“Our clients are whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, seabirds, and fish. We represent their interests.”
Global milestones in marine wildlife protection were commemorated on June 10 in Los Angeles at the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s 40th Anniversary Gala for the Oceans. Sea Shepherd is known for its direct-action approach to exposing and confronting illegal activities on the high seas through investigation, documentation and intervention. Incorporated in Oregon in 1981, the organization originated four years earlier when the Earth Force Society was formed in Vancouver, Canada. With the same mandate of ocean conservation and marine mammal protection, both groups were founded by Captain Paul Watson, well known to viewers of Animal Planet’s Whale Wars TV series.
From its initial focus on stopping illegal whaling and sealing operations, Sea Shepherd has expanded its efforts to protect all marine wildlife. Starting with just one ship in 1978, the Sea Shepherd, the Society’s inaugural missions disrupted harp seal hunting on the ice floes in Eastern Canada, and disabled a notorious pirate whaling ship off the coast of Portugal.
Having since launched more than 200 ocean voyages in all parts of the world, Sea Shepherd currently operates nine ships and works with many governments to help enforce applicable laws. These endeavors can be difficult, if not dangerous, and often front-page news.
Sea Shepherd is sometimes accused of being ethnically prejudiced against the perpetrators of marine crimes. The organization has been called anti-Canadian for opposing the slaughter of seals, anti-Scandinavian for its stance on illegal whaling and anti-Latino for opposing illegal shark finning operations in South America. In response, Sea Shepherd’s Equality Statement rejects the notion of being “anti-any nationality or culture.” Instead, it is pro-ocean and only opposes criminals and criminal operations that violate international conservation law.
“Sea Shepherd operates outside the petty cultural chauvinism of the human species,” the statement reads. “Our clients are whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, seabirds, and fish. We represent their interests.”
Sea Shepherd remains headed by the Canadian activist who started it all, Captain Paul Watson, President and Executive Director. In our feature article, Captain Watson reflects on the obstacles and setbacks Sea Shepherd has encountered doing its marine protection work in Costa Rica.
Behind the Green Mask – Cocaine and Shark Fins, Corruption and Costa Rica
Unfortunately, our partnership with Costa Rica stopped before it even had a chance to begin.
Our film evidence proved in court that their accusations of attempted murder and assault were ridiculous.
Howler Conversation with John Paul DeJoria
Sea Shepherd is one of many important causes championed by entrepreneur-philanthropist John Paul DeJoria. The self-made billionaire, who co-founded the Paul Mitchell hair care and Patrón tequila brands, recently spoke with Howler Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, John Quam. Below are excerpts from the telephone interview.