news_081103_1_1_Scott_WestThe Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is pleased to announce the hiring of a criminal investigator with impeccable credentials to head up its investigations into international illegal activities that exploit marine species and habitats. Scott West, 50, has taken early retirement as the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Criminal Investigation Division for the Seattle Area Office of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). West also served as the Special Agent-in-Charge of the EPA Criminal Investigation Division Area Offices in Washington, DC and San Francisco.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome Scott West onboard with us," said Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. "Scott brings to Sea Shepherd a much needed expertise in criminal investigation that we need in our efforts to intervene against illegal whaling, poaching, and outlaw fishing activities."

Mr. West will head up the Sea Shepherd Department of Intelligence and Investigations. Sea Shepherd is involved internationally in opposing illegal shark finning, illegal whaling, and longline fishing and is working in partnership with the Ecuadorian National Police and the Galapagos National Park to oppose poaching in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

West has been a Sea Shepherd member for more than 20 years. With escalating illegal shark finning operations, longline poaching, dolphin killing and capturing and outlaw whaling activities, Sea Shepherd believes that bringing Mr. West onboard will help address these issues in a more professional and efficient manner. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not a protest organization. Captain Paul Watson established the group for the purpose of investigation and enforcement of international conservation law. The organization operates in accordance to the principles established in the United Nations World Charter for Nature. West has been a U.S. Federal Agent for over 21 years; two years with the U.S. Customs Service and 19 years with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sea Shepherd does the work that world governments lack the economic and political will to do, i.e. upholding international conservation law in areas beyond national jurisdictions. Over the last few years Sea Shepherd has been joined by former Australian Minister of the Environment and Senator Ian Campbell and the former Vice-chairman of the International Whaling Commission, Horst Klienschmidt of South Africa. Both Mr. Campbell and Mr. Klienschmidt believe that governments are not solving these urgent conservation issues and that the Sea Shepherd policy of direct intervention is one of the few approaches that actually saves whales and efficiently intervenes with outlaw whalers.

Without the restrictions of bureaucracy and special interests, Sea Shepherd believes that West will be able to perform much more efficiently in shutting down criminal operations than he was able to do with the EPA. After retiring this last week from the EPA, Mr. West had only one request of Captain Watson and the Board of Directors of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. It was a simple, "put me to work."

Captain Watson replied, "We have much to do and the oceans need your help. Welcome aboard Scott."

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