As the person in charge of organizing Operation No Compromise for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, I have the responsibility of preparing three ships, a helicopter, and nearly a hundred crewmembers for a four month voyage to one of the most remote and hostile regions of the planet.

This involves more than a few tough decisions from selecting crewmembers to preparing tactics. It involves organizing supplies and equipment, fuel and resources, ground support, and logistical support.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a small organization but we are able to do what we do with a small staff because we have dedicated, committed, and determined volunteers, most of them unsung and behind the scenes, but every single one of them prepared to selflessly work hard, long hours in extreme weather and sea conditions.

It is these volunteers who are and always have been the strength of this organization. When critics ridicule that my crew are for the most part inexperienced non-professional sailors, I can only say that I could not pay professional seamen to take the risks that my volunteers take, nor could professionals ever achieve what these men and women from around the world are able to achieve.

Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton was also once criticized for having non-professionals on his crew. His answer was, "I need men of passion to get me where I need to go."

And Sea Shepherd needs men and women of passion to work with us to defend the whales.

When critics say that it is dangerous to put to sea and to drive our ships through storms and ice to defend the whales with my crew, I can only reflect that since 1977 in over 300 voyages I have not lost a single crewmember to an accident at sea nor have I had a single crewmember suffer a serious injury.

In the six voyages we have made to the Southern Ocean we have not injured any of the whalers nor have any of our crew been seriously injured aside from a few cuts, bruises, and scrapes. We have not had an oil spill or an onboard fire.

Yet on the whaling ships crewed by professionals there have been three deaths and numerous serious injuries. They have had oil spills and two catastrophic fires. Obviously professionalism does not equate with safety.

December 2nd will be my 60th birthday. That is the day we will also depart from Tasmania on Operation No Compromise.

When people ask me what I intend to do when I retire my answer is that I never intend to retire. This is not a job for me, this is my life and you don't retire from life until the day you die.

My deep commitment to the whales goes back to June 1975 when I was 24. It was off the coast of California where Bob Hunter and I became the first people ever to get between a harpoon and the whales when we intervened against the Soviet whaling fleet.

A harpoon was fired over our heads striking a female in a pod of eight Sperm whales. She screamed and the largest whale in the pod, a big male, slapped the water with his tail and dove. He swam under us and came up out of the water behind us to attack the Soviet whaler to defend his pod.

But they were waiting for him with an unattached harpoon and fired point blank into the whale's head and the whale screamed in pain and fell back into a sea quickly turning red with blood. And as he rolled in agony on the surface, I caught his eye and he dove and I saw a trail of bloody bubbles coming towards me.

Suddenly his head broke the surface and he rose up out of the water at an angle towering above us and as his head rose, dripping with blood, I looked into an eye, an eye the size of my fist, and what I saw there put me on the road I remain on to this day. I saw understanding. That whale understood what we were trying to do and I could see his muscles tense up as he pulled himself back and his head sank back into the sea. I watched his eye disappear beneath the surface and he died.

He spared our lives. He could have killed us but he let us live, and I owe my life to that whale.

And I saw something else in that eye that day. I saw pity, not for himself, but for us, that we as a species could kill so thoughtlessly, so remorselessly and for what? The Russians were killing Sperm whales for Spermacetti oil because it was an excellent oil for lubricating machinery, and one of the uses was to employ it in the production of inter-continental ballistic missiles.

And there as the sun was setting along side the now floating body of such an amazing creature a thought struck me so poignantly that I felt a shiver go down my spine. We must be insane as a species.

And it was on that day that I decided that I had to do what I do for the whales. And I have been defending whales and other marine species now for thirty-five years.

I will continue to do so until the day I die.

And over the years I have seen many men and women come and go. Most come in burning with passion and then grow cold quickly and disappear. Others, far fewer unfortunately, come in with a steady fire and remain constant with their passion.

Both contribute in their own ways because the movement needs the hot-tempered individuals who storm the walls in battles and then retire afterwards, and it needs the strategists who carry on the prolonged struggle, year after year, without retreat or surrender.

In the movement to defend our oceans I have had the honour of meeting and knowing most of the men and woman who have stayed the course year after year without rest or complaint, who go from one battle to the next with a patience and a perseverance that enables them to do so.

These are people like Ric O'Barry, who I first sat down with to strategize in 1977. For Ric it was dolphins then and it is dolphins still. Ric will defend dolphins until the day he dies.

Hardy Jones who first went to Japan in 1978 to document the slaughter of dolphins and continues to champion dolphins to this day.

Sylvia Earle whose passion for the oceans has burned brightly for decades. Rebecca Aldworth and her enduring defence of the harp seals in Canada, and Francois Hugo's dedication for so many years to defending the Cape seals of Southern Africa. Terri Irwin and her late husband the incredible Steve Irwin.

And on land such people as Birute Galdikas and her lifelong dedication to Orangutans, Jane Goodall with chimps, and Diane Fossey with mountain gorillas.

It is this steady patient perseverance that I see in so many individuals like those mentioned that keeps me optimistic that we can ultimately make a difference.    

And this is especially so when I look at my crews. Many come and go, some for one campaign never to be seen again and a few who are always there, year after year, always returning.

And so it is once again this year that we take on new crew and welcome back our veterans.

Dave Nickarz leaves his job and his wife in Winnipeg and flies at his own expense to Australia to rejoin the Steve Irwin. He does this every year. Laura Dakin who came onboard in 2005 in Bermuda and is now our Chief Cook. Locky MacLean from Canada who joined as cook in 2001 with his wife Barbara from Brazil and is now a Sea Shepherd captain, as is Alex Cornelissen who joined in 2005 in the Galapagos. He is now Sea Shepherd 's director in the Galapagos and will return to captain the Bob Barker in December. Shannon Mann from Canada joined us in 2007 and is returning again this season, Lamya Essemlali from France who joined us in 2005 and is now President of Sea Shepherd France. Former U.S. marine Chris Aultman will once again return for his 6th Antarctic campaign as our helicopter pilot. Peter Hammarstedt from Sweden who came to us at 19 in 2005 and is now a Sea Shepherd First Officer. These passionate people are just the tip of the iceberg of the 4,000 crew that have served with Sea Shepherd on some 300 voyages since 1978 on ten different ships.   

I am sometimes simply awed by the drive and determination of these incredible people. They are what makes Sea Shepherd what it is - the most passionate, most active, most effective marine conservation organization in the world.

There is another side of Sea Shepherd that is unsung and that is the incredible support from the people around the world who invest in us with their donations. They are the people who literally keep us afloat and make it possible to do what we do.

This last year has seen us do some incredible things: We cut the Japanese whale kill quota in half, we intervened against the illegal bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean where we freed 800 of the giant fish from a poacher's net, we sent a crew to the Danish Faeroe Islands to defend pilot whales, we have a crew on the ground at Taiji, Japan to constantly monitor the Japanese dolphin killers, we are installing a one million Euro AIS surveillance system to protect the Galapagos Islands to deter poaching, and we are intervening against illegal fishing in Brazil.

Sea Shepherd is active all over the world and all of us who are involved from the crews of the ships to the supporters onshore are shepherd guardians of the citizens of the sea from the plankton to the great whales.

I am a Shepherd of the Sea and so are you, and so must we all be, because if we fail to defend our oceans and we lose the biodiversity that maintains the integrity of all oceanic eco-systems, the truth is that the oceans will die...and if the oceans die - we die!

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...