My Sea Shepherd


 

The American Jurist Defends the Sea Shepherd Approach

November 3, 2004

The American Jurist Defends the Sea Shepherd Approach

Commentary by Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
 

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has sunk, rammed and blocked pirate fishing and whaling vessels for more than 25 years. In the process, it has saved hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, dolphins and fish without harming any humans. Hands down, Sea Shepherd's record beats almost any government land or sea law enforcement agency.- The American Jurist. November 1, 2004 

For years, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been enforcing international law on the high seas.  Since 1977, the Society has applied its efforts to investigating violations of international conservation law and applying the law against those who blatantly ignore these laws.

There are adequate laws in place already to protect marine habitats and species. We don't need to protest or lobby for more laws.  We simply need to enforce the laws that are presently on the books.

The problem is that there is a lack of political will on the part of governments to uphold international law.  One of the reasons for this is that governments are often in partnership with corporations that have and continue to exploit our oceans.

Because of this, Sea Shepherd actions over the years have been twisted by corporate public relations firms to represent us as criminals - as eco-terrorists, militants and even pirates.

The record of Sea Shepherd is unblemished by a single act of violence. Not one person has ever been injured from a Sea Shepherd intervention.  However, the interventions have resulted in the closure of hundreds of illegal activities around the world, from pirate whaling to over-fishing, from shark-fin poaching to the slaughter of seals and dolphins.

Sea Shepherd, armed only with cameras, courage and powerful intimidating ships, have dared to challenge modern day pirates, and we have done so on a shoe-string budget with crews of volunteers. 


Although Captain Watson is not a lawyer, he definitely understands client-centeredness. His clients are marine species. That is why he unapologetically shrugs off criticism of the sinking and ramming of illegal fishing and whaling ships.

"So what? We did not sink those ships for you ... We sank them for the whales. Find me one whale that disagrees with the action and we will no longer do such things."  - The American Jurist. November 1, 2004

Check out the complete article at the following link, or for your convenience, we have reproduced the article below in its entirety:

www.americanjurist.net/news/2004/11/09/Perspectives/21st-Century.Pirates-789042.shtml

21st Century Pirates
Sea Sheperd saves hundreds of thousands of creatures of the sea
By Andrea Gordon

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has sunk, rammed and blocked pirate fishing and whaling vessels for more than 25 years. In the process, it has saved hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, dolphins and fish without harming any humans. Hands down, Sea Shepherd's record beats almost any government land or sea law enforcement agency.

In 1979 and 1980, Sea Shepherd drew international attention when it rammed and destroyed the pirate whaling ship, Sierra. The Sierra had violated International Whaling Commission regulations for over ten years without any government intervention. Operating under the tight budget of a nonprofit organization, Sea Shepherd succeeded when wealthy and powerful governments failed to enforce international laws.

How can a non-profit organization legally interfere with fishing and sink pirate whaling ships? Sea Shepherd operates under the United Nations World Charter for Nature, which permits enforcement by individuals and NGO's.

In 1995, a Canadian court acquitted Captain Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd, of criminal charges when the court agreed his intervention was legal. Although Captain Watson has been arrested, he has never been convicted of a crime because, he says, "I don't break laws, I uphold them."

Enforcement and regulation of international waters and marine life has been spotty at best. The law has traditionally treated oceans as a global common resource that can be used by all nations. Defining boundaries and the complexity of threats to marine life has created problems for the enforcement of international waters. Oceans support a dizzying diversity of marine life. This diversity hangs in a precarious balance and its greatest threat is humans. Overfishing, pollution and particularly destructive fishing methods such as deep sea trawling have devastated marine life. In 1998, only a quarter of marine fish populations were not fully exploited or depleted.

Although whale populations are now a fraction of what they were only a couple hundred of years ago, whaling for "scientific research" is still permitted.

For example, the Institute of Cetaceous Research in Japan supposedly needs around 1,000 minke whales annually for DNA research, but whale meat sales account for $35 million, or 60% of the institute's budget.

Sea Shepherd's tactics should serve as a model for other nonprofit organizations. Sea Shepherd uses a combination of legal, direct action and specialized campaigns, coupled with celebrity and media support. Pierce Brosnan, Martin Sheen, William Shatner and Richard Dean Anderson are among a few of the celebrities who support the Sea Shepherd Conversation Society.

Captain Watson commented, "How can we fail when we have James Bond, Captain Kirk, the President of the United States and McGyver?"

Finally, Sea Shepherd takes international volunteer crew members to empower people with the firsthand knowledge that individuals are the ones who make the difference.

The ultimate origin of the destruction of sea life is the consumer. Regardless of whether the obliteration of marine life comes from legal or illegal fishing, these practices will exist as long as we create the market by consuming marine life and using products made from whales and seals.

Although Captain Watson is not a lawyer, he definitely understands client-centeredness. His clients are marine species. That is why he unapologetically shrugs off criticism of the sinking and ramming of illegal fishing and whaling ships.

"So what? We did not sink those ships for you ... We sank them for the whales. Find me one whale that disagrees with the action and we will no longer do such things." 


 

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