Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
On Board the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin

This article was published on February 21st in the Japanese language newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun. Captain Paul Watson responds to the misinformation in the story.


Police fear green groups will target G-8 summit

Yomiuri Shimbun: The police are becoming increasingly concerned that environmental and anti-globalization groups from the United States and Europe may try to disrupt July's Group of Eight summit meeting in Toyakocho, Hokkaido.

Captain Paul Watson: The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society does not organize street protests and Sea Shepherd has no plans to disrupt the Group of Eight Summit meeting in Japan to be held in July. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is simply concerned with opposing Japan's illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean and Japan's cruel and illegal slaughter of dolphins in Taiji and other locations in Japan.

Yomiuri Shimbun: The concern comes as green groups turn to increasingly radical tactics. On Jan. 15, two members of the U.S.-based environmental group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society were seized by crew members after they boarded the whaling ship Yushin Maru No.2, part of Japan's Antarctic whaling fleet, in an attempt to stop it operating by handing a letter of protest to the crew. Two days later, the activists, a 28-year-old Australian and a 35-year-old Briton, were handed over to the Australian government, which had acted as a mediator. However, the Sea Shepherd vessel continued to harass the Yushin Maru No.2, doing things such as throwing chemicals at it, and broadcast all such activities live via the Internet.

Captain Paul Watson: It is interesting that boarding an illegally operated whaling ship inside the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to notify the Captain of an Australian court order prohibiting whaling in the Sanctuary is described as an "increasingly radical tactic." The reference to chemicals is misleading. What Sea Shepherd crew did was throw stink bombs composed of rancid butter onto the ship. The chemical name for rotten butter is Butyric Acid which allows the Japanese to put the misleading spin on it to suggest that "acid" was tossed on the ship suggesting of course the lethal types of acid like sulfuric acid.

Yomiuri Shimbun: Media in Australia and New Zealand, both known as anti-whaling countries, repeatedly featured the group's protest activities, and many supporters of the group welcomed the protest ship when it made a port call in Melbourne.

Captain Paul Watson: Perhaps the Japanese media is suggesting that there is a conspiracy in Australia to oppose illegal Japanese whaling. They refer to both Australia and New Zealand as "known anti-whaling countries" as if suggesting that anti-whaling is a form of terrorist activity in itself. The story was also well covered in the Japanese media which is not anti-whaling.

Yomiuri Shimbun: Following the clashes over whaling, Sea Shepherd ship Capt. Paul Watson said in a telephone interview that the group would continue its activities. He described the boarding of the Yushin Maru as a great success.

Sea Shepherd started its attempts to disrupt whaling in the 1990s. In November 2003, two members of the group were arrested on suspicion of forcible disruption of business for destroying a net used for whaling in Taijicho, Wakayama Prefecture.

Captain Paul Watson: They were in fact arrested for releasing and saving the lives of 15 dolphins held behind the nets and set to be slaughtered that afternoon. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has no regrets or apologies for saving the lives of these 15 dolphins. The campaign in January 2008 was a great success, the whaling ships were stopped from killing whales for over three weeks.

Yomiuri Shimbun: Despite the arrests, Sea Shepherd has continued dangerous protest activities, such as using ropes to foul whaling ships' propellers, saying Japan was committing a crime by violating international rules on whaling.

Captain Paul Watson: Accusing Japan of committing crimes by killing endangered whales in a Whale Sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on whaling is hardly a dangerous protest.

Yomiuri Shimbun: In the same telephone interview, Watson said the response to the latest incident helped the international community recognize Japan's whaling as a problem.

Captain Paul Watson: This is very true.

Yomiuri Shimbun: Meanwhile, an official at the Fisheries Agency said: "They won't hesitate to do anything to achieve their goals. In that sense, I think they are the same as terrorists."

Captain Paul Watson: Japanese whaling ships have rammed our ships. Japanese whalers held two of my crew hostage for three days and issued demands in return for their release. This is a blatant terrorist tactic. Yet the spokesperson for the whalers states that we will do "anything" to achieve our goals. Of course this is not true.

Sea Shepherd has a primary policy of not causing physical injury to any persons we oppose and we have never caused a single injury in the three decade history of our operations.

Yomiuri Shimbun: The Japanese police have become increasingly concerned by the behavior of such groups.

Captain Paul Watson: International environmental organizations are becoming increasingly concerned about the increasing ecological crimes carried out by Japanese corporations and condoned by the Japanese government.

Yomiuri Shimbun: Before the G-8 summit meeting at Toyakocho, Hokkaido, many important international conferences and meetings will be held in this country. Recently, some environmental groups based in the United States or Europe have started to work together with anti-globalization groups, which oppose the economic system led by the major developed countries, and have been taking increasingly radical measures at venues for summits and other meetings, sometimes resulting in clashes with police.

Captain Paul Watson: The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's mission is to intervene against illegal activity, not to clash with police. In fact the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society works in partnership with policing agencies on a regular basis to oppose poaching operations.

Yomiuri Shimbun: If the Japanese police allow such groups to obstruct meetings, it might give the international community the impression that they are unable or unwilling to prevent trouble.

Captain Paul Watson: I think the international community is very much aware that Japan willfully violates international conservation law by unlawfully whaling and engaging in fish poaching operations worldwide.

Yomiuri Shimbun: For this reason, the Public Safety Bureau of the Metropolitan Police Department has begun investigating charges that Sea Shepherd activists in February 2007 attacked the Japanese whaler Nisshin Maru by throwing a bottle containing chemicals at it and other means. The attack reportedly resulted in two crewmen of the 8,030-ton ship suffering minor injuries, and the police are trying to build a case for a charge of assault or forcible disruption of business.

Captain Paul Watson: Two crewmembers were not injured. This was a spin put on the story by the Japanese P.R. firms a day after Sea Shepherd crewmembers tossed rotten butter stink bombs onboard the Nisshin Maru. Rotten butter smells horrible but it does not cause injuries. The Japanese police have not been in contact with myself, or anyone with Sea Shepherd, over this incident.

The Australian government is collecting evidence to be used in establishing a court case against Japan for illegal whaling operations.

Yomiuri Shimbun: Following a request from the owners of the Nisshin Maru, investigators have been looking into the incident and have inspected the ship for damage.

Captain Paul Watson: It will be difficult to find damage caused by rotten butter but I'm sure they will do their best to try. The Japanese whalers refused to cooperate with the investigation by the Australian Federal Police concerning the ramming of the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter by the Japanese whaling ship Kaiko Maru in February 2007.

(Feb. 21, 2008)
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080221TDY04303.htm

Sea Shepherd
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 11 - Big Fish
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 11 - Big Fish
This week the crew of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships The Farley Mowat and The Martin Sheen find and retrieve an illegal totoaba bass net from the critically endangered vaquita marina's habitat Watch all episodes at: http://www.seashepherd.org/milagro2/multimedia/videos.html ‪#‎OpMilag...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 10 - Light up the Dark
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 10 - Light up the Dark
Actor Gregg Lowe crews with Sea Shepherd to help us protect the vaquita. The M/V Farley Mowat lights up the vaquita refuge and deters poacher from laying deadly nets in the vaquita marina's habitat. Watch all episodes at: http://seashepherd.org/milagro2/multimedia
Sea Shepherd Wildlife - False Killer Whales
Sea Shepherd Wildlife - False Killer Whales
The first video of our new series "Sea Shepherd Wildlife". This episode is about one of the lesser know large dolphins - The False Killer Whales. Learn more about these beautiful creatures with the Sea Shepherd crew. Share it with your friends. Video by Carolina A. Castro Narration by Nicole D'Entr...
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat.
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 05 - Gillnet Damage
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 05 - Gillnet Damage
Join the crew of the R/V Martin Sheen as they witness the damage a gillnet can cause to marine wildlife while patrolling the endangered vaquita's refuge in Mexico.
From Taiji to Tanks: A Look at the Barren Lives of Captive Dolphins
From Taiji to Tanks: A Look at the Barren Lives of Captive Dolphins
In November 2015, Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians observed the captive cetaceans at Japan's Adventure World.Though this marine park has dolphins from Taiji, the suffering behind cetacean captivity looks much the same around the world. To learn how you can support Operation Henkaku and help us break t...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 03 - Sailing with Dolphins
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 03 - Sailing with Dolphins
The crew of Sea Shepherd's research sailing vessel, the R/V Martin Sheen, sails in search of the smallest cetacean in the world, the endangered vaquita marina porpoise.
M/V Farley Mowat Crew Prepares for Operation Milagro II
M/V Farley Mowat Crew Prepares for Operation Milagro II
Join the crew of the M/V Farley Mowat as they prepare the ship to embark on its maiden Sea Shepherd campaign - Operation Milagro II, Fall 2015 Vaquita Porpoise Defense Campaign. With an estimated 97 individuals remaining, the endangered vaquita is facing the very real threat of extinction. Please ...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 01 - Turtle Rescue
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 01 - Turtle Rescue
The Vlog from the Gulf of California 01 - Turtle Rescue. Follow the crew of the Research Vessel, the R/V Martin Sheen, as they patrol the upper Gulf of California in Mexico - to protect the most endangered marine mammal in the world, the vaquita marina porpoise.
Taiji, Japan - Pilot whale tethered and drowned
Taiji, Japan - Pilot whale tethered and drowned
A wounded pilot whale, visibly bleeding and barely able to stay above the surface of the water, is tethered and drowned in the cove by Taiji's killers, after briefly escaping from under the tarps where its pod is being slaughtered.
Operation Milagro II Vaquita Defense Campaign
Operation Milagro II Vaquita Defense Campaign
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society returns to Mexico to protect the critically endangered vaquita marina in the only waters on Earth this petite porpoise calls home. Working in partnership with the Mexican government, Sea Shepherd will strive to bring about a miracle for the endangered vaquita before...
Sea Shepherd Central America Goodwill Campaign for the Pacific
Sea Shepherd Central America Goodwill Campaign for the Pacific
A look at Sea Shepherd Central America's journey of research and observation to Cocos Island, a world-renowned marine sanctuary located 350 miles offshore. The goal of the goodwill campaign is to promote awareness for the protection of species that inhabit the Central Pacific.
Gregg Lowe Supports Sea Shepherd
Gregg Lowe Supports Sea Shepherd
Actor Gregg Lowe, star of "X-Men: Days of Future Past," discusses the importance of Sea Shepherd's work to protect the oceans, why he is vegan for the planet and for all species, and his desire to join a Sea Shepherd campaign to defend ocean wildlife on the frontlines. Video by: Reece Pickering
Operation Henkaku 2015 Dolphin Defense Campaign
Operation Henkaku 2015 Dolphin Defense Campaign
Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians are gearing up for the sixth season of our Taiji Dolphin Defense Campaign. As we return to the cove to expose the brutal capture and slaughter of dolphins and small whales, stand with us! The dolphins need you! To volunteer as a Cove Guardian, please email groundcrew@s...
12 Defendants, One Movement. Warning Graphic Footage.
12 Defendants, One Movement. Warning Graphic Footage.
“We were one small boat and five bodies against 500 people on the beach and 50 boats pushing…but there’s no reason not to fight.” On August 12, 61 pilot whales were slaughtered on the killing beach of Sandavágur in the Faroe Islands. With the odds stacked against them, in the face of adve...
Operation Jairo Crew Protect Nesting Leatherback Turtle
Operation Jairo Crew Protect Nesting Leatherback Turtle
Just feet from where they were attacked not a month before, Sea Shepherd's Operation Jairo volunteers defend a nesting leatherback turtle from poachers on Pacuare Beach in Costa Rica. All 63 eggs are now being protected in a hatchery, where they will have the best chance of survival out of the hands...
#StandUp250 Corsica (France) - Xavier Figarella
#StandUp250 Corsica (France) - Xavier Figarella
"They asked me, 'do you want cuffs' and I said 'Yes, it's better.' Because inside it was like an explosion.” Xavier is one of 7 Sea Shepherd crewmembers arrested in the Faroe Islands since July 20. Their 'crime'? Defending pilot whales from slaughter. For more information on how you can #StandUp...
Meet the Crew: Operation Jairo – Honduras
Meet the Crew: Operation Jairo – Honduras
Meet some of the Sea Shepherd volunteers in Honduras for Operation Jairo, Sea Shepherd's 2015 Sea Turtle Defense Campaign! The crew hails from all over the world, from countries including the United States, Australia, Norway, and France. These volunteers work tirelessly to patrol the beaches in Hond...
#StandUp250 Italy - Marianna Baldo
#StandUp250 Italy - Marianna Baldo
“In the same way that they think they …. have the right to kill these animals, that are wild animals, I have exactly the same right to save them.” Marianna is one of 7 Sea Shepherd crewmembers arrested in the Faroe Islands since July 20. Their 'crime'? Defending pilot whales from slaughter. ...
The Trial Begins
The Trial Begins
Video update from Tórshavn court this morning as five Sea Shepherd crewmembers stand trial for StandingUp for the pilot whales of the Faroe Islands. Take action: http://www.seashepherd.org/standup250
Denmark's Shame
Denmark's Shame
The slaughter of cetaceans is outlawed throughout the European Union, including Denmark, in accordance with Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). However, in the Faroe Islands, the slaughter of pilot whales and other small ce...
#StandUp250 Belgium - Christophe Bondue
#StandUp250 Belgium - Christophe Bondue
"We're just here ... to try to save lives." Christophe is one of 7 Sea Shepherd crewmembers arrested in the Faroe Islands since July 20. Their 'crime'? Defending pilot whales from slaughter. For more information on how you can #StandUp250 for the pilot whales of the Faroe Islands, and for Sea Shephe...
#StandUp250 South Africa - Rosie Kunneke
#StandUp250 South Africa - Rosie Kunneke
"Calling something a tradition doesn't make it right. I grew up in the tradition of apartheid and we begged the world to come and help us; to get rid of that ugliness." Rosie is one of 7 Sea Shepherd crewmembers arrested in the Faroe Islands since July 20. Their 'crime'? Defending pilot whales from...
Mass Slaughter Of Pilot Whales In The Faroe Islands. WARNING. GRAPHIC
Mass Slaughter Of Pilot Whales In The Faroe Islands. WARNING. GRAPHIC
WARNING: GRAPHIC. Mass Slaughter Of Pilot Whales In The Faroe Islands. Sea Shepherd Crew Arrested. On July 23 2015, approximately 250 pilot whales were slaughtered on the killing beaches of the Faroe Islands. The slaughters, known by the traditional Faroese term ‘grindadráp, took place in two se...
Meet the Crew: Operation Jairo – Costa Rica
Meet the Crew: Operation Jairo – Costa Rica
Meet the team of dedicated volunteers working to protect nesting turtles and their hatchlings on the shores of Costa Rica as part of Operation Jairo, Sea Shepherd’s 2015 Sea Turtle Defense Campaign. This international crew includes volunteers from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, th...