Sea Shepherd, Without A Doubt, Pirates


And no not in the romanticized, like to drink, and wears eyepatches kind of way. In the our activities put people’s live and ships endanger on the high seas kind of way.

“When you ram ships, hurl glass containers of acid, drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders, launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate,”

That statement comes from Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit US court of Appeals about Sea Shepherd (SS).  He overturned a lower court’s ruling against Japanese Whalers.

This was true “no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be,” he added in a ruling that dubbed SS founder Paul Watson “eccentric.”

At DSN, we have had a long tradition of being anti-SS.  Kevin argued that their seamanship was at the best atrocious and at the worst endangering lives of crew.  I posted that SS’s tactics make them pirates, terrorists, or a vigilante group.  None of these are desirable, move whale conservation ahead, and are a waste of donor’s good will and money. As I mentioned in that post

Watson’s brand of truthiness is often criticized by other conservation organizations and conservationists. Even among organizations who have similar end goals, they are deemed destructive to the overall cause of conservation. Yet those opposing Watson’s acts, people often very committed to the ultimate cause, are demonized by the organization’s supporters.  The general public is often turned off by this level extremism.  Reducing your support, dividing your base, making enemies of your compatriots, and relying on blind faith is not effective conservation.

Swimming with Sharks has several posts that articulate these and other reasons why you should never support SS.

Back to the case at hand.  You can see the official opinion here as pdf.  The case is the

INSTITUTE OF CETACEAN RESEARCH, a Japanese research foundation; KYODO SENPAKU KAISHA, LTD., a Japanese corporation; TOMOYUKI OGAWA, an individual; TOSHIYUKI MIURA, an individual, Plaintiffs – Appellants,


SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY, an Oregon nonprofit corporation; PAUL WATSON, an individual, Defendants – Appellees.

As the judge notes “The United States, Japan and many other nations are signatories to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling art. VIII, Dec. 2, 1946, 62 Stat. 1716, 161 U.N.T.S. 74, which authorizes whale hunting when conducted in compliance with a research permit issued by a signatory. [The plaintiffs have] such a permit from Japan.”  So where the activities of the Institute of Cetacean Research are thinly guised as “research” and the killing of whales in this case is atrocious, these activities are not illegal as concerning the International Convention. The  Institute of Cetacean Research is suing SS in the U.S. (even though SS ships are not allowed to fly U.S. flags the organization is still Oregon based) because “Sea Shepherd’s acts amount to piracy and violate international agreements regulating conduct on the high seas.”

As spelled out by UNCLOS, as well as the High Seas Convention, “piracy” is “illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship . . . and directed . . . on the high seas, against another ship . . . or against persons or property on board such ship.”  Judge Kozinski spells out several reasons why the acts of Sea Shepherd are considered “violent” as interpreted by UNCLOS.  He argues that the lower court took to narrow of definition and was opposed to those definitions set by UNCLOS.  For example, violence can be directed toward people and/or ships and equipment. But of course even using the narrower definition of violence only against people still makes SS culpable.

Regardless, Sea Shepherd’s acts fit even the district court’s constricted definition. The projectiles directly endanger Cetacean’s crew, as the district court itself recognized. And damaging Cetacean’s ships could cause them to sink or become stranded in glacier-filled, Antarctic waters, jeopardizing the safety of the crew.

For this reason the Ninth Circuit US court of Appeals as put the injunction back in place, i.e. SS will refrain from doing harassing Institute of Cetacean Research ship.s


Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

74 Replies to “Sea Shepherd, Without A Doubt, Pirates”

  1. You are absolutely right in all points!
    Yesterday we had once more a stupid discussion on Facebook about SS.
    I am zoologist and worked more than 10 years with whales, forever they have a large place in my heart. I conducted whale-research in Antarctica, worked as Whale-watching senior guide in Norway and did a lot of other things with whales.
    Some of my comrades of the Whale team at Hamburg University have been at sea with Watson and they told me shocking things about the treating of the crew.
    At second, I am convinced, that we need political solutions. I know, that most Norwegegians and Japanese people are against whaling. I am sure, that sometimes we will find political solutions, but we have to respect them.
    And there are so many more points…
    Greetings from Germany,

    1. I know tons of Sea shepherd crew. Ive crewed many times. And yes there are always one or two people who either don’t get along with others or didn’t get what they were expecting once on board. They normally get off and are never seen again. And of coarse they will say they weren’t treated well and/or didn’t like it. But ive never once heard or seen any “shocking Treatment of crew” I would put money on it they were whiners and complainers and got the boot at the next port of call. And unlike you i have NO respect for anyone who blows the spine out of Whales and kills tens of thousands of Dolphins each year. And im extremely surprised you being a Zoologist and Whale Watching guide respect these people. Shame. Because Sea Shepherd have skippers, one from NZ and one from Australia who are senior Whale Watching guides who also have No respect for this Slaughter or the people who do it. Maybe you just do it for the $$$ ?

      1. Did you not read my post?
        1. “My” Norwegians were against whaling and they were not whalers but whale watchers.
        2. Norwegians dont´hunt dolphins.
        3. Important japanese scientists who publish in international peer-reviewd journals are against the so-called scientific whaling of Japan
        4. Personal attacks don´t replace facts.

        1. Bettina, you talk abouth personal attacks, then please be so free to show us something abouth who or what was personal attacked by any SS Volunteer …
          It is the Japanese who are personal against the SS Volunteers, not otherwise …
          SS doesnt use grapling hooks to attack persons on the whaling ships, SS doesnt use Flashbombs to hurt people on the Whaling ships, SS dont use Sticks to hurt people on the Whaling ships, it is the Japanese who use them against the SS Volunteers.

          1. Personal attacks such as hurling projectiles at boats, which, may I point out, they filmed themselves doing.

            SS hurl projectiles, SS illegally board ships, SS harass other seafarers.

    2. I agree with you. What the Sea Shepherd is doing is not right at all they talk bull when what they are doing is been “violent” and they get away with it or making their self feel better by saying what they are doing is right when its not the proof show’s they are not right what they are doing just by the videos that animal planet put out and that the capt.Paul on it talks about getting kicked out of green peace and it shows how he thinks he needs to be locked up for risking peoples lives

  2. That’s pretty rich coming from a US court, when the US has not even ratified UNCLOS… And Sea Shepherd has no US-flagged vessels… Kind of makes a person wonder why the Japanese, with all the courts in the world, including the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS -the court set up to deal with UNCLOS issues), chose to go to the good ol’ US of A. Not only that, but a Seattle Circuit Court… Hmmm, do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that the Makah Indians, just down the road, are also one of the last remaining fans of whaling (amidst much controversy)? Nah, that would be just a coincidence, right? Welcome to the real world Dr. M. It’s true that Sea Shepherd are an extreme bunch, but piracy is happening everyday and people are dying because if it, and that is nothing like what SS are up to. Stink bombs on deck is hardly the same as RPGs and automatic weapons… But it’s nice to grab back the moral high ground, even if it comes from a sheltered backwater court that knows nothing about UNCLOS or piracy.

    1. You are correct that the U.S. did not ratify UNCLOS but the U.S. does recognizes is as a codification of customary international law. There are multiple legal strategies one could take. Of course the most effective would be to bring it to a U.S. court instead of ITLOS. As SS is U.S. based (yes with subsidiaries in other countries but the primary headquarters and leadership reside in Oregon) the best strategy would be file an injunction in a court with actual power to follow through. IT was doen in a circuit court in Seattle only because SS was based in Oregon. There is no controversy here. As far as your other comments, I would rather an organization be reprimanded for acts on the high seas that could potentially lead to death than waiting till after the fact.

      1. I just read a post that suggests the case was taken to the US apparently because the US does not recognize the Australian claims to the waters in which the activities occurred.That post concludes:

        “…it is ironic that a US court can consider Sea Shepherd to be hostii humani generis — an enemy of all humankind — only because the US refuses to accept a territorial claim made by one of its strongest allies (Australia) and supported by another ally (the UK) with whom it supposedly has a “special relationship”.

        – See more at:

        1. It doesn’t matter which country you look to, no one is supporting Sea Shepherd.

          Austalian GM Julia Gillard faced criticism from Paul Watson (who also condemned the Australian Navy, btw) for the following statements:
          “Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s refusal to intervene in the Antarctic whaling conflict has been rejected by Sea Shepherd as a failure to protect Australian life and property.

          Ms Gillard said the government was not empowered to put an Australian vessel between Japanese and Sea Shepherd ships.

          ”When did we become the nation that apparently has got the capacity to police every ocean in the world?” she told reporters in Adelaide.”

          Australia is also preparing to raid Sea Shepherd ships when they return to port in Hobart, according to reports there.

  3. I agree with this origination’s’ mandate, however, its means are in question? – It’s about “Safety At Sea and the Law of the Sea! Rules of the Road! Ask any Blue Water Sailor or Professional Seaman, and they would agree that Mr. Watson and his crew’s actions are not that of pirates, they are that off “Terrorist – On the Hi Sea’s. Also, research, Mr. Watson s’ Seaman’s Documents, experience and real background (in the bilge) – ! In days gone by at least pirates had some integrity. Yes, Japan should stop its illegal activities – but, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Also, ask yourself, would you like to be a crew member on one of those Japanese ships – Dead In The Water (DIW) on the Hi Seas, because Sea Shepherd fouled your Prop – that could also cause damage to your main engines and possibly even a crankcase explosion? My qualification – 35 years at sea (Blue Water), US Navy – (SS) (MDV) (NSW), US Merchant Marine (CHENG) (Ret), Founding Member of Save The Bay -1979.

    As for WHALE WARS – please! It’s malice television at its worst. I’m sure the producers encourage, what real seaman would never consider, merely mentioning the tactics that we witness preformed by the Sea Shepherd organization would get you thrown off the ship at the next port, however the producers of this “show” have the money to keep the real issues in the courts for years to come – the negligence, ignorance, and irresponsibility of the ships officers and volunteer crew.

    To be fair we have to prosecute both sides to the fullest extent of the law.
    Yes – Stop Whaling, – Boycott Japanese Products, Protest at Japanese Embassy, Write to Elected Officials.
    Yes – Stop Sea Shepherd – Don’t Donate, Don’t watch Whale Wars, and Send a letter to the companies that advertise during that TV show. (Reality TV – My Stern)!

  4. SS activities are illegal; and no doubt the definition of pirate does apply. I am much less sure of the jurisdiction of US courts in the Southern Ocean, though I do believe they have jurisdiction over US nationals and organisations (globally). We can also have a semantic argument about the effectiveness or otherwise of their actions in conservation terms.

    What they are doing; and doing extremely well, is preventing the Japanese from catching whales. In the Southern Ocean that is their sole objective; and it is an objective I support. Having sailed a small yacht from the UK to Australia I did see a couple of oceans. Our oceans fisheries are in serious trouble and the ocean itself is a rubbish dump. Because they are a global commons no one takes responsibility. That is, no one except a few small conservation groups, one of whom is SS. Private conservation groups are just that. They are private and thus operate according to their own agenda. One if their constraints is the international legal system and Watson has serious problems himself with that system, even though it is being abused by the Japanese. Nevertheless ANY conservation action in the oceans that is done honestly and sincerely, even if illegal, should in my view be applauded. To stand by; and do nothing, even as our planet is raped and pillaged is a far bigger crime.

    That is why I support Sea Shepherd.

    1. “What they are doing; and doing extremely well, is preventing the Japanese from catching whales” They may prevent some whale from being taken but they have done nothing to prevent the larger activity of the Japanese taking whales. This is policy issue and best dealt with at a higher level. If anything SS is polarizing an already charged debate and impeding long term solutions. They are trying to put a bandaid year after year on a deeper problem, i.e. addressing the symptoms and not the underlying disease.

      “They are private and thus operate according to their own agenda.” They take the public’s money and thus answer to their donors. They also operate in the conservation community and thus answer to the larger group if they are impeding progress.

      “even if illegal, should in my view be applauded.” I whole heartedly disagree with this. Using an illegal activity to combate a legal one will not be a successful strategy. And no one is arguing that we stand by and do nothing. I am arguing we should put our efforts and funds in better strategies and SS should go away as they are causing more harm than good.

    2. Saildog, you are absolutely correct. When the legal system fails or is corrupted as it has been in this case people must stand up and draw attention to it. If I owned a ship I would be in the Southern Ocean right alongside Paul Watson. “Dr” M sounds like a coward to me.

  5. This judge doesn’t have a clue.Coming from from a country that routinely sticks its big nose into everybody else’s Business around the world. Sending troops in to kill locals and secure Oil fields this judge should pull his head in. This is Australian Sea Shepherd Not the US Sea Shepherd funding and running this Campaign In Antarctica. It has Nothing to do with this Judge or the US. Butt out. As for Sea Shepherd being “pirates” there now are many Experts coming out saying this Judge is clueless.

    1. SS is a U.S. base organization (with satellite offices in other countries) and must adhere to U.S. law. Likewise Paul Watson is U.S. citizen as also bound by U.S. Law.

      I would also note that you only link to one expert who disagrees with the decision. One does not count as experts plural.

      1. Paul Watson is actually Canadian. Vancouver boy. Co-founder of Greenpeace.

        1. Of course Greenpeace actually disputes his role in the organization. He “was an influential early member but not, as he sometimes claims, a founder.”

      2. I guess they cancel themselves out. You have a perverted old Judge making a statement and i have a law expert saying hes wrong.

        1. Yes, the guy writing a blog and the guy sitting on the bench have exactly the same power and cancel each other out. Cool story, bro.

      3. Paul Watson has US citzenship and is required to follow US laws. He was born in Canada but gave up his Canadian citzenship due to their involvement in allowing whaling. He is a terrorist plain and simple who takes the law into his own hands. The sea shepard often says that they are police action but they have no authority to act on any charter by the united nations. I love it when one of his requirements for his crewmen is that they be willing to give their life for the whales yet he wears bullet proof vests. Guess the same does not apply to him or maybe he is just too self important!

    1. Kevin,
      Thank you for commenting and including these links. When I have more time I will read over. May have some followup questions so hopefully you hang around the comments section.

      1. Kevin’s points against the Judge’s decision are best summed up in the following example.

        Quoting Kevin Jon Heller: “Kozinski doesn’t mention any of the historical sources that ostensibly constitute this “rich history”; he simply cites the dictionary definition of “private” and a 25-year-old Belgian case that has never been followed by any other court.”

        Is that so? I’m thinking that seems like a complete fabrication in light of the following quote from the decicion, wherein a list of references is provided to back up the rich history claim. To state the above in light of the quote below is deceptive sophistry; much of the rest of Heller’s arguments amount to the same.

        From the decision as linked to by Dr. M: ***The context
        here is provided by the rich history of piracy law, which defines acts taken for
        private ends as those not taken on behalf of a state. See Douglas Guilfoyle, Piracy
        Off Somalia: UN Security Council Resolution 1816 and IMO Regional Counterpage
        5 Piracy Efforts, 57 Int’l & Comp. L. Q. 690, 693 (2008) (discussing the High Seas
        Convention); Michael Bahar, Attaining Optimal Deterrence at Sea: A Legal and
        Strategic Theory for Naval Anti-Piracy Operations, 40 Vand. J. Transnat’l L. 1, 32
        (2007); see also Harmony v. United States, 43 U.S. (2 How.) 210, 232 (1844)
        (“The law looks to [piracy] as an act of hostility . . . being committed by a vessel
        not commissioned and engaged in lawful warfare.”). Belgian courts, perhaps the
        only ones to have previously considered the issue, have held that environmental
        activism qualifies as a private end. See Cour de Cassation [Cass.] [Court of
        Cassation] Castle John v. NV Mabeco, Dec. 19, 1986, 77 I.L.R. 537 (Belg.). This
        interpretation is “entitled to considerable weight.” Abbott v. Abbott, 130 S. Ct.
        1983, 1993 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). We conclude that “private
        ends” include those pursued on personal, moral or philosophical grounds, such as
        Sea Shepherd’s professed environmental goals. That the perpetrators believe
        themselves to be serving the public good does not render their ends public.***

        1. So, according to Karl, two law-review articles are “historical sources”? That a very interesting understanding of the historian’s craft.

          I will admit that I overlooked Scalia’s reference — as the third source in a string cite — to Harmony v. United States. But one reference to an actual historical source, mentioned only as the third source in a string cite and not discussed at all, hardly a “rich history” makes…

          I note for the record that Karl doesn’t bother to explain why the rest of my arguments are nothing more than “deceptive sophistry”; I guess he finds it easier to cast aspersions than make an actual substantive argument. I wonder why that is?

          1. I don’t really have time to waste on people who are deceptive; I move on to other sources that are trustworthy. I note for the record that you didn’t refute that you lied in your article. You specifically, actively, and deceptively stated that all that the opinion listed were a dictionary definition and a Belgian ruling, when there was much more. It doesn’t matter how I refer to it – a Chief Justice of a United States District Court of Appeals has explicitly referred to the full list of referenced sources as a “rich history”. You were caught by someone actually reading the opinion, as you apparently are not accustomed to being challenged.

            I also note for the record that you didn’t refute the assertation that that was deceptive sophistry, you simply asked why I didn’t attack any of your other arguemnts in the same way.

  6. I will be polite because I do not want my comments pulled – To hell with the critics of SS… we do not see any direct action from other authorities— why not?, because they are corrupt, they are in on the “action” – we people of the world do not want political solutions, we want direct action… I have 2 friends in SS, both have done 6 tours on the Bob Barker, they are wonderful ladies with warm hearts and they have inspired hundreds of locals to do the same…… take up direct action against those that would harm your right to live, it is just and right.
    You may squeal all you like, I put a lot of money towards SS and I will continue, in fact, I will work harder to ensure others support the pirates.

    In a world where corruption comes from the law and from politicians, the Pirates are the true and just members of society.

    I am a pirate, I act against the wrong-doers of the world, I am not some wimp that needs to call the ‘authorities’

    deepseanews is no doubt sponsored by fisheries…

    1. “we do not see any direct action from other authorities” So you are dismissing actions taken by all other conservation organizations and marine conservation scientists?

      “do not want political solutions, we want direct action” So you would rather pursue an action that doesn’t work and may have negative consequences if it means you get to say its direct and feel better about yourself?

      ” that would harm your right to live, it is just and right.” They are not harming any person’s right to live…that is SS. It is neither just or right.

      “I am a pirate, I act against the wrong-doers of the world, I am not some wimp that needs to call the ‘authorities” You are a vigilante and see fit to undermine the law when you choose and obey it when it suits you.

    2. Deep-Sea News is a non-profit group that receives no income or funds from any organization. The maintenance and writing here at DSN are done by an amazing team of volunteers.

    3. JB David – maybe the best example here is to think how acceptable it would be for Hindus from South Asia, who feel very deeply and personally that the slaughter of cows is wrong, to come into the United States and tell us that we can’t pursue cattle farming any longer.

      All extralegal action must be despised because you can’t draw any other limits than the law. If it’s OK for Sea Shepherd to take violent action against Japanese ships, is it OK for someone who disagrees with them to take violent action against SSCS? The answer is that (read Stephen Pinker’s “the Better Angels of Our Nature) vigilantism is always wrong and that the law is the way to work. SSCS gets away with some things for now because the reach of the law is harder in the open ocean – but the law will catch up with them there in the not-too-distant future.

      1. Really?? Thats your “Best” example? lol How about coming back to earth..Bring an International Ban on killing Cows that the US is a signed signatory. Have the US then hunt cows with explosive harpoons blowing cows spines out under the lie of “research” then they can take issue. This isn’t about Religion or culture. Bro that is the weakest argument i have ever seen posted.

        1. Bring me an international treaty that says that the Japanese can’t hunt whales. I’ve already posted the head of the treaty you rely on saying that it’s perfectly legal.

  7. Thank goodness some common sense has surfaced through the deep sea of SS fanaticism. Whilst I am relieved that the catch quota has been reduced this year, I have been horrified by the lengths SS and the Japanese whalers will go to in the Southern Ocean. SS have been fouling props for a few years now, and in essence risking lives and a fuel spill in a pristine environment. Pretending to be a ping pong ball between the Nisshin Maru and Sun Laurel was an exercise in extreme recklessness and showed how hypocritical Captain Watson is. He has said “The ships held their positions and did not waver, even under intense pressure. We have always said they would have to sink us to stop us and we put the whalers to the test”. One of their ships lies at the bottom of the Southern Ocean already, fouling the sanctuary they are proclaiming to uphold.

    As a whale biologist I have always been amused by the attention JARPA II receives versus JARPN II. Each year the Japanese fleet goes out to the North Pacific and hunts minke, Bryde’s and sperm whales. The only news I ever hear of this is when the fleet departs. I’ve asked SS people why they don’t devote any time and attention to this hunt and they come back with the words “Sanctuary”, “illegal”, etc, etc. Watson wrote yesterday “Maybe on the grounds that the enemy of my enemy is my ally, we can convince China to take some constructive action against illegal Japanese whaling activities in the North Pacific”. Perhaps the lack of icebergs does not make for compelling footage for Captain Watson’s constant dates with the media. On this topic it is also amusing how Captain Watson is constantly critical of Greenpeace: “Whales died as Greenpeacers held banners and took pictures”. Greenpeace had a base in the Antarctic in the 80’s trying to gain it Sanctuary status. They also alerted the world to the Antarctic whaling with their pictures and banner waving well before SS arrived on the scene. This included crew jumping on minke carcasses as they were dragged up the slipway. If GP are criticised for taking pictures, I wonder what Captain Watson can be accused of with his constant media appearances and the likes of ‘Whale Wars’? GP also unertook scientifc research along with their banner waving, and this was presented at IWC scientific meetings.

    The disinformation coming from SS ranges from telling the public the Japanese are targeting humpback whales to claiming they were attacked without provocation. The twisting or absence of facts, coupled by the increasingly aggressive tactics has also made me aware of another sinister emotion at play. As an Australian I am seeing more and more hatred and racist comments made against the Japanese. These range from the hypocritical – they kill protected whales, even though Australia has the largest terrestrial mammal cull on the planet (kangaroos) which involves little science and a lot of cruelty – to wishing the nuclear bombs had wiped out the country. Is the real issue here conservation, or a sense that an Australian ‘territory’ is under attack yet again from the sinister Japanese? In the year of an Australian federal election there is also extreme anger directed at the current government for failing to send down customs or naval vessels to intervene. In a wonderful show of how short-minded (or perhaps anti-Labour-Government-at-absolutely -any-cost) many commentators are, they overlook that the current government is the only one that has ever sent down a customs vessel to observe and who now have the Japanese Government and JARPA II program in the International Court of Justice for various illegal activities. The previous government did basically nothing, and yet they look like regaining power this year.

    After all these years Japan continues to kill whales. SS’s activities has reduced the quota some years, but not the drive. It has certainly done nothing for the victims of JARPN II. Only by bringing about change from within the country will we see a shift against whaling. As vile as whaling is, cetaceans face far greater threats such as pollution, bycatch and climate change – the latter which threatens to destabilise the entire food chain in the Southern Ocean, and which SS contributes to with all their traveling about the ocean in pursuit of whalers.

    1. To echo one part of “as vile as whaling is” – the damage being done to marine mammals by mining runoff and coal burning is much worse than any modern whaling.

      That anti-whaling forces trumpet how awful it is to have japanese school children eat whale meat with high mercury in it without pausing to think of the damage this mercury does every day to marine mammals is a sick irony. Few take responsibility for their own culture’s damage to the marine environment.

      The tragedy of the oceans today is the mercury being dumped in them. Some studies suggest that it’s coming back to roost among humans, too. We can all work at home to prevent this, and do a lot more good for our cetacean friends than by supporting SSCS. Or continue to stroke Paul Watson’s ego – your choice.

    2. Spoken like a true Greenpeacer. Ive heard this many times from Greenpeace supporters, I remember when Greenpeace actually did head down with Sea Shepherd to the Southern Ocean. They made a doco called “battleship Antarctica” Everyone should watch. A huge eye opener to how Greenpeace thinks and acts.

      1. A Greenpeacer? Really? No wonder you are so in favour of sea shepherd – you overlook facts.

        1. Well Sea Shepherd have saved lives. Thousands of Whales are swimming free because of their efforts. Greenpeace are still asking for money to “save the Whales” and have done nothing again. Fact.

  8. Paul Watson has devoted his life to a cause that is greater than himself. chief judge
    [comment removed by editor], funny. This judge had no business making a ruling on something he knows absolutely nothing about. He wouldn’t know what it’s like to care so passionately about something that you would risk everything, including your life for it. If you have ever been fortunate enough to see a whale you would understand Paul Watson’s passion. Whether or not you agree with his methods he has saved the lives of over 4,000 whales through Sea Shepard alone. His being on this earth has made an impact. His cause is great. Instead of fighting him and protecting these whale killers you should be standing up and asking yourself how you to can make a difference. If only a few more people cared as much as him we would be living in a much better world. I applaud you Captain Watson and you have my gratitude. I can only hope my existence on this planet makes even the tiniest of impacts.

  9. Sea Shepherd Australia is not Sea Shepherd US. You may think they are the same but your wrong. They don’t have to abide by anything a US court decides. Im going to love to see this Judge try and enforce any ruling on Sea Shepherd Australia. He will get himself laughed out of court. And he doesn’t hold any high ground with all the perverted dirt that is coming out about him. The judge is a dirty old man who really shouldn’t be pointing fingers at anyone. But we will see. Its going to be fun watching him waste everyone’s time. As for the Japanese it looks like they may have sunk themselves with their Fisheries minister stating they will never give up Whaling and they Whale for food and food Security and not research. Sounds like Australia will have them by the balls in the international court. But no huge surprise when their previous Fisheries Minister said a few years back he expected Whales to go extinct and Japan would just move to another food source when that happened. All those idiots out their who believed Sea Shepherds efforts were Detrimental to the cause just got a huge wake up call with the Japanese Fisheries ministers latest comments. Thats right.. They are NEVER going to give up Whaling. Wakey Wakey Waste your breath on them if you like. The rest of us have had enough.

    1. Let me get this straight – if a court decides that Japan must stop whaling under the ICW moratorium, and then Japan sells its ships to Norway and funds the whaling activities under Norway’s flag, that would be OK with you?

      That’s exactly what SSCS has done. They “sold” their ships to SS Australia because it was convenient legally for them to make the claim that the activity was all under a non-US entity. Paul Watson resigned as head of SSCS US so that they could also claim that he was not involved.

      It’s a very convenient arrangment. It’s also exactly the kind of BS legal manourvering that US corporations do to avoid legal prosecution, and I’m certain many SSCS supporters would decry them for similar actions. However, when the end justifies the means, SSCS supporters are happy to rail about how US courts don’t have jurisdiction over what’s going on in the southern ocean.

      We’ll see how much jurisdiction Judge K and the Ninth Circuit exercise over SSCS’s non-profit status. I’m highly doubtful that the transparent actions to get around the court’s intent will go entirely unpunished. The levels of potential action taken in the future by the court and US DoJ over this will range from heavy fines to removal of non-profit status to a review of the transfer of the ownership of the vessels. If they determine that the vessels were “sold” for a non-market price to SS Australia, criminal action could be brought against SSCS members behind the sale.

      1. No Sea Shepherd US are Not funding Sea Shepherd Australia. Separate groups, separate bank accounts. Separate funding. The ship may have been donated to Sea Shepherd Australia. At the end of the day the US court will be pushing shit uphill. Sea Shepherd US may have issues in the future but they are just a part of a bigger picture and US courts cant touch Sea Shepherd in other countries. Australia Sea Shepherd now has huge support.

        1. Paul Watson has already admitted that returning next year as Sea Shepherd Australia will be difficult without the funds from Sea Shepherd US. Good luck without US funding; it’s obviously a huge part of operations worldwide, which Watson as much as admits with his statements. If you care to think otherwise, you must like not only drinking kool-aid, but swimming in an ocean of it.

          1. You obviously have issues reading English. He never says they wont find the funds. Its always challenging to fund. A few years back they needed fuel and within 12 hours had the funding from a Wealthy Australian. I think your underestimating the Support Sea Shepherd has out of the US. Best not to talk about cool Aid when your mouths full of it bud. And take some English reading lessons

          2. Yes, I should take lessons in English from someone who capitalizes verbs, contracts “you are” as “your” and can’t even write what they are trying to say.

            Let me help you. What you meant to write was “Karl, dear sir, I think you are overestimating the importance of the monetary support that Sea Shepherd receives from within the United States.” There’s your lesson, bro.

  10. Have you people forgot what the word SANCTUARY means? It’s funny how you guys oppose whaling but do nothing to stop it. Sea Shepard has every right to be there. The are doing what the governments around the world are failing to do. Uphold the law. Maybe if all you other conservationist spent half the amount of time you do putting down Sea Shepard, things might get done. At least they are putting a spot light on the subject. You may not like there tactics, but they are very effective. How many whales have you saved from the Japanese death boats MR. Hater?

    1. It is very odd that SSCS supporters are so brainwashed as to the lay of the land in the international law on this issue.

      The international body that governs whaling is the International Whaling Commission. The IWC agreed upon a commercial whaling moratorium in the 80’s, with the proviso that research whaling would be allowed. IWC head Ray Gambell weighed in on if what Japan does is illegal in a BBC interview that you can Google today: “I have to say at the outset that Japan is not doing anything illegal by catching the whales that it does and it is acting legally within the terms of the Convention that we operate. One of the things that we are working on at the present time is inspection and international observer programmes that will have oversight of any whaling which is under IWC control, to make sure that all regulations are followed covering areas such as size and species. ”

      In fact, the current IWC website describes the legal research whaling on a specific website page – and again, the whaling ban that everyone refers to is the IWC’s moratorium, so if they describe the research whaling how can it not be legal according to them? Warning: they also show pictures of dead whales being researched. Yes, the very IWC which is the world body that bans commercial whaling has chosen to show you dead whales. That’s because the commercial whaling moratorium has limits:

      If it’s odd to you that there would be a “moratorium” with known research loopholes put in place, think about it this way. The IWC needed a majority vote to get the moratorium in place. To do so, they needed to make concessions. One of the concessions to the whaling countries was to allow scientific cathces as a way to show that commercial whaling could possibly be done sustainably in the future. That allowed for enough votes to passt the moratorium.

      Reminder that Japan is a voluntary member of the IWC. At any moment they could drop out of the treaty entirely and resume commercial whaling with complete conformance to international law. Norway and Iceland have essentially already served notice that they are not bound by the moratorium.

  11. The fact that Australia is a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty is a good reason not to send military vessels to the Southern Ocean. Captain Watson would know this, but by omitting certain facts he keeps his supporters enraged at the perceived lack of action by the Australian Government. It’s all very carefully stage managed – a bit like the bullet he took on one of his previous journeys south.

    1. Yes, SS are very good at staging theatre, no doubt about it. Regarding Oz, well, there are exceptions. The Viarsa story is pretty well-known, and I don’t think they were fretting about the Antarctic Treaty while chasing it 7000 km through the Southern Ocean. Still, I do think the Aussies are making the right call here to not send a ship. Previously they have done fly-overs but I have not heard about any this year. Might be a good idea, or to make public some military satellite surveillance at least… It would give the sense that they are watching and assessing the situation.

      (“On 7 August 2003 Southern Supporter sighted Viarsa 1 allegedly engaged in illegal fishing inside the Australian exclusive economic zone around Heard Island and the McDonald Islands in the Southern Ocean. The pursuit which followed was unprecedented in both distance and level of international cooperation to protect the marine ecosystem and Australia’s sovereignty in its waters.”)

    2. Its not Sea Shepherd supporters who are outraged. The Australian public does Not support Whaling and are totally against Japans Whaling program. But Paul Watson is correct that Australia will chase a Patagonian tooth fish boat for weeks finally boarding it and arresting its crew but wont do the same to the Japanese fleet. Maybe because one is privately owned and from a poor nation and the other being a huge trading partner.

  12. Surely anyone who cares about the planet and marine life understands what SS are doing. Even if you are anti-conflict surely you are sympathetic to what SS want to achieve. SS have saved the lives of thousands of whales over the years, does this not count for anything? SS are simply doing what no one else is prepared to do, take action against the whalers and stop the slaughter of whales in a part of the ocean that is supposed to be a sanctuary for them. Personally I would like them to sink the entire whaling fleet once and for all, before they have even left port. Even if you’re at the complete opposite end of the spectrum to that you must see that there are few other options. If everyone sat on their hands or tried to fight their battles in the courts nothing would get done, FACT. This is the only way, yes its playing dirty but winning ugly is still winning.

  13. “Reminder that Japan is a voluntary member of the IWC. At any moment they could drop out of the treaty entirely and resume commercial whaling with complete conformance to international law. Norway and Iceland have essentially already served notice that they are not bound by the moratorium.”

    Actually, if Japan ever dropped out of the IWC and went whaling in Antarctica , they would be whaling without the cover of research. it would be a very simple matter for Australia to dispatch the warships and send them back to Tokyo.

    1. “Actually, if Japan ever dropped out of the IWC and went whaling in Antarctica , they would be whaling without the cover of research. it would be a very simple matter for Australia to dispatch the warships and send them back to Tokyo.”

      Actually, no it wouldn’t since the Australian sanctuary all the SS drones ramble on about is not recognized except by five nations; Australia, France, Norway, New Zealand, and the UK. Thus no it is not legal for the Australians to send a ship out to stop, detain or destroy the Japanese whalers.

      The drones that follow Watson’s every word as truth need to brush up on laws and treaties that they like to throw around so they understand what is actually going on and why nations don’t get involved.

  14. Watching whale wars to me is like watching pro wrestling. I watched an episode where SS people are placed on a Japanese vessel underway. Next Our Dear Captain is claiming that the Japanese have kidnapped the people placed on the Japanese ship. This was my “jump the shark” moment.
    While I do not condone the continued hunting of whales, I likewise cannot help but leave a comment in a forum where it might just be read by a member of the SS crew or even Our Dear Captain. Don’t p*** down my back and tell me it’s raining is a comment that comes to mind while watching this show, “Whale Wars”. In nearly every episode I’m surprised by the acts of open piracy I see, as well as the incredible restraint shown by the crews of the Japanese vessels. Were I captaining a vessel under such attack, I would have responded in way that would have eliminated the threat posed by the SS vessels.
    I don’t know that the Russians have a whaling “research” fleet, or even an open whaling fleet period. I seriously doubt that the SS group would even consider doing to them what they do to the Japanese. I think what angers me even more however is the whole concept that I read in posts above that it’s okay to potentially maim, injure or kill another human being by doing acts of violence or piracy to prevent acts that are legal albeit distasteful to a handful of other people. You can try to spin it however you like, but breaking the law to prevent someone from doing something that has been deemed legal by an international agreement makes no sense. You are wasting money that can be spent in real, legal pursuits involving law, and make a mockery of the process in continuing acts of piracy.
    Eventually, you will place your vessel in the path of a Japanese whaling vessel. The resulting loss of life you will no doubt (if you survive the encounter) attribute to the Japanese vessel instead of taking responsibility. I hope it never comes to that. I hope your supporters realize they are sending money to a pirate who is out for his own self interests. I hope Whale Wars is taken off of TV as it actually promotes and condones illegal activity.

  15. First, excuse my English.
    I’m Japanese who lives in the states for many years.

    I’m an animal lover and I don’t eat animal meat.
    I hate to see whales be killed in the ocean, or any animal be killed on earth.
    I hope Japan or Norway or any country stop whale killing.

    However, I believe what SS is doing is terrorism.
    I think they are the same kind who attacks abortion clinics and hurts doctors and staffs, just because they believe abortion is murder. Thus, they are simply terrorists.

  16. I applaud your effort to inform the public of this groups reckless and shady behavior.the Sea shepperd organistion has a bad reputation for harassing and threatening people who don’t share the same opinion publicly.

  17. Watson is a relic from the past who’s tactics have never worked to save whales and never will. They only bring attention to him and his ego. He’s not protecting whales from evil soviet whaling ships of the early seventies. These are hard working Japanese fisherman who are our friends. His attempts to portray the Japanese as evil devils by attempting to incite racist hate is disturbing and disgusting. He’s not John Wayne in the Sands of Iwo Jima. Sea shepperds have done nothing but suck money and attention away from organizations that can and have brought on change in the past. He spends millions on boats and other toys that have accomplished nothing but to make whale conservationists look like racist lunatics. The last thing Watson wants is for the Japanese to stop whaling in the southern ocean. It’s the only place on the planet where he can get away with these criminal acts and without whalers to harass he has nothing, but as long as there are ignorant celebrities with more money than brains who are conned by the con man Watson sea shepperds will unfortunately harassing and terrorizing good people who are trying to make a living.

  18. Harry you are completely wrong. Even the Japanese have stated numerous times that Sea Shepherd have stopped them from reaching anywhere near their quota each year. Obviously this means lives have been “saved”. Bon Barker watched an episode of Whale Wars made a few phone calls and bought a ship for Sea Shepherd. Not sure how this is being “conned” but believe it or not a lot of people love what Sea Shepherd achieve.

  19. SS save a couple dozen whales a year big FN deal. He’s made conservationists look like intolerant lunatics and many many people are siding with the whalers now. Why doesn’t SS go to Norway and harass those whalers? They kill ten times as many whales as the Japanese do, but Watson isn’t in it to save whales. He’s in it for himself and his ego. He’s nothing but a coward hiding from the very people he pretends to stand up against. Meanwhile he’s sucking donation money from good organisations that have made real progress in the past. As for Discovery they’re nothing but greedy suits chasing the mighty dollar. SS are a disgrace and Watson is a sub human fraud leading ignorant pawns unable to think for themselves. I’d love to meet Watson in person so I could beat him to death.

    1. Hundreds of Whales saved Not dozens. Sea Shepherd has gone to Norway in the past. Norway are Not really part of the IWC and set their own quotas under objection. They dont hunt in Antarctica or inside a Whale Sanctuary under the guise of “Research”. Id like to hear about the Organizations Sea Shepherd has “sucked” donation money from? As for beating Paul Watson to Death. This comment just shows what a Douche bag you really are Harry.

  20. SS are corrupt and there’s no doubt about it.

    Not only from a business side of things (Organisation or not, it’s still a business at the end of the day!) but a personal side.

    I’ve known member(s) on the SS and they’ve left everything for them because each person is dependable on each other, there are words let alone ones sadness for people to leaving their families pursing a life to the sea but it comes with great risk like the current events with the Russian government capturing 30 activists, we know this will not pan out the way it should.

    To be honest though… time and time again the SS have been forewarned of their actions and having been in a close relationship with the SS. I truly think there is so much internal corruption that makes me sick to my stomach.

    Paul Watson, as poetic and wise wisdom he has led on the sea. Watson villainous behaviours will never change and will always been a fugitive in Australia. Having so many family members (wives, son & daughters) across the globe, one must think why are we believing him?

    You can make your own organisation, it’s not hard if you have the willpower. Devotion and Time is what makes something successful, that’s what I believe.

    I could go on about this topic for ages because I tried to help someone who was brainwashed by them, nevertheless that person moved high up in the ranks.

    Being dramatically influenced and steering away from family to seek another form of false happiness.

    I love all mammals & animals and have a lot of respect for many things in this world. But organisations (a cult you could say) display nothing but a vulgar display or power being low as the Japanese because behind closed doors, when the camera guy isn’t filming. SS are a bunch of viscous pirates.

    1. Michael, I hear this from time to time about “corruption” in Sea Shepherd. It only came about from Pete Bethune getting his knickers in a Knot from being dumped. He was the first person to mouth off and call Sea Shepherd Corrupt. The US Charity Navigator Has always rated Sea Shepherd the highest rating for a Non Profit 4 Stars. This year Sea Shepherd have a 3 star rating because they haven’t been Audited. But this shows they are extremely transparent and have the highest rating you can achieve for a Non Profit. Hardly a Corrupt Organization.

  21. Paul Watson is a hero, he is one of only a few people that have the balls to do what he does. Simple fact, SS have massive support and it is growing. Ummm, to Harry, that said he wants to beat Capt Watson to death….I am a massive SS supporter and brother let me tell you that I would snap you like the weak little twig that you are. If you think that SS members are weak or scared of any Norwegian, you are wrong. I’d gladly see how their unhealthy lives stand up to my 15yrs of hardcore MMA cage fighting. Keep the hate, it’s all yours, may you and your hate live happily together.

  22. Nobody outside your little cult likes she shepperds. You can post as much as you want to make it appear as though you have support but everybody knows it’s just a few of you making all these pro sea sheppeed posts. The average person sees se shepperds as spoiled easily manipulated children harrasing and enfangering hard working people doing their jobs. The Japanese should deal with the sea shepperds the same way the Russians dealt with Greenpeace. They’ve shown incredible tolerance in dealing with the idioticsea shepperd organization and their childish antics. Except for a few ignorant celebrities and some some spoiled children nobody likes sea shepperds. They’re assholes.

    1. So i Guess Joseph these very few people your talking about must have a shit load of cash? Because the ships are not cheap and Campaigns cost Millions. In Fact support for Sea Shepherd has grown steadily over the last decade. Membership is at an all time High.

  23. Hero’s don’t run and hide. After all the arrest me or shut up grandstanding Watson did he ran with his tail between his legs when push came to shove. He’s a coward never willing to take any risk screw him and his band of fools. At least whale wars was canceled because discovery realized if anyone gets hurt they’re liable.

    1. Actually Joan Only a Really Stupid person after receiving Death threats and having trumped up charges laid on them would stay to fight that battle. Paul Watson did the right thing. As for Animal planet. They have issues around court proceedings from the Japanese. This is why Sea Shepherd had their own film crew last year.

  24. I heard through the grapevine that Watson has become a huge burden and a liability to the Sea shepperd organization. The process of hiding him is costing them too much money And resources now that they’ve lost their charity status and there are grumblings inside sea shepperd to severe ties with him altogether. Apparently even they’re are fed up with his antics.

  25. The seasheppard organisation is perpetrating the killing of whales with their ineffectual campaigns as this antagonizes the Japanese people to continue with their whaling activities not
    wanting to lose face the only way whaling can be ceased by the Japanese is a political solution

    my own conclusion about Mr Watson (not Captain)its more about him
    and his image rather than the welfare of whales

    As no doubt if Seashappard had taken a polical approach whaling would have ceased but of course this would have been done behind the scenes leaving little room for amateurs with a big ego

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