems and species. As seen in Whale Wars, they use direct-action tactics to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.
Sea Shepherd heads many different campaigns besides the whale campaigns in the Southern Ocean Whale Santuary. With their hands-on approach, Paul Watson is no stranger to controversy.
Most recently Paul was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany on May 13. The 10-year-old warrant from Costa Rica was for a charge of alleged "violation of ships' traffic", which occurred in 2002 when filming the documentary "Sharkwater." The incident took place in Guatemalan waters when Sea Shepherd encountered illegal shark-finning run by the Varadero, a Costa Rican vessel. Sea Shepherd were ordered by Guatemalan authorities to instruct the crew of the Varadero to cease their shark-finning activities and head back to port to be prosecuted. While escorting them back to port, the tables were turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd crew. To avoid the gunboat, Sea Shepherd set sail for Costa Rica where the crew uncovered more illegal shark-finning activities.
Sea Shepherd believes that once in Costa Rica, the Japanese government may have sought extradition of Paul to Japan to answer questions related to obstructing their illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean. Whaling is only legal for research purposes yet the Japanese kill thousands of whales every year, which are later found in their grocer's freezer. German legal counsel has confirmed that at this time, Paul left Germany on July 22. After being held for 70 days, he was granted bail by the higher regional Court in Frankfurt and is currently in an undisclosed location.
Paul Watson has also been issued a "Red Notice" by INTERPOL. These notices are international alerts to member countries to share critical crime-related information. Interpol is not actively issuing arrest warrants or searching for Paul at this time. This notice is only to notify member countries that Paul is wanted in Costa Rica. It is up to the police and judicial authorities in member countries whether or not to take action.
As I said before, Paul is no stranger to controversy. He has extreme tactics in stopping the killing of our ocean's animals. Those who join his campaigns knowingly risk their lives for the lives of the whales, sharks, baby seals, dolphins, etc.
Are you familiar with Sea Shepherd? How do you feel about the killing of these animals? What would you be willing to do to stop it?
For more information visit www.seashepherd.org