A Thank-You Message from Captain Watson
We did it!
From both a medium- and long-term perspective, Japan should improve its protection of marine resources to a level meeting international standards. Japan has come under mounting criticism from the international community not only over its whaling program but also over tuna fishing. In order to avoid unjustifiable criticism from overseas, Japan should improve its whole policy on marine resource protection.
-- The Mainichi Daily News
Today we celebrate with you a victory for the oceans! Sea Shepherd has turned the tide and provoked a debate in Japan about whaling.
Five years ago the average Japanese citizen gave little thought to Japan's whaling program in the Southern Ocean. Nor did they think much about the slaughter of the dolphins in Taiji or the fact that Japanese demand for bluefin tuna has brought this species to the brink of extinction.
Sea Shepherd has changed all that through years of patient, focused, and determined actions to defend marine species from plankton to the great whales.
Our approach is unique. Aggressive but without causing bodily harm to our opponents. Effective, without breaking the law. We enforce the law. And this week we demonstrated that our brand of activism works.
This week, we drove the entire Japanese whaling fleet from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. They are on their way home!
But we did not do it alone. We did it with you! Sea Shepherd is more than the ships and crew that operate them.
Yes, the crew is important - men and women from around the world from all walks of life who volunteer their time and skills and risk their lives to defend life in the seas. They are, of course, a very important reason for the success of our missions. They are the people who directly confront the killers on the high seas. It is their passion that makes Sea Shepherd all that we can be.
The crew on the ships could not function without our onshore crew, who make up our office staff and our many shore-based volunteers. Our onshore crewmembers are in a very real sense just as important as those who go to sea. They make budgets, answer phones, process donations, conduct legal research, respond to media inquiries, create merchandise, organize benefits like bake sales and art auctions, man information tables, prepare the ships in port, solicit donations of food and services for the ships--and so much more.
But, the foundation of what we are and what we do lies firmly upon the shoulders of our supporters from all around the world. Your financial backing puts the resources into our hands that feed our crew, put gas in the tank and paint on our hull, keep our engines running, and our safety and navigational requirements in tip top shape.
It is this trinity of sea crew, onshore crew, and financial support crew that keeps Sea Shepherd at sea and keeps the harpoons away from the whales, the clubs away from the seals, the longlines and driftnets away from the fish, turtles, and sharks, and the knives away from the dolphins.
Sea Shepherd is all of us who care about our oceans and are willing to stand up and ACT, in whatever way we are able, in defense of the wondrous diversity of life in our fragile oceans.
We are all Shepherds of the Sea and those who are not should be, because the stark reality is that if our oceans die, we die! Together we fight not just for the whales, sharks, seals, sea-birds, turtles, and fish, together we fight for our own survival.
Together we are a force for good, a force for change, a force for ecological sanity, and a force to be reckoned with!
We will be honored if you would continue to stand with us as we imminently face battles on other fronts - bluefin tuna overfishing in the Mediterranean, pilot whale slaughter in the Faeroes, dolphin killing in Taiji, poaching in the Galapagos, and more.
To all the Shepherds of the Sea that made it possible for us to drive the whale killers from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, I think I can speak for all the citizens of the sea in saying "Thank-you."