Dr. Sidney HoltDr. Sidney Holt
Photo: Tim Holt
One of the most influential marine biologists of all time, British fisheries scientist Dr. Sidney Holt, goes on record about Sea Shepherd's effectiveness and Japan's blatant disregard of laws and the whaling moratorium.

"Yes there was a tradition of whaling in Japan, as there was in many other countries, but traditions change. We used to torture animals for fun but we don't do it anymore. Let's be clear: it's about money, nothing else. It's not about nutrition, it's not about tradition…it's about money. And that's why I think Sea Shepherd's actions, which is attacking them on the money side of it, are very praiseworthy,” said Dr. Holt.

Although he has maintained long-time relations with several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that consistently oppose commercial whaling, he is praising Sea Shepherd in particular because they “aren't afraid to speak out against cruelty to, and mistreatment of, sentient non-human beings, and more than any other NGO, is clear about the fact that commercial whaling, especially that by Japan in the guise of scientific research, is driven solely by business/financial considerations and is best opposed through disrupting those imperatives, both on the supply and the demand sides.”

Dr. Holt is best known for his book, On the Dynamics of Exploited Fish Populations, which he co-published in 1957. Even today, the book is a cornerstone of modern fisheries science. Dr. Holt's career highlights and credentials include serving with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and with other UN agencies for a quarter of a century. After his retirement in 1979, Holt has remained active in work related to the International Whaling Commission and general conservation of whales, also publishing his views about whaling and fisheries management in academic journals. It's thanks in part to his advice that led to huge catch reductions and the eventual cease of the killing of most baleen whale species by the late 1960s, which is why he's earned the moniker of “savior of the great whales.”

He originally approached Sea Shepherd's founder Captain Paul Watson about becoming involved with the marine conservation non-profit because he was “impressed by the clarity and unambiguity with which Captain Paul Watson expresses his views and defines the Sea Shepherd strategy.” He also applauds the dedication and bravery of those who crew the Sea Shepherd ships. Dr. Holt added, “I tend to always support those who try to persuade or even force governments and other 'authorities' to honor the commitments they have made to international agreements rather than merely by paying lip-service to them.”

Well into his retirement, Dr. Holt hasn't stopped fighting for the protection of whales, helping contribute to the general indefinite moratorium on all commercial whaling, coming into effect in 1986 and working with the French government, amongst other governments and NGOs, to achieve the declaration of the entire Southern Ocean as a sanctuary for whales in 1994 (which Sea Shepherd has been trying to enforce and protect during their nine Antarctic Whale Defense campaigns).

Dr. Holt is now reengaged in fisheries research and management and serves on Sea Shepherd's Board of Advisors.

“Sea Shepherd's work has a spiritual effect on people. Everywhere I go, people say what Sea Shepherd is doing is great,” said Dr. Holt. He added: “People say it's about time we stop passing resolutions and actually DO something - Sea Shepherd is doing that.”

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