Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Despite all of the drama surrounding the confrontations between the Japanese whalers and Sea Shepherd, we must never lose sight of the focus of this campaign.

Our objective is to end illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

Drama serves to put issues into the spotlight but should never take the spotlight away from the issues.

The Japanese continually try to distract from the issue with their ridiculous charges of eco-terrorism and condemnation of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Of course Japan condemns 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.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) last week condemned the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for protecting whales. It does not mean much. Last year the IWC condemned Japan for illegal whaling in the waters of Antarctica. The Japanese did not take heed of the IWC condemnation nor will Sea Shepherd.

Talk has been going back and forth about Japan laying charges against Sea Shepherd or Sea Shepherd laying charges against Japan. It's all talk. Sea Shepherd did not injure anyone nor did we damage any property. We simply harassed and chased an illegal whaling operation and prevented them from taking half their illegal quota. And it is pointless for Sea Shepherd to lay charges against the Japanese whalers because it will simply go nowhere.

Last year when Japan claimed that Sea Shepherd rammed their whaling vessel Keiko Maru and Sea Shepherd claimed that it was the Keiko Maru that rammed the Robert Hunter, a forensic investigation team from the Australian Federal Police spent days on the Robert Hunter gathering evidence. Nothing more was heard about the case.

The fact is that ships not registered in Australia have been in confrontation in waters off the coast of Australia which Australia claims but which Japan does not recognize as an Australian claim. The situation involves numerous nationalities. Sea Shepherd did not damage any property or injure any person. Armed Japanese Coast Guard were in Australian waters without permission of the Australian government and in violation of the Antarctic Treaty over an issue that involves Japanese violations of an Australian Federal Court order prohibiting whaling in the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone and in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the regulations of the International Whaling Commission. It is a jurisdictional nightmare involving international law, Australian law, Japanese law etc.

Any attempts to bring charges on either side would take up millions of dollars of tax payer's money and in the end would resolve absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile, there just may be a solution to ending illegal whaling in the Southern Oceans.

Discussions are taking place within the IWC on a deal put forward by the United States that would end Japanese "research" whaling in the Southern Ocean.

The plans were drawn up at a meeting in February by the governments of Argentina and the Netherlands, but given support in-principle only last week in London at a closed door three-day meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

The plans call for the IWC to give Japan a legal commercial hunt in the North Pacific in waters close to Japan.

This would mean a legal kill of 150 Minke or what we call Piked whales.

In exchange the Japanese would abandon their so called "research" in the waters of the Southern Ocean.

Although the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is opposed to all whaling in principle, Sea Shepherd activities are directed against illegal operations. This means that Sea Shepherd would not send ships to oppose an IWC legally sanctioned whale hunt off of Japan.

It would mean that a thousand whales a year would be spared from a horrific death from Japanese harpoons in the Southern Ocean. It would also mean that the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary would in fact be a Sanctuary and not just a sanctuary in name only.

Britain has indicated it would back this compromise over the whaling near Japan's shores and not elsewhere, with the British seeing "playing for a draw" the best option with a win not possible.

This compromise would put an end to the annual confrontation in the waters of the Southern Oceans.

I would be relieved to not have to come down to these waters again to battle the Japanese whalers. But we will begin preparation to return and we will be ready to return if Japan refuses to accept this compromise. We must abolish whaling in the Southern Oceans Whale Sanctuary. We cannot retreat from this position.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has just completed its fourth annual campaign to the Southern Ocean. Campaigns in 2002/2003 and again in 2005/2006, 2006/2007, and 2007/2008 have seen Sea Shepherd returning each year stronger and more determined than the year before.

Our goal for next year is to secure a 3rd ship and to keep on the tail of the Japanese fleet from the beginning of the season until the end of the season. This year the Japanese whaling fleet did not even get half their quota. Our objective next year will be 100%.

Can we do it? Yes, given the support, two ships, our helicopter, and two dedicated and courageous crews of volunteers, we will be able to stop the whale killers before they kill again.

And if the Japanese decide to pull out and accept the compromise to leave the waters of the Southern Oceans in peace, then we will transfer our preparations and set our sights on targeting the continued illegal whaling operations off the coast of Norway.

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
Divina Guadalupe Beaked Whale Research Project
Divina Guadalupe Beaked Whale Research Project
**If you cannot see the captions on this video, just click on CC on the lower right corner of video settings on the video ** #Breaking #SeaShepherd helps scientists learn more about #rare Beaked whales! Did you know that Cuvier's Beaked whales hold the record for the deepest mammalian dive? Watch t...
Operation Milagro III Campaign Launch Video
Operation Milagro III Campaign Launch Video
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is returning to Mexico’s Gulf of California for Operation Milagro III to save the near extinct vaquita marina porpoise and the endangered totoaba bass. The M/V Farley Mowat is back on active duty with the M/V Sam Simon joining the Milagro campaign for the first ti...
Sea Shepherd Investigates Whale Corpse in Sea of Cortez
Sea Shepherd Investigates Whale Corpse in Sea of Cortez
The Farley Mowat Sea Shepherd crew is called out to investigate a dead Brydes whale in the Gulf of California on November 5th, 2016 while patrolling the vaquita refuge. To help the Sea Shepherd crew to continue its work in the Sea of Cortez, including protecting the near-extinct vaquita marina porpo...
Entanglement in the South
Entanglement in the South
Operation Guardian Angel - In and around Bahia de Los Angeles, in the Gulf of California, countless marine species are entrapped in nets with little or no hope of rescue. Rosalia Tellez works for CONANP, a department of the Mexican government that acts as park rangers to enforce laws and assist in ...
Good and Bad Days
Good and Bad Days
This video follows Sea Shepherd volunteers over the course of two days. The first day Sea Shepherd locates and removes a long line from the sea; fortunately no animals were caught in the net. However, the next day volunteers find a sea lion that has been caught and died in a fisherman's net.
Operation Virus Hunter Campaign Summary
Operation Virus Hunter Campaign Summary
Sea Shepherd campaign Operation Virus Hunter saw the vessel RV Martin Sheen under the leadership of Alexandra Morton, head up the coast of British Columbia Canada to expose open pen Atlantic salmon farms and the impact they are having on wild Pacific salmon and the the surrounding eco-systems.
Illegal Totoaba Nets
Illegal Totoaba Nets
This video follows Sea Shepherd volunteers through the process of locating, retrieving and disposing of illegal nets in the Gulf of California.
Discovering Alleged Wild Salmon Dead in Fish Farms
Discovering Alleged Wild Salmon Dead in Fish Farms
August 12th 2016: Early Thursday morning the R/V Martin Sheen assisted Melissa Willie, a band councilor of the Musgamagw Dza’wada’enuxw nation, in hand delivering a letter to three farms expressing the nations disapproval of the industry. Sea Shepherd crew alongside independent biologist Alexand...
The Grind of the Faroe Islands
The Grind of the Faroe Islands
Ross McCall travels to the Faroe Islands to explore the truths behind the centuries old tradition of the brutal Pilot Whale drives.
Operation Virus Hunter: A Salmon PSA with Pamela Anderson
Operation Virus Hunter: A Salmon PSA with Pamela Anderson
Sea Shepherd Chairman of the Board, actor/activist Pamela Anderson, cautions viewers about the dangers of eating farmed salmon.
Why Just One?  Indiegogo Video
Why Just One? Indiegogo Video
Support Sea Shepherd's documentary by sharing and backing our Indiegogo campaign here: http://bit.ly/1OfvER6
Milagro Summary - English
Milagro Summary - English
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Operation Milagro II has come to an end. Milagro is its campaign to fight the looming extinction of the vaquita porpoise, the most endangered marine mammal in the world. With an estimate of less than 100 surviving vaquita, Sea Shepherd ships the R/V Martin Sheen...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 15 - Good Bye
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 15 - Good Bye
Watch the crew of the Farley Mowat capture footage of illegal fishing activity with a night vision drone and pull up a totoaba net in the dead of night. This is the final vlog of Operation Milagro II!
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project is dedicated to collect samples from whales in the Gulf of California to measure levels of toxins in whales in order to determine the levels of toxins in the Gulf of California itself. Learn more at: www.seashepherd.org
Totoaba Poachers Caught on Camera
Totoaba Poachers Caught on Camera
Never before seen footage. Sea Shepherd catches critically endangered totoaba poacher in the act. The Sea Shepherd crew filmed these totoaba poachers as they were checking one of their illegal nets in the protected vaquita habitat. The vaquita porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal in the wor...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 14 - Saving Lives
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 14 - Saving Lives
Watch‬ the routine of our crew doing valuable work in the ‪Sea of Cortez‬. We have been very effective at removing illegal fishing gear from the ‪‎vaquita‬ porpoise's habitat. So much so, that now, most of the time we remove nets and lines that are mostly empty, our favorite thing to do....
Sea Shepherd finds 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks
Sea Shepherd finds 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks
The Sea Shepherd crew has found 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks in the month of march of 2016. The vaquita porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Learn more at: www.seashepherd.org/milagro2
Sea Shepherds finds a dead sample of the most endangered marine mammal in the world
Sea Shepherds finds a dead sample of the most endangered marine mammal in the world
While patrolling the waters of the upper Gulf of California the Sea Shepherd crew found a dead vaquita porpoise. The vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal in the whole world. The crew also found a Great White Shark caught in an illegal gillnet.
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 12 - This is Direct Action
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 12 - This is Direct Action
This week, the crew of ‪Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships The M/V Farley Mowat and The RV Martin Sheen find and retrieve an illegal totoaba bass long line from the critically endangered ‪vaquita porpoise habitat. The totoaba fish is also critically endangered. Watch all episodes at: http...
Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
Sea Shepherd crew rescued a whale entangled in an illegal totoaba gillnet in the Gulf of California. Sea Shepherd currently has two vessels in Mexico's Gulf of California on OPERATION MILAGRO. Our goal is to save the vaquita porpoises, the most endangered marine mammal. The vaquita are caught as a r...
Gregg Lowe on Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro
Gregg Lowe on Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro
You might know Gregg Lowe from X-Men: Days of Future Past, but now watch him explain Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro and understand why we must save the #VaquitaMarina - The most endangered cetacean in the world. Help us save the vaquita at: http://seashepherd.org/milagro2/donate-now/vaquita-appeal...
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.