AN INTRODUCTION TO THE
‘SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY’
The ‘Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’ (SSCS) is
an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization whose mission
is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in
order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.
Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and
take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.
By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea
Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.
Sea Shepherd's primary mandate is to assume a law enforcement role as authorised
by the 21-24 of the ‘World Charter for Nature’ as adopted by the United Nations
General Assembly on November 9, 1982 which provides authority to individuals to
act on behalf of and enforce international conservation laws (specifically- in Section
21 [paragraph E] it says: ‘States and, to the extent they are able, other public
authorities, international organizations, individuals, groups and corporations shall:
(e) Safeguard and conserve nature in areas beyond national jurisdiction’).
The founder of Sea Shepherd:
Sea Shepherd was founded in 1977 by
Canadian born Paul Watson who was the
8th founding member (membership
no.007) of Greenpeace in the early 1970’s.
Paul Watson and his lifelong friend Robert
Hunter (Greenpeace membership no.000)
were the first people to put their lives on
the line to protect whales when Paul
placed his inflatable Zodiac between a
Russian harpoon vessel and a pod of defenceless Sperm whales. During this
confrontation Paul looked directly into the eye of a harpooned and dying sperm
whale and recognized a flicker of understanding in the dying whale's eye. He felt that
the whale knew what they were trying to do and he watched as the magnificent
leviathan heaved its body away from his boat, slipped beneath the waves and died.
This event changed his life forever so he vowed to become a lifelong defender of the
whales and all creatures of the seas.
In June 1977, Paul Watson resigned from the Greenpeace Foundation because of
disagreements with the bureaucracy of the organization and because he saw a global
need to continue direct action conservation activities on the high seas by an
organization that would enforce laws protecting marine wildlife when no-one else
would. He was chosen by ‘Time Magazine’ as one of the environmental heroes of the
20th Century in the year 2000.
Paul Watson is the man Japanese whalers, Canadian seal hunters and illegal
fishermen everywhere fear the most! Captain Watson said last year – “I have been
fighting whalers since 1974 which is all of my adult life. I would dearly love to see
whaling abolished before I die and if that means spending the remainder of my days
fighting whalers on the high seas than that is what it will be”.
Sea Shepherd against whaling:
There is no industry on earth as
horrifically violent as whaling.
Whales die in prolonged
unimaginable agony as blunt
tipped harpoons smash into
their backsides and shred
internal organs. They may take
up to forty minutes to die as
they drown in a mixture of salt
water and their own blood.
They thrash and roll on the
surface of the sea and scream
piteously as they look up to see
arrogant men gloating over
The ‘Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society’ has been
the most aggressive and most
organization in the world.
Saving whales is what we do best and what we are most noted for. Our approach has
been simple and straightforward: We don't protest whaling - we OPPOSE illegal
SSCS in the last three decades has ended the careers of 9 illegal whaling vessels
saving many thousands of whales and we have become famous for:
Ramming and disabling the notorious pirate whaler, the ‘Sierra’
Shutting down half of the Spanish whaling fleet
Documentation of whaling activities in the Faeroe Islands chronicled in the
BBC documentary Black Harvest
Scuttling half of the Icelandic whaling fleet and destroying their whale
Scuttling of the Norwegian whaling vessels Nybraena and Senet in harbour.
The illegal Norwegian whaler Morild, owned by the most notorious whale
killer Stienar Bastesen - was sunk. Sea Shepherd became a household name
in Norway as a result.
Challenging the Norwegian whaling fleet and Navy. The ‘Whales Forever’ was
rammed by the Norwegian
destroyer Andenes, fired
upon, and had two depth
charges deployed under the
hull. Although suffering
significant damage, the
Whales Forever prevented
the Norwegians from
boarding embarrassing the
Directly challenging the
commercial and illegal
whaling by Iceland.
Five consecutive years of confronting Japan's illegal commercial whaling
(thinly disguised as ‘Scientific Research’) in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary
(AKA the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary) and in Australian and French Territorial
Waters and Economic Exclusion Zones.
Japan has consistently lied throughout its entire history of whaling. In Japan, DNA
analysis of whale meat purchased at random has revealed endangered species,
including fins, blues, humpbacks, and orcas, being sold in supermarkets. For years,
Japan has denied bribing nations to vote its way at the annual meetings of the
International Whaling Commission (IWC) and in 2008 proof was revealed that Japan
has been paying the way for the Solomon Islands to participate in these meetings.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua confirmed what had long been
suspected: Japan bought support in the IWC for its so-called quot;scientificquot; whaling
program. In 18 years, the Institute of Cetaceous Research (ICR) (AKA - Japanese
whale canning company) has only produced 4 peer-reviewed scientific papers which
required the killing of whales yet they have killed over 19000 whales now for EACH
In 2007/2008 Sea Shepherd again challenged the entire Japanese whaling fleet in the
Antarctic Whale Sanctuary in our newest ship the ‘Steve Irwin’ (formerly the ‘Robert
Hunter’). During ‘Operation Migaloo’ our ship covered a total of 20,090 nautical
miles and made 3 return trips from Melbourne, Australia to the coast of Antarctica in
3½ months. In total, the ship was at sea for 83 days and a total of 68 individuals from
12 different nations participated in the voyages that
season. The ‘Steve Irwin’ harassed and chased the 8 ships
of the Japanese whaling fleet and saved the lives of over
500 whales resulting in the Japanese not even achieving
half their quota and sending the Japanese fleet further into
In 2008/2009 Paul Watson commanded the ‘Steve Irwin’ in
Operation Musashi against the entire Japanese whaling
fleet in the Antarctic’s Ross Sea documenting Japanese illegal activity and
intervening to shut down the whaling ships whenever Sea Shepherd was within
range. The Japanese whaling industry spent a small fortune rigging their ships with
anti-boarding devices, covering their
ships with netting and installing long
range acoustical weapons. They also
spent a great deal of money to charter
the Taiyo Maru No.38 to transport a
special security force.
The Steve Irwin pursued the Japanese
whaling fleet for over 2000 miles
between December 18th and January
7th disrupting their whaling operations
for 19 days. The Steve Irwin returned and
relocated the whaling fleet shutting
down operations of the fleet for an
additional 8 days. We can claim 27 days
that we physically prevented the whalers
from killing whales. This means many
less whales killed and more whaling
profits lost. The whaling fleet will not
meet its quota for the fourth year in a
The Yushin Maru No.2 suffered ice
damage to its propeller while being pursued by the Steve Irwin. This took the
harpoon vessel out of operation between December 20th and February 5th, for a
total of 46 days. This will also reduce the number of whales killed and will cause a
further loss of illicit profits for the whaling industry.
Sea Shepherd crewmembers engaged the entire Japanese fleet in a dramatic two
day confrontation that demonstrated the determination and the resolve of the
entire crew to intervene against illegal Japanese whaling operations. The reaction to
this year's campaign by the Japanese whalers was a revelation of their frustration
and desperation by physically and violently attacking the Sea Shepherd crew.
Not a single Japanese whaler was injured and the crew of the Sea Shepherd suffered
only very minor injuries. Our record of never injuring our opposition remains
unblemished. We made the decision to withdraw in the face of escalating violence
by the whalers because we could not control the situation with one ship against four
vessels, three of which had greater speed and manoeuvrability.
Sea Shepherd (the ‘Whales Navy’) opposes whaling by the use of unique tactics
developed by Captain Paul Watson. Of course Japan and other nations condemn the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
condemns illegal Japanese whaling. That’s clear - we both condemn each other’s
positions. Also the Japanese continually try to distract from the issue with their
ridiculous charges of eco-terrorism.
Sea Shepherd currently uses carefully considered and measured tactics in order to
prevent whaling activities. Since Sea Shepherd was founded Captain Paul Watson has
not seen a whale die with his own eyes. In contrast the Japanese continue to kill
whales in the presence of Greenpeace ships and with Greenpeace activists between
them and the defenceless whales.
The contrast in actions and effects between Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd is huge.
Despite not having anything like the resources or money of Greenpeace, the Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society sole aim is to save the lives of the whales and Sea
Shepherd is the most effective whale-saving organisation in the world.
In the past Sea Shepherd ships have forced whaling vessels to run with glancing
blows / calculated collisions of their ships (and the Japanese have done the same to
both our ship the Robert Hunter and Greenpeace vessels). Using our ships,
helicopter and Delta /
zodiac craft we are known
for disrupting the whaling
activities by using marine
smoke bombs, prop-fouling
devices, stink bombs of
rotten butter (AKA butyric
acid, an organic mild acid
safe for the environment)
and has also trialled the
deployment of the white
methyl cellulose, the non-
toxic food grade product that is used to coat pills which becomes very slippery in
The Japanese use the 'acid' term to convey the rotten butter chemical as a highly
corrosive harmful substance which is not true. Butyric (the chemical which naturally
form in rotten butter - hence the name) is very mild and is in fact less acidic than
many chemicals that you eat in fruit. It is a non toxic liquid which is obnoxiously
smelly and at worst will cause whalers to feel sick and make the whale carcass on the
Japanese ship unsellable as a meat in Japanese supermarkets and restaurants.
Despite pro-whaling media
propaganda and unfounded
claims to the contrary, Sea
Shepherd has never been
convicted of any felony/crime
and has never injured or killed
anyone. Sea Shepherd’s position
will always be to protect and
preserve all life which is why our
ships are strictly vegetarian or
Vegan (unlike Greenpeace ships).
All Sea Shepherd campaigns are
videotaped, and all of our actions are recorded. The Japanese can say what they like
about our tactics, but the truth is in the tapes. We don't ask people to believe what
we say, we ask people to judge the events by what they see. Recently Sea Shepherd
features in Rob Stewart’s award winning documentary film ‘SHARKWATER’, our
campaigns have been documented independently by the Animal Planet TV network
in a series called “Whale Wars” which is being aired in 2008/2009 and over a
thousand hours of video was recorded for the 2nd Season of Whale Wars by Animal
Planet during Operation Musashi. This program has angered the Japanese whaling
industry more than anything else we have done. With Whale Wars I & II we are
reaching millions of people around the world to expose illegal Japanese activities.
The first season of Whale Wars is a hit and the 2nd season will be even bigger.
Captain Paul Watson also has two books currently in press called ‘Ocean Warrior’
and ‘Seal Wars’.
We are not a banner-waving organisation and we do not employ any marketing
tactics such as ‘mail-shots’ or ‘cold-calling’. We use freely given donations from our
members and supporters for direct action campaigns.
Sea Shepherd also has active major campaigns for Dolphins, Seals, Sharks, Turtles,
and many other endangered marine animals across the world. How can you find out
more? How can you support us and volunteer? - Visit our website at: