The Inertia Senior Contributor
Sea Shepherd Flag

Sea Shepherd is not increasing our knowledge of whaling; it is retarding it. Real activism that produces real change is difficult, boring, and doesn’t play well on hour-long, prime time spots on Animal Planet. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

The Inertia

There are a lot of problems affecting our oceans. Fishing stocks are dropping precipitously; radioactive isotopes are showing up in Pacific tuna, and…oh yes, there is a gyre of plastic bottles the size of Texas somewhere in the South Pacific.  The current cause célèbre of ocean conservation in the surfing world is the hunting of whales practiced by Norway, Japan, Iceland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and a few other smaller nations around the globe.  Our support tends to coalesce around two particular NGOs wherein there is considerable cross-pollination, both in their participants and their media presence. I refer to Surfers for Cetaceans, spearheaded by Dave Rastovich and the more widely famous Sea Shepherd.  If we really hope to stop the hunting of whales, which we should, we need to boycott Sea Shepherd and encourage Rastovich and his far more worthy organization to do the same.

Before I get into why Sea Shepherd is doing more to hurt the cause of ocean conservation than help, let’s take a brief look at the history of whaling.  The practice of hunting whales dates back to before the dawn of recorded history.  While the Basques were some of the most celebrated early whalers, evidence of the practice has been found in cultures all over the world.  In his enlightening book on the dire state of the world’s oceans, “The Unnatural History of the Sea,” British academic Callum Roberts called whaling the “first global industry.”  It is hard to pinpoint when whale stocks first started to be depleted unsustainably but their populations became seriously threatened because certain parts of the body of the whale played a key role in the Industrial Revolutions in North America and Europe.  Whale oil, in particular, powered lamps and literally greased the cogs of industry as a lubricant. When new types of oil were discovered and electricity replaced oil lamps, the need for whales as an industrial catalyst diminished. As Paul Greenberg mentions in his wonderful book, Four Fish, one of the inconvenient truths of the conservation movement is that whaling was only banned internationally after it was no longer commercially viable.

Today the harvesting of food and other materials from the sea is still a largely unregulated industry when compared to land-based environmental exploitation.  It is controlled by large corporations and wealthy investors on both the supply and demand sides.  We, as individuals, have very little power against such forces, so in order to effectively oppose them, we have to choose our paths and resources wisely.

Paul Watson and his organization, Sea Shepherd, are not a wise choice. In a March 2012 article in Nature, Christopher Costello and Steven Gaines from the University of California, point out that the international whaling industry makes no more than $31 million a year while major anti-whaling NGOs spend around $25 million.  What have whales gotten out of all this anti-whaling money?  Hunting rates that are twice as high as they were in 1990.  To break it down, there are roughly 1,000 whales a year taken by Japan (though Watson claims to have cut down that number, he apparently didn’t convince The Economist, which is the source of these numbers): 600 by Norway and Iceland, and 350 by native communities in Denmark, Russia, and the US. This amounts to roughly 2,000 whales a year.  I cite these number to remind you, that, as well as championing an important cause, Sea Shepherd is part of an industry – the conservation industry – and, based on those numbers, investing in the anti-whaling industry is not a sound strategy if you are hoping for valuable returns on your money.

Watson and Sea Shepherd do not only work to stop whale hunting. They also try to decrease blue-fin tuna fishing, shark-finning, and many other types of semi-regulated fishing. Their overarching cause is to protect marine reserves, like those in the Galapagos and Costa Rica, which is, of course a noble aim, but by working outside of governments and often alienating them, their efforts do very little on a large scale beside garnering PR for their organization. Watson embraces and likes to play up the “pirate” angle of his work.  In the past he has extolled the virtues of famous historical pirates including Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Drake, and Henry Morgan, claiming that the latter single handedly defeated piracy in the Caribbean. First, Drake was a sadist and slave trader. Second, Raleigh fought for the English in the brutal oppression of Irish Catholics in one of their innumerable wars that, if they had happened in our times, would be rightly called religious genocide. Finally, as if this even needs to be said: no, Henry Morgan did not single-handedly defeat anything. Piracy came to an end through a combination of economic, governmental and social factors.

What all these pirates all had in common, and indeed, what Watson shares with them is that they were all opportunists who took advantage of the power struggles of large, powerful nations for their own personal gain. They killed and plundered. Watson uses misleading media spectacles.  These spectacles fit with a larger ethos he espoused in his book, Earthforce! An Earth Warrior’s Guide to Strategy:

“The nature of the mass media today is such that the truth is irrelevant. What is true and what is right to the general public is what is defined as true and right by the mass media…A headline comment on Monday’s newspaper far outweighs the revelation of inaccuracy revealed in a small box inside the paper on Tuesday or Wednesday.”

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  • John Seaton Callahan

    Bravo – thank you Ted! I’ve long thought Mr Watson’s professional motivations were more about money and television ratings and that on a personal level he was a transparent, self-aggrandizing, racist fraud. 

    • TG

      Read Paul Watson’s post on the Facebook on 11 Mar 2011 few hours after tsunami killed 20K people in Japan claiming it was a punishment by Neptune a sea God. And read his supporters comments. I think their motivation is hatred and they do so to spread it by using a disguise. – naturally chose conservation as a mask.

  • norway

    haha, its so funny how americans and australians are against whaling. The only reson for this is that they don´t know anything about it. Opposing it has no impact on their personal food or economy. Take an american surfer as an example. He probably eats lots of chicken and meat that comes from farms with horrific living conditions. These animals suffer from the second they are born, but few americans ever talk about this. That is because to oppose it they would actually have to make changes in their own personal life, and it would affect their personal economy as well as their countries economy. But whaling is so distant, that anyone can say they oppose it and support animal rights, but still live go to mcdonalds and eat their burgers. If you truly think about it, whaling is one of the more animal friendly ways of gathering food. They live their lives completely free until the day they are hunted in a traditional way, not much different from how animals on land are hunted. For certain people it is also their most important source of food and/or income. So PLEASE, americans and australians, before you start talking crap about Norway, Iceland and Japan take a look in the mirror. Worry about your own country first, where you can actually make a difference. Opposing whaling is just a lazy and poor excuse for being an animal rights activist. And the whole argument that whales will go exctinct is just ridiculous, if anybody wants whales to stay around it is most certainly the people who make a living from them. 


  • norway

    haha, its so funny how americans and australians are against whaling. The only reson for this is that they don´t know anything about it. Opposing it has no impact on their personal food or economy. Take an american surfer as an example. He probably eats lots of chicken and meat that comes from farms with horrific living conditions. These animals suffer from the second they are born, but few americans ever talk about this. That is because to oppose it they would actually have to make changes in their own personal life, and it would affect their personal economy as well as their countries economy. But whaling is so distant, that anyone can say they oppose it and support animal rights, but still live go to mcdonalds and eat their burgers. If you truly think about it, whaling is one of the more animal friendly ways of gathering food. They live their lives completely free until the day they are hunted in a traditional way, not much different from how animals on land are hunted. For certain people it is also their most important source of food and/or income. So PLEASE, americans and australians, before you start talking crap about Norway, Iceland and Japan take a look in the mirror. Worry about your own country first, where you can actually make a difference. Opposing whaling is just a lazy and poor excuse for being an animal rights activist. And the whole argument that whales will go exctinct is just ridiculous, if anybody wants whales to stay around it is most certainly the people who make a living from them. 


    • Annaleslie

      LOVE YOUR OPENNING SENTECE YOU BIAS IDOIT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      i would like to ask you how your ennjoying your mercury filled meat, hopefully your kids do not end up mutated when they are born.   and yes american do talk about animal living conditions. how are the conditions for anamials on your country? better because i hope to god your right instead of being a hypocritial bias and mercury filled person who is going to be influencing there ideas on people who do not give a FLYINJG thing about it. and if whaling is animal friends i love to find out what your definition murder is.
      thank you

    • Teresa

      Touche!! Check out the Conklin Dairy Farm Video from Ohio, U.S.A. The animal cruelty in this video is unfathomable… yet the cars line up at the Mcdonalds Drive-thru and certain people chomp on their big fat burgers as they point the finger at whalers with derision. Likely the meat they eat with abundance comes from Dairy Farms just like ‘Conkin Dairy Farm.” So hypocritical!!! High time to check out our OWN doorstep before we POINT a finger.

  • Derek’s Right

    Yes, because Sea Shepherd and Paul Watson have only waged campaigns in regions inhabited by non-whites, such as, um, Canada, Iceland (full of non-whites) and the Faeroe Islands… those racisits! Oh wait, those are all majority white countries. Whoops.

    • ted

      Hi.  I think if you go back and read the article, I did not write that Watson and Co only wage campaigns in regions inhabited by non whites.  In fact, I cited his work in the Galapagos and Costa Rica, as examples.  What I take exception to is the rhetoric he uses in his campaigns against non-whites.  Those are two very different things.  Whoops.

    •  I love how Sea Shepherd fans focus on the racism argument as if they can make every single other point disappear just by not acknowledging them.

  • Derek’s Right

    Yes, because Sea Shepherd and Paul Watson have only waged campaigns in regions inhabited by non-whites, such as, um, Canada, Iceland (full of non-whites) and the Faeroe Islands… those racisits! Oh wait, those are all majority white countries. Whoops.

  • Blasphemy Rottmouth

    Shepherding Seas Of Cash Into The Coffers Of
    Corporate Conservation


    “Survival in a media culture meant developing
    the skills to understand and manipulate media to achieve strategic objectives.”
    – Paul Watson, President of Sea Shepherd


    Sea Shepherd’s Mission Statement: “Established in
    1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international NON-PROFIT, marine wildlife
    conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and
    slaughter of wildlife in the world’s
    oceans in order to conserve and
    protect ecosystems and species.


    Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action
    tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and
    confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity
    of our delicately-balanced ocean
    ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to
    ensure their survival for future generations.”


    Shepherd’s “non-profit” revenue jumped drastically from 1.5 million dollars in
    2005 to 9.8 million dollars in 2009 due in large part to massive publicity from
    the Animal Planet’s commercially funded television show “Whale Wars.” This show
    zeroes in on Sea Shepherd’s campaign off Antarctica against Japanese whaler’s
    nine-century long practice of providing meat for their indigenous population. Sea
    Shepherd recently claimed to have saved roughly 800 whales last year alone out
    of the estimated one million whales living in the Antarctic region. Impressive
    numbers – to say the mathematical least.
    One of the many campaigns employed by Sea Shepherd to collect cash for their
    conservation practices is selling products with the skull, shepherd’s staff and
    trident logo above these statements: “Extinction Is Forever” and “Defending
    Ocean Wildlife Worldwide.” An excessive portion of the donations to help “balance
    the ocean’s ecosystems” goes to an elite fleet of multi-million dollar ships,
    yachts, and helicopters operating, as stated, mostly in the Antarctic region.
    One thing is certain; Sea Shepherd has raised an impressive mass of money to
    attack the Japanese anthropomorphic whaling industry.  


    thing is certain: when a non-profit entity suddenly sees its revenue jump by
    653% over four years, that massive stockpile of cash must be liquidated quickly
    or risk an all-out raping by the Internal Revenue Service. And therein layeth
    the lie. Whither the windfall? Should Sea Shepherd use the excess cash to
    expand conservation into other oceans with hastily vanishing cetaceans? Or, do they
    continue milking the bloodline by buying yachts resembling props from the set
    of Batman; boats that would make the British Royal Navy blush; helicopters that
    are only missing heat-seeking missiles to qualify for action in Afghanistan;
    personal chefs to cater to Captain Watson, a caricature of world’s most obese
    vegetarian? Make no mistake – Sea Shepherd has chosen the bloodline. Whaling bleeds
    whilst reaping reams of ratings. All this shambolic effort culminates with one
    simple sentence:


    The Sea is being used by a corporate-minded
    entity to shepherd your dollars into their luxury lifestyle while ignoring much
    more pressing concerns for cetaceans.


    the Vaquita species straddling the precipice of extinction in Sea Shepherd’s
    own backyard. The Vaquita, a porpoise, is the most endangered marine mammal on
    the planet. There are estimated to be only 200 of these creatures left, which
    is roughly half the number that existed a decade ago. If they die, an entire
    species of cetacean will be gone forever. Humans are killing them – though not
    purposefully. The problem is this: the Vaquita don’t bleed when they’re killed.
    These porpoises simply drown silently in fishermen’s nets. No Team Edward or
    Team Jacob for Twilight-era eco fans to fawn over the sexy spillage of
    hemoglobin’s. More cetaceans die each year strangling themselves in fishermen’s
    nets than all of whale and dolphin hunting combined. Talk about a Charlie Brown
    “Whaa-whaa-whaa” ratings killer. Saving the remaining Vaquita and allowing them
    to go forth and multiply would cost a fraction of a single Sea Shepherd
    Bat-Boat to apply the necessary political pressure to change the operations of


    thus, Sea Shepherd’s mawkish weapon of mass distraction hath been laid bare.
    The familiar harlot bearing the malady of money has haunted the seemingly noble
    Mission Statement of yet another non-profit entity that’s morphed into a
    behemoth-like parasite. Be not deceived by the blood. Contributions to the
    Whale Whores are not saving a single cetacean from extinction. Those donations
    are financing an ongoing market-share war against a culture that enjoys whale
    sashimi (aka: The Holy cow of the ocean) as much as you and I enjoy the
    occasional hamburger. Would you not willfully defend yourself if Hindu
    eco-vigilantes stormed your backyard on military-grade machinations funded by
    commercial television exposure as they hurl stink-bombs onto your barbeque
    grill? Dietary morality.


    donations increase, the number of brainless, spoon-fed television addicts has
    gone up while the average intelligence has gone down. I’d say any relationship
    to the original Sea Shepherd Society is now at zero.     


    parting thought: we’ve all seen the hipster in Starbucks who openly yaps about
    macramé and his favorite “indie folk collective” from Canada that has three
    glockenspiel players, a shaman, and everybody is bearded, including the chicks.


    all a pose.


    transfixed lamb doesn’t like any of that – he’s just willfully succumbed to
    clever marketing preying on his faux-sensitive persona. He really wants to
    listen to Slayer while working on his Impala before pouring the old oil out
    back to kill weeds around the storage shed. He’s just too… deluded? Tricked? To
    admit it.


    Don’t let your mind be shepherded by corporate
    conservational shams.

    • Businesssurfer

      For once, I actually enjoyed reading your scribbling. Good points, well (and creatively) made.

    • wildrnes

      love this shit!

    • wildrnes

      love this shit!

    • Joseph Kool

      Sea shepperds also coined the term paid volunteers. They’re garbage.

    • gixargh

      So what’s your solution then? If you want people to stop giving money to this organization, what is a better way to help the oceans? As individuals, we have no control over regulating the oceans so the only way to effectively curb this problem is by supporting a large group effort. A lot of people bash sea shepherds but offer zero solutions as to how to better help the oceans. I’m just curious what you think would work better. If you offer a good reason you may just change my mind about sea shepherds. 🙂

      • TG

        Read Paul Watson’s post on the Facebook on 11 Mar 2011 few hours after tsunami killed 20K people in Japan claiming it was a punishment by Neptune a sea God. Then rethink if supporting him really achieves your goal. Thank you.

  • Chris_fauxte

    Hey, wait a minute.  How can Sea Shepherd be bad if Slater’s on the board?  Kelly’s the GREATEST!  YEW!

    • Caseybaby2626

      get a life dude. and just because one person who you think is monumentaly good does not mean the rest of it is good

  • norway

    obviously not, but I´m just trying to say that many people from non-whaling countries have a very narrow minded and ignorant view on the matter. Personally i don´t support whaling, but there are a lot more pressing matters in animal rights that people should focus on. 

    • SimonSays

      True enough- but that doesn’t mean anti-whaling should be neglected!

  • Blasphemy Rottmouth

    Can anybody pinpoint the exact reason that fat clown Captain Watson was thrown out of Green Peace?

    Someone should also look into why Glen Henning quit Surfrider.

    As usual… follow the fucking money. What starts as a noble cause, can sour quickly with the taste of dollah bills.

    • Christopher Tracy


      Comparisons of Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd form 990 filings are quite more informative in terms of funding disparity than any amount of garbage you can spew here.  $26m vs. $9m, circa 2010.    SS expended roughly 50% of its funding on hard costs (fuel, etc) in direct action that diminished the slaughter of whales.  This is a fact.  What did GP do with its vastly greater fiscal resources? 

      • Blasphemy Rottmouth


        You’re implication on me being a troll says all we need to know about your comments.

        Say more when you’ve read (READ – not distributed comments made for you by the PR department at Sea Shepherd)… an actual, real accounting book or two, child.

        • Christopher Tracy

           Wow, a profile with the name of Blasphemy Rottmouth is denying being a troll?

          Come on, you can’t make this shit up.

          Post a bunch of unsubstantiated bullshit and then engage in personal attacks and you get properly labelled as what you are: a troll.

          And I doubt you have ever read a 990 filing, much less knew what one was, before this.

          Answer the question if you can… given the vast income disparity between SSCS and GP, why does one get crucified and the other get a pass in your book?   Seriously… answer it, cogently, and intelligently.. if you can.

      • ted

        Hi again, Chris.  I’m unclear where you are getting the numbers that Sea Shepherd has diminished the slaughter of whales.  Can you site your sources please?  As I mentioned in the article, The Economist says that whaling numbers are up.

        • Christopher Tracy


          The Econmist isn’t a valid source on any subject at this point.   Unless you are in the pocket of a major global industrial entity — such as the JFA.    Are you a tool or a journalist?    SSCS direct action in the SAMR has reduced the JFA whaling cull inofar as they historically ignored IWC and whaled in that region unilaterally.   This is a fact not in dispute… by either side.  If that weren’t true, this wouldn’t be an issue and you wouldn’t be writing about it… get a CLUE.. go research your subject…. and ENGAGE both sides.. until then, you’re just another poorly informed tool.

          • Milkrobottle

            Still you haven’t post a link to a source to backup what you say 🙂

          • Thank you for proving the original article right. So far all you’ve had to offer is shouting down evidence to the contrary with insults and conspiracy theories.

    • Ben

      Greenpeace has stated it was his ego combined with his violent desires.

      I agree, I think he’s in it more for the money than anything. 160k+ paycheck for doing nothing but riding on a boat and talking  yet doesn’t have the money to pay for proper repairs, decent ships, or even the proper gear to clean up chemical spills (the Barkers fuel leak into the bilge) pretty much says it all.

      As always from reading through comments, the Watson supporters go on the defense. Insult, accuse and hand wave off others while relying on emotional rants and unrelated “facts”. I’d like to meet one eventually that stops before the brain locks into “must destroy” mode and actually thinks about the situation rather than making up hastily slapped together excuses

    • TG

      GP does not oppose whaling it self. They are not against aboriginal whaling. Paul Watson didn’t like that.

  • zoo


    Thanks for presenting this.  I think you’ve over-reached here and come to some poor conclusions based on not enough actual journalistic legwork (or at least citations), but its a good start and raises a lot of important issues.  There are extremists on both sides of this argument.  

    You make an excellent point re: engaging the likes of poor fishermen off the central american coast.  That’s a poor choice of engagement I don’t support, but it should be fairly noted to have occurred some time ago.  The passage of time doesn’t excuse it from criticism, but tarring the entire organization of today with those particular events, and inferring that the whole org has those values, isn’t quite honest.  Because it simply doesn’t.

    You did ignore Watson’s record in Canada regarding seal hunting.  I’m wondering why.  

    Conservation Capitalism is quite real, no argument, and something everyone should be aware of and give due consideration (for my part I stopped supporting *PIRG over concerns about it), but I don’t think you can fairly dismiss the value of PR when it comes to raising awareness.  The tactics required to generate publicity and increase awareness are somewhat dictated by how media work, and there are no equivalent alternatives to work around that occasionally ugly truth.

    You may find the messaging and the language to border on racist — and I disagree — but it revolves around and pertains to direct truths.  Herding those cetaceans into slaughter is sick and disgusting.   Organized commercial fleets that will hunt a species down to extinction need to be met with opposition.  If you have better ideas on how to deal with this, I wish you would put some of your thoughtful energy towards developing them and articulating them.

    And to the rest of this peanut gallery: please stop trolling facile junk.   Tetsuhiko has placed a considered opinion out here and taken the time to be articulate about it, at least try and keep up with his example in your comments.

    I do try to follow the money, most especially when some of it is mine, as it is in this case.  And more  fiscal transparency from out NGO’s is something we should expect and demand.

    Again, thanks for this.  But I have to disagree on the basic premise; they do not do more harm than good.   Could they, eventually?  Yeah, if they turned into a neutered entity like Greenpeace.

    Some relevant history for those who want to read it is reasonably well documented at Wikipedia.

    • ted

      Hi there, Zoo.  Thanks for the great comments.  Just going to touch on a few of them.  

      I didn’t mean to ignore Watson’s record with regards to Canadian seal hunting, I just think it’s a bit of a different issue and revolves around different questions than the whale debate. I also don’t have much of an opinion on seals, (not an informed one anyway). I tried to point to Sea Shepherds larger engagements by pointing out their work in other marine reserves.  

      re racist language.  It is very brutal to hunt and kill whales and dolphins but the larger issue is: does that make the Japanese a brutal people, or do they have a brutal culture?  The answer is no.  Saying that actions which you find sick and disgusting (though, despite being against whaling, I’m not particularly bothered by) come naturally to a culture because it has committed historical atrocities is false reasoning at its worst.  It plays the race card of the brutal, threatening asian that is as old as the Crusades, and more recently, the Second World War.  For me it falls under the category of “I’m not racist but…”

      I think they do harm by exemplifying one paradigm of “conservation” that is essentially spurious in that it is better at making good television than it is at making changes.  As it is an opinion piece and I’m not an expert on ceteceans, I would reconsider the point if any actual numbers were released by trustworthy institutions saying that a)whaling was on the decline, b) public smear campaigns that make lots of money for television producers can actually be linked to change.  The numbers that I cited from the Economist really affected my thinking because they show that none of this hullabaloo has actually made a dent in whaling.  I also mentioned the part about Whaling not actually stopping until whales were no longer commercially necessary because I think that some conservationists (which is not a word that I used with any kind of pejorative tone) like to cite it as a feather in their hats, when in fact, it was a natural resort of much larger market powers.  

  • Christian

    The protection of cetaceans is not a criticism on the whole of the Japanese culture or people. It is a criticism of an industry and of governments.

    Japan is gets the brunt of the criticism because it ILLEGALLY takes the most whales *outside of its own borders* — not because the color of their skin or because they speak another language. Just like Walmart gets singled out when people lament the negatives of big box stores and slave labor imports. They are the leader, at the forefront, as long as they continue to violate the moratorium on whaling, they are going to be on the top of the list for criticism.

    Furthermore, the acts that Sea Shepherd disrupts in the Antarctic are not within the Japanese territory, are not legal, and certainly aren’t using indigenous cultural methods or rituals while taking whales. They are harvesting animals for commercial profit outside their own territory.

    Do not be fooled by the fallacy of “A is a worse problem than B, Therefore the B problem should be overlooked (and those concerned with problem B are absurd hypocrites)”
    There are many people who invest their energy into many different causes, and it’s easy to say “who cares about whales when there are starving children in africa or frankenchickens in Kansas” But what does that accomplish other than people thinking they haven’t got the right to speak up or act, and just end up sitting on the couch. But everyone (hopefully) has a cause that speaks to them. And if yours is whales, or trees or bulldogs or domestic violence, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not important enough to do something about.

    The suffering of animals, human and other, are all problems. They stem from the same mentality, one of exploitation and entitlement. Whales have no defense, they have no voice or constitutional rights. When we look at them as resources, as dollar signs, we take a limited an willfully ignorant view.

    The attempt to connect those who stand up for cetaceans to “white savior complex” is a weak, poorly researched, attack job. Corporate and monetary interests are not more important than the rights of others. It is a false claim that because huge agribusiness is flawed in one place, that wild, protected and endangered animals should not be considered. It is misleading to equate commercial exploitation with low take, indigenous hunts under the guise of cultural relativism.

    • Ben

      Japan is gets the brunt of the criticism because it ILLEGALLY takes the most whales *outside of its own borders* ”

      ‘Fraid not so. Japan goes to the Antarctic legally being ok’d by the IWC and them being international waters.
      I’d like to see this evidence of this being illegal.
      They also whale in the north atlantic near their home waters later in the year. Why doesn’t the SS go after them then? Here’s a hint, because the people acting illegally are the SS and Watson. Same reason you saw them basically doing nothing in the Faroes. They were in territorial waters and KNEW if they violated laws that they would be arrested.

      • Christian

         The IWC put a moratorium on whaling in the southern ocean “sanctuary”. Japan chooses not to acknowledge it. So, if legality is in the mind of the beholder and acknowledgement is the game, both parties are guilty and innocent.

        •  You don’t understand how international law works. Nations can lodge reservations to parts of treaties and to rules made by treaty bodies, which makes them not have to follow them. That’s exactly what Japan has done with some of the IWC’s regulations. And rightly so. The IWC is supposed to be about protecting sustainable whaling, not just about protecting whales. However it was hijacked decades ago by an anti-whaling cabal and some of its recent resolutions are really not in the proper spirit of the organization.

        • TG

          No. Moratorium banned the commercial whaling and IWC allowed Japan for “scientific research” afterwards.

    • TG

      As much as I am against to unsustainable whaling and what the JPN scientific ship was doing in the past near Australia. Read Paul Watson’s post on the Facebook on 11 Mar 2011 few hours after tsunami killed 20K people in Japan claiming it was a punishment by Neptune a sea God. Then rethink why he does what he does and why supporters support him. This article is only revealing you the true figure of him and his organization. Thank you.

  • As I use to endorse anyone aiming at conservation and have supported Sea Shepard I have to admit that at the naming of the ship to an actress once referred to as BB, I withdrew. I know, Sea Shepard works for the sea, a great cause. Well, I work for Earth and that includes humans as well. BB is a known racist. I wish them much success but as long as they sail under her name, I’m out.

    You’ve lost me at calling (Sir) Frances Drake a sadist. He did what he could and never make the mistake of judging with what we know and feel now with how they lived back then. If you must judge, judge with the mindset of then.

    • ted

      If i judged with the mindset of them “of then” I would have to legitimate slavery.  I’m afraid that would be morally reprehensible.  Please do a bit of research on some of the things Drake got up to, then perhaps reconsider your stance on him.  

  • Namaste

    You are a moron. You have utterly no understand of what is really happening.  You do not have one one millionth the level of intelligence or courage that Paul Watson has in his pinky finger.

    You are out of line espousing such clap trap.  Are you down there risking your life… obviously not.  We don’t need to kill whales to learn about them.

    You don’t even know anything about whales.  Actually, they are far smarter than you are.  They are mammals, they breathe air, they bear live young, they nurse their young, they living in family groups, they help mothers with babies, they have no crime and they don’t kill humans.  

    Do your research or keep you fgiggin mouth shut. 

    • Businesssurfer

      Go away. You are the hipster conformist that proves the point.

    • Businesssurfer

      Go away. You are the hipster conformist that proves the point.

    • Chris_fauxte

       oh yeah, if they’re so smart why don’t they just hide.  Duh!

    • Snakos

      you need an exorcism! Watson is in you!
      poor namaste… you doesn’t fit with this word.

    • Rompypompy

      Well, we don’t actually know for sure that whales have no crime, now do we? For example, orcas didn’t get their other name for no reason, now did they? And what about Blue whales, eh? In my country, anyone getting into a blue means they’re looking for a fight.  And Sperm whales – what’s THAT about, eh??

      I think my point is well made. 

  • Gukyoo

    I’ve never been compelled to comment on an ‘inertia’ article before this. I generally enjoy the content on the

  • Cap Dan

    “The Faeroese say they have a traditional right to massacre entire pods of whales,” said MacLean, “But no human being has the right to torture and slaughter another sentient being. What the Faeroese call a ‘right,’ we call a travesty. This is like being asked to respect Ted Bundy or Charles Manson, and Sea Shepherd has no intention of respecting the rights of cruel psychopaths. You don’t try to talk to a psychopath, you try to stop them before they kill again.”

  • Annbjorg6

    The really weird part about the show, whale wars, is that it’s not reality tv… In the show wiking shores, the manipulate images, interviews and facts… Example: they are trying to get to Vestmanna, but the pictures the are showing, are from the other end of the country, Klaksvik… And they twist it look like we do it for fun… WE DON’T, this is our hunting and it’s such a low number, that we are not destroying the stock… We don’t have other wildlife hunting, like people hunting dear, moose and others, as a sport as much as for food. We hunt whales for the meet, the whale is a large animal, so it’s alot of meat.
    And don’t say “you can just buy the meat in the supermarket, that way, no animal gets hurt” Please….
    If whales don’t deserve to die, what about cows fed up to be slaughtered, chickens stuffed in to tiny cages, and especially the animals hwo get electrified, so the fur doesn’t get damaged ? Seriously Watson is a fame hungering dramaqueen…
    With love The Faroese whale meat lover 🙂

    • Jerome

      Who cares about animals? Providing fundamental levels of water security to HUMANS should be first on this list. This appears in South
      Africa, where water markets provide baseline levels of social welfare. It is then commodified and sold as a good,
      though not necessarily in bottles like in the U.S. The South African government thinks NGO’s
      in opposition to water privatization leach key infrastructure funding. Water is precious and susceptible to contamination, so local investors are not
      always the most reliable. On the other hand, global enterprise invest in only the most securely profitable areas. Fuck ’em, these less secure areas need it the most. Like Big Oil, private enterprise holds major clout in the global political arena. The focus needs to shift away from
      profit maximization towards global water security. Water is precious, people.  It might just be the next source of major geopolitical conflict. 

  • Ednakano

    Just one commnet.
    Even if whaling in SO are after WWII but whaling it self have atleast 400 years history.

    • supdog

      Great! whale in Japan then and stay out of Antarctic it doesn’t belong to you 

  • Messworldtour

    can’t help but thinking your own sensitivities have clouded your article … Bottom line is you sit on your laptop and criticise, Watson goes and acts. If not him then who? Diplomats? Greenpeace? Pfft.

    • MustachePete

      AL BAydough, that you? Knock, knock…you gave it away with your “Pfft”.

      • Messworldtour


  • Caseybaby2626

    sea sherpards are so racist you over optimistic person!!!!!!!!!
    Go Ron Paul 2016!

    • Nik

      What a dick-head statement

  • Alixhesley12

    hi Mr.Allison!

    -Alix and Morgan

  • Christopher Tracy

    First, Ted isn’t confronting anyone or anything here with this piece.  It avoids confrontation entirely because it is an opinionated rant that was produced without the application of any basic journalism.  Such as contacting and engaging the subject on the issues.  Given that it is basically an opinion piece (and one which does raise some good questions and touch on some important issues) and a bit of a rant involving some apparent personal issues, I can’t take it all that seriously.

    Second, what kicked this off was something that happened back in February.  Interested parties should go reach the original piece here:

    …and Watson’s response here:

    Ted, if you want to confront Paul Watson and SCSS and engage them in a debate on the issues, by all means, please do so, and I’d like to read what you write after doing so.    You will find Watson a bit occupied of late but there are no shortage of SCSS staff and volunteers and contributors and supporters who can educate you on the relevant history and issues and engage you on ethics.   All you have to do is reach out, or attend an event where SCSS has a presence.

    You waited two months after this round of debate started to jump in; one presumes in that time you could have actually spoken with your subjects and produced something more than a rant that misfires repeatedly, strays into hugely inappropriate (and genuinely offensive) narratives, and comes off as a hackish, misguided attempt to smear a person and an org that have, through decades of difficult and dangerous work, earned the respect and support of many people in the community that this publication serves. 

    Zach, this sort of stuff is a really clear indication as to why TI should have some stronger editorial guidelines and standards for vetting what gets published and under what context.  Stuff like this doesn’t get published by credible sources unless it has “OPINION” over it in 48pt bold type, usually.

    Maybe I’m harshing on the author here but the guy has the word “Editor” next to his name in the masthead, not “contributing writer”, and where I come from — a background in publishing — that title conveys that one should reasonably be expected to possess the basic skills and qualifications that typically go along with it.  These include fundamental journalism skills and practices, few if any of which are on display here.

    There’s so much more wrong with this, I won’t go through it point by point (since others already have, for the most part) but just re-emphasize something Christian ended with earlier, which bears repeating:

    “The attempt to connect those who stand up for cetaceans to “white savior
    complex” is a weak, poorly researched, attack job. Corporate and
    monetary interests are not more important than the rights of others. It
    is a false claim that because huge agribusiness is flawed in one place,
    that wild, protected and endangered animals should not be considered. It
    is misleading to equate commercial exploitation with low take,
    indigenous hunts under the guise of cultural relativism.”

    • ted

      Hi Christopher, thanks for taking the time to respond.  I just wanted to re-comment on a few things.

      First of all, the impetus for this article was not the piece in ASL, but Watson’s recent arrest (two weeks ago, I believe) which was publicized on some surfing web sites.  I was actually unaware of what had gone down with ASL until the 11th hour, and subsequently added the part addressing Watson’s tenuous grasp of the history of piracy.  

      You are very correct that this is an opinion piece, but I’m not sure why I would want to engage anyone from Sea Shepherd on the issue.  I would not interview them for the same reason that I try not to ever interview people who work in PR — they don’t say anything based on any sort of fact, it’s all propaganda that aims to sell their tv show/various other enterprises.  It also makes it impossible to have an informed debate because the language they use obfuscates real points.  As I quoted in the piece, Watson himself has written that the truth is “irrelevant”.    to refer again to the article, Watson claimed to have been shot by fishermen.  That was a lie.  He also claimed that they ran over his boat, when in fact he hit them.  As his organization tacitly supports these lies, that is a good indication that they are not reliable sources.  Good journalism, including opinion pieces, is based on facts.  One of the issues with whaling is that there is a derth of facts, so what I’ve tried to here is meticulously cite everything quoted and referred to.  You may disagree with my opinion, which I respect and I’m glad you felt strongly enough to write it down, but this is not shoddy journalism.      

      I’d be interested to know what kind of publishing you worked in where interviewing PR people and proven liars was considered good practice and citing sources was not.  It sounds like an interesting business.  

      • Colin

         I have to agree with Christopher. This article did NOT cite sources for all the purported lies, mis-spent funds, or evidence that SS’s actions are rooted in racisim or target the poor.

        I had never paid much attention to Sea Shepherd and have never seen the TV show or films about Watson. My first impulse was to go seek sources for your assertions. They’re mighty hard to find with the standard Google tools. I read the Nature article and the related commentaries and articles in the Economist, Wired, etc. I read the ASF article and follow-up.

        Please give those of us interested in the truth more to lean on… if I want rants, I can get those all over the place.

        From what I can tell, whaling has increased due to greed, national pride and other forces – not because conservationists have been spending money to try and stop it. There is no way to tell exactly what SS’s effect has been… perhaps there would be significantly more slaughter had SS not been publicizing the hunt for so many years. As you point out, SS also spends considerable amounts of its resources protecting (or trying to protect) other endangered fisheries. Do you have evidence that any of the organization’s money is being mis-spent? Bring it on…

        • ted

          Hi Colin, good points.  Here are some clarifications.  

          The  assertion is not that whaling is growing because anti whaling groups are spending money to stop it.  The assertion is that whaling numbers are up and conservation groups, despite spending almost as much as the entire whaling industry makes, has been ineffective at stopping it. Furthermore, the tactics that Sea Shepherd uses to try to stop whaling are prejudiced and polarizing to the point that they distort the issues that surround whaling and harm the public discourse.

          Watson’s racist rhetoric is linked to in the article, and his lying about being shot/having his boat runover are matters of the public record in that they fell out of the media cycle almost as quickly as they appeared simply because they had no substance.  No major news sources even took the time to call them lies because they were almost instantly recognized as spurious tv spectacles. Do you really think the japanese government keeps military-level snipers on it’s fishing boats (ie: someone who could put a bullet into a man’s chest from a moving boat WHILE on the high seas)?  As for his boat getting hit, I would ask you to watch any footage beside sea shepeherd’s and draw your own conclusions.

          RE your request for more information, here is an interesting study on the economics of whaling conducted by the WWF. (  
          is shows the whaling is a declining industry (and has been for some years).  It is heavily subsidized in Japan and Norway and not really profitable.  So now, a question for you: why would they keep doing it?

          • Christopher Tracy


            Journalism school.  You need to go to it.

        • MustachePete

          MLA or APA footnotes would work, right? good point, Colin. These type of op ed articles need footnote sources for credibility and validity. Otherwise it is heresay. I know Ted has sources, but for the sake of keeping the article water tight, sources should be addressed and summed up for readers to refer to. With that said, nice work Ted. I never knew that the whaling show could create such a uproar. The opinions are highly polarized.

  • Jes

    Poul Watson was comparing the faroese people with Breivik, the mass killer in Utoya Norway who killed 77 people, short after the killing took place for their sustaineble harvest of pilot whales.  Then many supporters and neutrals in Skandinavia turned their back to animal organizations in general.

    • ted

      Thanks, Jes.  I missed that, and it would have added a good bit of nuance to the way Watson has used racism agains the Japanese.  Perhaps his larger tactic is to simply try to discredit anyone who doesn’t agree with him through the use of xenophobia.  It’s not quite the same as his attack on the Japanese though, because unless i’m missing something, it doesn’t implicate the entire culture of the Faroe Islands, or of Norway for that matter.  Does it?  Let me know if I’m off base here.

  • Knappsintur

    Paul Watons, ain’t a rasist, he just plainly hates the human race. Look up his view on the world, and how HE would like the world to look like.

    • supdog

      He doesn’t hate humans he just thinks we’re crazy. Just look at our history I think he may have a point.

  • Knappsintur

    Paul Watons, ain’t a rasist, he just plainly hates the human race. Look up his view on the world, and how HE would like the world to look like.

  • availablehelptothedeli

    Not exactly on topic, but Watson is a terrible captain.  I’ve sailed most of my life and have watched the show with friends that hold various grades of captains licenses, and we all agree that the man is either foolish or reckless when it comes to safe boating practices.  That the man puts his and his companions lives at risk so often makes me question the thought he puts into conservation in general.

    • Kathi Harrington

      He is not a licensed captain. The boats are registered as yachts because that does not require a licensed captain to be on board.

  • Snakos

    you can’t imagine how good it was to read this.
    my community is under the fire from Watson and fans.
    they use so well lies, propaganda, media, conflict…
    the worst for us is all this fans who behave like sheep and use racial insult, hate against us.
    no ones had ever try to understand our problems.
    we are just guilty…
    99% of them live in cities far from the sea and pray for Watson Guru to have something in their life.


  • Indiatropic

    What à good resumé thank you for all this information,
    I hope That one day people Will wake up and see what is really
    Behind sea sheperd.
    Its only about money and lies ,but That few people know.
    Anyways thanks again for the good work.

    • TG

      Read Paul Watson’s post on the Facebook on 11 Mar 2011 few hours after tsunami killed 20K people in Japan claiming it was a punishment by Neptune a sea God. That woke some supporters they left SS by leaving comments they were disappointed, other half “liked” the post and showed even more supporting saying 20K deserved death. Hope he keeps revealing true self like that.

  • ted

    Hey, thanks Walrus.  Even if your students hate the article, I’m flattered that you would put this article like that.  Hopefully it will open the debate a bit more.  I’m not sure how involved your students are, but please let them know that I would be happy to answer personal emails as well as any comments they might leave here.

    • Ctwalrus

      Ted.. I just got their essays this morning, and I will pass your comments on to them. Several said that they really got into the topic and did additional research. Any thing I can do to stir their brains up. Is fair game……got to make them Think!

  • MustachePete

    Namaste, “the light in me sees the light in you”.  

  • Mindless Chimp

    Nice article; Searched ‘SeaSheperd Donate’ and found I can schedule to give monthly, donate my vehicle or nautical equiptment.  All this for Batman Boats that they can crash and burn for TV ratings. Wise up everyone!

  • Sean Radich

    Nice, well-reasoned article. Harking back to when i put my name to the article written by a contributor (i expanded upon a few ideas in his original piece) the only thing i regret is that i didn’t tone down the original language – i still think the sentiment, if not the execution, was correct. And with all the drama that followed, it just seemed to prove Gabe’s original point.

    It’s interesting to see a similar argument about SS and anti-Japanese sentiment written here, albeit more eloquently put.

    And of course, already the “you can’t write”, “you don’t know what journalism is”, “you made up all the references and incidents” comments have started. Be prepared for hundreds more once Paul Watson alerts his followers to this piece. But hey, it’ll give you a big spike in page views … even if you get threatening text messages, phone calls and Facebook comments from strangers.

    Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

  • ted

    Hi Humpback.  thanks for taking the time to write back such a long reply.  I can’t touch on all of it, but I’ll try to address the things that jump out to me.  

    I don’t believe that direct action is wrong, I think that wrong action is wrong.  For instance silent marches (eg: civil rights movement) are very powerful symbolic tools.  Flipping over cars and throwing molotov cocktails through storefronts only polarize arguments and demonize your cause.  

    RE: race.  I don’t understand what you mean by calling my acertations “weird”.  If you click through the links to what Watson has said about japanese culture, it is clear that his rhetoric demonizes them as an entire people.  Also, please read my text carefully: I did not write that watson is “a racist” I wrote that he uses racist rhetoric, which he probably doesn’t believe himself.  You make a good point that many countries are guilty of atrocities.  Would yo consider it acceptable to say that because americans get roughly half the calories in their diets from meat (animal slaughter) and because they bombed the hell out of cambodia during the vietnam war, we are a brutal people?  I woudn’t.  I would call that false reasoning with major prejudiced undertones.  

    RE: fishermen.  They are not pressuring poor fishermen for the sake of it, they are pressuring poor fishermen for the sake of entertainment.  You make an interesting argument that it forces people to think about it.  However, I think that the people who are really in power here watch things like this and just laugh.  This is because the way these industries, like most industries, concentrates money at the top, behind very opaque walls of business practice, unless you attack them through their channels (which I am admittedly not familiar with) you are catching watching in a sieve.

    finally, is every cetacean saved a victory?  I would like to think so, but something I recently read changed my mind on this.  In the book that I cited, The Unnatural History of the sea, which should be required reading for anyone interested in ocean conservation, the author, Callum Roberts writes a lot about “shifting baselines”,  basically, this is the idea that fish stocks are on a declining continuum and each generation of fishermen and researchers tends to assume that the size of the stocks that were around when he or she was young is the ideal population size.  In fact, the ideal population size for fish stocks is whatever their numbers were before they began to be commercially/intensively fished.  In some places, like europe this might mean that the stock was at its natural size 200 + years ago.  Boarding one fishing boat, or two, or ten, is never going to bring about a change that will restore fishing stocks to what they they are actually supposed to be.  It will make no dent whatsoever because commercial fishing has been going for so long with so little regulation that fishing stocks are simply decimated in many areas.  If you were to do this with an entire army, it might work, but then many of us wouldn’t be able to eat fish.  

    My purpose in writing this article was to provoke a discussion on what kind of affects Sea Shepherd is really having on whaling and hopefully getting people to reconsider their support for a group that has not reduced whaling and uses prejudiced rhetoric and lies to further it’s cause, which appears to be mostly self serving, though I have no hard numbers to “prove” that.  On a larger scale, I want to get people to re-examine how they look at philanthropy and global change.  Reality TV does not cause global change, discussions like this do.

    • Humphback

      Hi Ted
      It’s HumPHback, not Humpback. We’re a very rare breed.
      So … peaceful direct action is ok but direct confrontation isn’t? I don’t agree.  I couldn’t blame the ANC for adopting violence as a tool against the apartheid regime. What other choice was there?
      Race – OK, maybe he’s used racist rhetoric and that’s a dumb tactic not just because its disgusting, but also because it gives people ammo to call bullshit on his broader mission. And yes, people could rightly call modern America a brutal culture. Its hard to argue that it isn’t, but that’s not necessarily ‘racist’.
      Power – You think the people in power laugh when SS arrests a fishing boat? You think governments take extraditions lightly? They have no other options. He’s too high profile to ‘have a nasty accident’ and he can’t be nailed for anything else, legally. They’re not laughing. They’re scared of him, trying desperately to shut him up.
      Poor fishermen – you think they arrested them for entertainment? So SS places the Hollywood agenda above their ocean agenda? It’s tempting to say that because WW is so damn popular. But I doubt they go around thinking up scenes like – ‘oh let’s arrest some poor fishermen, that’ll boost ratings and our bank accounts!’ – which is what you seem to be suggesting. Call me idealistic. I’ll call you a biased cynic. 
      Why bother? – Actually, boarding one fishing boat IS making a difference. See, we’re talking about it now. International media is talking about it. Govts. are talking about it and who knows, something might change because of the attention the issue is getting. That’s why they did it. It’s a “symbolic act” aimed at raising the profile of the cause to encourage debate, out in the open.
      Fish stocks – yep, the baseline shifts all the time but really numbers and varieties have fallen off a cliff in 300 years –  the drop getting steeper with every ‘advance’ in fishing techniques. Should we ignore the problem? Heck, maybe we SHOULDN’T eat so much fish, especially in the developed world, where diners have a choice. This is a major crisis.
      – “Reality TV does not cause global change”. Is that some universal law? Reality TV’s only been around for 10-15yrs. Most is crap. But WW is actually a common tool used against injustice – raising its public profile so high that an issue can’t be ignored. And it isn’t, is it?
      – “Discussions like this do [cause global change]”. Ermm … idle chat in the dark corners of the blogosphere is more powerful than a TV show watched by millions? Hmmm …

      Question: regarding our oceanic crisis: WHAT ARE YOU PROPOSING?
      Do you mean:
      Lock up the fat white guy because he’s a lying race-baiter who hasn’t achieved his goals yet, so he’s a fraud, too.
      Ditch the TV show. It’s popular, and populist – ergo it must be junk.
      And it’s raising too much money for such a niche cause, ergo A Bad Thing.
      Anyone wishing to oppose the decimation of our marine ecosystems is urged to file a complaint through the proper bureaucratic channels, then wait patiently for the bureaucrats to act.
      Otherwise – do nothing.
      Because that’s how it reads.

  • Christian

    You are right that the poor become the pawns of the larger entities. Are they not participating by choice? Does educating them on the impacts of their actions make a difference? If the temptation of financial rewards is too great (or perceived as necessary), yes perhaps paying them to not hunt is worthy of consideration. But…

    What organization is going to issue these supposed permits? And who is actually going to enforce them? It seems established that the IWC is essentially a powerless organization. What exactly are the appropriate government channels? 

    Look at the failure of fishing regulation in regard to the Blue Fin tuna…hunting it into near extinction has only made it more valuable.

    If you can’t get fishermen and more importantly, the organizations that back them to follow the rules now now, how do you expect them to recognize any new permit system? Please expand on this. 

  • Teresa

    Very well stated. I echo your thoughts loudly! Although protection of nature, in all it’s forms is high on my priority list, I have watched several episodes of Sea Sheperd on Animal Planet that have left me deeply disturbed. While there are ideas in some aspects at first seem noble (the preservation of whales), I felt bothered by the bully tactics of this crew to get their point across. I felt the people from the Faroe Islands and Japan were attacked publicly ( T.V.) in such a confrontational and degrading manner. This is what has turned me against Paul Watson & Co. I must agree here with his former mates from Greenpeace. I feel this man is hypocritically trying to make “peace” with WAR.

  • Christopher Tracy


    For you to continue to ignore the fact that SSCS ops in the Southern Antarctic sea have reduced the number of annual kills by the Japanese whaling fleet is to be purposefully dumb.  Clearly you are not dumb.  So why do you keep parroting this nonsense?

    Where you should have started is here, SSCS’s mission statement:

    “Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an
    international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our
    mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife
    in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and

    Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to
    investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and
    confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the
    biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd
    works to ensure their survival for future generations.”

    Now, where in there do you read that the mission entails reducing whaling?   Because — and I’m only going here because you already have — what you’re doing is using a false argument.

    Yes, to a person, almost everyone would infer from that mission that SSCS would support, desire, and endorse a reduction in global whaling.   But that’s not the mission.

    Understand, the org also works to enforce the policies of the IWC and ICRW.  

    And the purpose of the IWC is thus:

    “To provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry”.

    A more interesting discussion revolves around why the Japanese Fisheries Agency isn’t cooperating with the IWC, since they would seem to have mutual goals… unless the JFA doesn’t actually want to promote proper conservation of the stock in order to sustain the industry, but merely wants to continue to act unilaterally and hunt wherever it damn well pleases, which is what it has demonstrated for decades, and why SSCS is engaged in direct action against Japanese fleets in the Southern Antarctic, annually.

    As for discussions like this and global change, I think you need to check your ego.   You’re not even qualifying for pseudo-journalism here, and have established little more than a) you’re really concerned about the subject, b) poorly informed about the actual activities and results achieved through direct action by SSCS, c) are willing to overlook some inconvenient facts that don’t support your position, and d) are heavily biased in a very personal way against the figurehead of the org to the point of rendering ad-hominem attacks.

    If direct action didn’t work, it wouldn’t be done.

    And by the way, direct action is not always a coded term for violent interdiction.

    This isn’t the civil rights movement of the 60’s.   I’ve read the analogies — they fail.

    There does come a time when force must be met with force.

    I respect anyone who disagrees with this philosophically or spiritually, but even Ghandi knew the truth of that.

    Back on topic, however…

    Do you deny that some stubborn old men in Japan’s government, and some others in control of the Japanese whaling fleet consider this an issue of national pride and refuse to stop hunting whales simply because to do so at he behest of SSCS would entail losing “face”?

    Because if you don’t deny that, and accept it, then that’s a much, much more credible and potent argument than anything you’ve raised, in terms of supporting the notion that perhaps SSCS isn’t going to be, long-term, successful in this specific regard, due to cultural issues in play.

    That’s a fair argument.  It may be that in order to achieve the goals, SSCS needs to disengage eventually, on this front.  But not until and not unless there’s an equivalent entity with the political will and the naval force to take its place.

    And there is not.

    That however ignores the many other areas SSCS is active and successful in promoting conservation and curtailing needless slaughter, which is really the last nail in the coffin of your diatribe.    You went off the rails here and tried to unjustly smear an entire org and everyone in it based on a very narrow focus.  In doing so you painted yourself into a corner.  Trying to defend it after the fact, you’re just painting that corner smaller and smaller.    It is well and good that you expand the scope of the discussion to ethics in conservation and philanthropy, but disingenuous to claim that was your original intent.

    I do think you are wrong with regard to the impact of broadcast television.  It is absolutely more effective at raising global awareness than any “conversation in a dark corner of the internet”, as this has been — pretty fairly — characterized.

    What you really need to do here is properly research the subject, because you come off like a tool.  And I mean that literally — a tool for the Japanese Fisheries Agency.   The bogus argument of cultural imperialism has been waved by the JFA for years.   As far back as 2001, spokesmen for it were planting the idea that SSCS and other groups were secretly racist.   This is nothing but a baiting tactic to distract from the JFA and the Japanese government’s refusal to abide by the IWC.

    Congratulations, you bit the hook.   And set it so deep you refused to even engage your subject, which, I’m going to remind you, completely invalidates any claim to journalistic integrity.  You’ve stated you don’t want to engage your subject because you think they’re liars.  Well, so much for establishing credibility.   You may as well be blogging in your pyjamas.    No doubt the Huffington Post shall be calling at your doorstep come the dawn, intent upon secured your stellar investigative reporting.

    Sarcasm aside, a couple hours with Google and Wikipedia would have spared you from being a pawn.

    • Go Tojo!

      The  wily little nippon planting ideas in the media – goodness they can’t be trusted because , you know , they value someting called face or something I know nothing about they are old and want to slaughtet whales in an uncontrolled way…..blah blah blah …. SSCS needs bertter volunteers arguing their corner or aft or poop deck or whatever.

  • Ripawave

    Take it from a ship Captain, sooner or later Captain Watson or one of Sea Shepherd’s other Captain’s will cause an oil spill down there in the pristine Southern Ocean if they continue to maneuver their vessels the way they do. Whether it’s by a collision with ice or a whaling vessel and when he does the black stain and colorful sheen he leaves on that clean clear water and  ice will follow him for the rest of his life wherever he goes, destroying any  progress they have made towards their cause. 

    I’m all for caring for our planet and the lifeforms that inhabit it but causing harm to the very thing they are trying to save will get them nowhere.

  • Wiltshire

    Why can’t Ted spell? As an editor, he needs his own editor, particularly in all the spelling mistakes he makes in the comments below

  • Waveman

    I agree with JP, reasons aside, once one has chosen a side and decided to fight, all war is deception. This is especially true when your opponent includes well funded and supported agents of governments and corporations. There is nothing that Paul Watson is doing that his opponents aren’t doing as well, and if as you say Watsons efforts are ineffective, it proves that the other side is doing it better. I believe that the issue of whaling itself can’t really be resolved between both sides but consider the values that each side represents. For the most part people who whale do it for the money, and people who are against do it for any number of reasons any of which is not money. So anyone who cares must pick a side, then do whatever it takes.
    In terms of whether backing seas shepherd is the best bet for anti whaling supporters, I believe that this is a fight that needs to be executed on all fronts. If you prefer to work at the government cooperation level, such groups exist and can use your support, but f you prefer the direct action level, that is where Watson exists. I think that for any movement or action is most effective when used on all levels, anything less would be a waste.

    • Faroe Islander

      well people in the Faroes do not do it for money, but for food. and telling lies is not the right way to stop something. I live in the Faroe Islands, and I have been asked so many times when will the annual whale killing festival begin? at that point I just look at them and ask them if they are completly brain dead. there is no organized whale hunt in the Faroes, and nothing is planned. there can be years between when whales are killed. the whales swim in to the fjords and are spottet, by fishermen, farmers, people taking a wlak or people in cars, nothing organized, then they call the police chief of that region who then talks to the scientific dep in the Faroes, askes them, are they marked or do you want to mark them. then the ok is given. then they are killed and then devided between the people. everything that can be used is used, and the rest was sunk back into the sea. I say was, because  the sea shepperd mannaged to conince everyone that we kill whales for fun and then dump the bodies in mass underwater graves. so now we have to bury or burn them insted of returning what is left backt to the oceans eco system.
      also, there are an estimated population of between 600.000 to 1.250.000 pilot whales in the seas, and in the Faroes we kill on average about 600 a year, some years 1000 and some none. so if the whales stop reproducing it will take us about 650-800 years to wipe out the population, so to say that they are endangured is a lie.

      so the sea shepperd need to stop telling lies and start to be honest, just say that you are against it and that you belive that it should be stopped, and don’t star spreading all sorts of lies.
      I have talked to some of the crew members of the sea shepperds fleet, and they are ashamed that they actually belived the nonsence that Wtson told them.
      the only thing we as a nation want is to end all lies an talk togetter as equals 🙂

  • Madnesonman

    This is boring and really bad writing. 
    Your supposed to capture the reader. 
    You lost me. 
    I give up and am not going on to page two. 
    In the meantime, I’ll still believe in and support Sea Shepherd. 

  • I don’t necessarily think Paul Watson’s approach is good or bad… just different. We know that these corporation’s and government’s will talk and talk and talk while no change actually ever takes place. You can attack an organization at any number of levels… I have to commend Paul for his approach… you can try and talk a gunman into not shooting your friend… but you have to admire someone like Paul who steps in between you and the gunman.

    Maybe moving forward Paul should look into diversifying his approach… but he should not abandon his current approach either.

  • Justin

    for someone who tries to sound smart you truly are dumb and ill informed first ALCAT scientist have even said that blue fin tuna are now endangered of becoming extinct by the year 2015 if we don’t do something drastically and a few weeks before that incident they found a boat not on Alcats list of authorized fishing vessels fishing illegally or poaching only to have ALCAT come in and protect the vessel that was poaching.Second you stated that Watson boarded the shark boat that is far from the truth not 1 member of that crew left the shepherds boat.Third as for the cove and dolphins,before the documentary local cities and towns in Japan had dolphin meat in their school lunches after the film Japan took a close look and found a high amounts of mercury in the meat because of that documentary and pulled it from their schools.Finally the Sea Shepherds are not saying that Japanese whaling is not illegal BUT WHERE they are hunting is ILLEGAL because they are whaling in a protected sanctuary it would be like hunting in Yellowstone National Park in the USA where hunting is illegal.Whales reproduce every 3 years and in some whale species a male and female will mate for life .It takes a male whale 7-10 years to reach the age for mating for a female 5-7 years,so you do the math if you take 1,000 whales a year and it takes 3 years to reproduce depending on age and lets say you have 10,000 whales probably 1/3 of those are not at a mature or mating age that leaves you around 6,000 now after 3 yeas of hunting you are down to 3,000 now do the math and you can see how quickly you can extinct a species.For a so called writer you obviously do no research whatsoever and just go off here say without checking facts first.

  • the Little Prince

    The more I hear of Paul Watson, the more I wonder about his ’cause.’ Is it really about preserving whales…or is he merely a rebel, heralding himself to the world as an ‘animal activist’- meanwhile drawing on people’s sympathy & purse strings and rekindling some racism to support his gigantic and obvious hatred against the Japanese. I’ve noticed that Watson rarely says anything more against the Faroese people. Ha!! They put him in his place! They spoke with eloquence and honesty on the ‘whale wars’ episode when Watson and his crew crashed the Faroese Christian gathering. Watson and his followers appeared ridiculous overkill and a Circus Act in this episode. 
    I am sure it is easier for Paul Watson to lambaste the Japanese, as many of them do not speak English. The Faroese were able to effectively communicate and stand up for themselves in public. Although Watson is a Bulldozer- the Faroese revealed Watson for who he truly is… a little man with a big mouth and a Questionable cause.

    • TG

      Read Paul Watson’s post on the Facebook on 11 Mar 2011 few hours after tsunami killed 20K people in Japan claiming it was a punishment by Neptune a sea God. Tells me why he does what he does and why supporters support him. – read their comments on that post and you will see what I mean. Thank you.

  • bozo returns….
  • khoidoan1

    Only Greenpeace has gotten results. They’re the ones involved in the 1982 whale ban and have a large list of contributions and accomplishments.

  • khoidoan1

    Only Greenpeace has gotten results. They’re the ones involved in the 1982 whale ban and have a large list of contributions and accomplishments.

  • Nik

    This article to my eyes appears to be written by someone who has a personal issue with their own culture being under attack by a conservationist movement against something their own country is doing that is wrong, but they are in denial about it, so it’s information is biased, which means it’s like reading a lie written by any media out-put (paper, TV) – whether right or wrong what they say – because they CAN and have the forum for it. Utter tripe here, and Surfers for Cetaceans being a plausible alternative is a hilarious thing to say. You need to be aware you are Japanese and that SS do not like the Japanese because yes, most of them evidently do have a warped moral stance on life in some areas, especially with Sharks and using them for their libido or whatever, and no, Japan being a “co-sponsor of the International shark-fining ban” means zero – they still use their cultural history as the reasoning for STILL killing sharks regardless of sponsoring this so called ban – it’s the same with every government, words but no action – so i would look carefully at what you write here. This is not racism, this is a moral position under attack, and that is valid when a country is destroying something because it wants it to fulfill a cultural need – THAT is BS and has no valid forum, hence Paul Watson is coming in from that angle. Killing is wrong, there is no argument that is valid that makes it right, what ever the argument. You are Japanese yes? Well you are biased and so your stance makes sense, but what makes you think there is time to wait, to only write petitions, to only stand in the street with a placard saying “Stop killing sharks” when today it was shown in the worlds media that we are now killing over 100 million sharks a year and they will be extinct if we don’t do something NOW. By putting a comparison and asking people to make a choice between Surfers For Cetaceans or Sea Shepherd is like asking someone to compare a dinghy to a boat and quite ridiculous. I feel you should not write such biased twaddle like is here as it is too personal in my eyes, and is a form of YOUR prejudice, so not really appropriate. We need serious, VERY serious action to change things and at the moment, Sea Shepherd really are the only alternative that are doing this. If you showed a serious and plausible alternative I would take this article serious, but it should not be taken seriously because of your bias and shallow research.

  • Joseph Kool

    Outstanding article, sea shepperds are racist dirtbags.

  • Joseph Kool

    Paul Watson only cares about Paul Watson. Every word that comes out of that mans mouth is a lie. Don’t be so naive he’s not the person you want him to be.

  • The entire movement is about Cultural Imperialism. Because there is no scientific basis on which to oppose whale hunting. If anything, RMS is a huge win for Conservation — while countries like Australia, France, Spain, and Italy continue to ignore scientific advice in their own fisheries and drive species to extinction.
    All the currently existing whale hunts have scientific consensus from the worldwide community regarding their sustainability.

    Watson uses very classic and standard imagery and propaganda to incite hatred. Particularly in Australia and New Zealand where he directly tries to revive ANZAC Nationalism.
    SS regularly uses WWII imagery on their vessels, in their symbols, in their rhetoric, etc. Why else go on for months claiming Pete Bethune was a “Prisoner of War” when he was arrested for assaulting Japanese? Why write blog after blog equating the Southern Ocean to a WWII Japanese invasion? Anytime Watson is losing a debate on Japan, he defaults to WWII rhetoric. WWII has nothing to do with the issue. Propogating racism is also inherent in such War propaganda — the US preached that Japanese were subhuman monkeys throughout the war.

    SS’ approach is to dehumanize Japanese and justify violence against them.

  • “plundering of our oceans”

    Whale hunts are sustainable. They are Conservation.
    The issue has nothing to do with Environmentalism — it has everything to do with Cultural Imperialism.
    You don’t like that foreigners eat a different kind of meat. So you attack them. That’s it. That’s the entire issue. Your close-minded bigotry.

  • Paul Watson is a cult leader on par with Jim Jones. He is also a noted pedophile, which somehow people seem to overlook. He is also a flaming hypocrite who sends his “volunteers” out to get arrested while he hides in France eating cheeseburgers and begging Bridget Bardot for more money.

  • Adam Svenson

    Paul Watson is in this for Paul Watson…the real motives behind the man have become patently obvious in recent times. Once lauded as a champion of the marine conservation cause, this bloated narcissist is now being called into question by an increasing number of his fellow activists. Sea Shepherd is a cult, and whilst many of it’s volunteers are in it for the right reasons, Watson cultivates (no pun intended) and favours the “cannon fodder” – young, naively idealistic types who will hang off his every word and carry out his orders without question.They have a pack mentality and openly bully others, including other marine activists who don’t subscribe to the SS party line.

    Another guy tried the same thing back in Nazi Germany in the 30’s, firstly employing and mobilizing a gang of thugs called the SA or brownshirts as hired muscle, and then developing the SS (oh, the irony) to do his bidding. And yes, they took on the black and white “death’s head” logo as their own back then too. The parallels between this group of thugs and Watson’s SS are scary to say the least.

    Watson clearly has time on his hands to write long, rambling monologues, often firing snide broadsides at organisations such as Greenpeace, for their perceived inaction. He’s quick however to claim their victories as his own; he has implied on more than one ocassion that his own organisation Sea Shepherd were responsible for shutting down whaling in Western Australia in the late 70s. when In fact this was Greenpeace. This is but one distortion of the truth courtesy of Watson – he operates behind a smokescreen of lies and deception.

    Whilst it is my firm belief that there is a place for direct action in the weapon’s chest of the marine conservation activist, one also requires the nouce to know when to use it. Sadly the “cannon fodder” that Watson covets and draws around him lack this skill, blinded as they are by the perceived glam created by Sea Shepherd’s spin and docos like “Whale Wars”. Thus they are not clever enough to see that a change in tactics is warranted in places like Taiji and the Faroe Islands, where thuggery and direct action only serve to hinder the cause. But then of course this sensationalism plays into the hands of a large group of people whipped to a fever pitch by the SS propaganda spin and use of highly emotive “nerve words”…the killers/murderers/monsters. It’s no secret that the more this scenario is played out, the more Sea Shepherd gains in donations. This is an evil machine…beware.

  • gixargh

    I see your concern as a surfer, I would certainly be terrified of being attacked! I don’t think gill nets are the answer though because the nets are detrimental to all marine mammals who get stuck in them, including rays and whales; furthermore, the nets don’t actually stop all shark attacks since they allow for four meters of open water below the surface for boats to pass through so the sharks can swim right over them. The nets are used as a method of culling. That being said, a shark barrier, such as the ones used in China are known to decrease the amount of bycatch. The barriers are used as a method of exclusion, and sharks can not get past them so they are safer for the surfer as well as marine life.

  • TG

    Read Paul Watson’s post on the Facebook on 11 Mar 2011 few hours after tsunami killed 20K people in Japan claiming it was a punishment by Neptune a sea God. Then rethink why he does what he does and why supporters support him. Thank you.

  • TG

    Please read Paul Watson’s post on the Facebook on 11 Mar 2011 few hours after tsunami killed 20K people in Japan claiming it was a punishment by Neptune a sea God. And decide if you also think (amongst many SS supporters commenting to support his post) that those >20K (including my classmate’s fiance back home) deserve their death. And if you do, well, that’s who you are.

  • TG

    Read Paul Watson’s post on the Facebook on 11 Mar 2011 few hours after tsunami killed 20K people in Japan claiming it was a punishment by Neptune a sea God. Then rethink if you are or keeping being one of them. Thank you.

  • TG

    Good that you are on the subject. Sorry it was 3 yrs ago and I am only commenting on this now. The Cove has many frauds and hope you relised that. Do not believe because it’s “documentary”. Documentaries are the ones you have 1000 facts laid on the table, pick a dozen and assemble a story and say “This is the truth!”, well, what happened to 988 facts you didn’t even look at?? Did you realise at 10 sec in The Cove they showed frozen tuna in blurry images to make it look as if that’s how dolphins are sold in the fish market in Japan? Also did you run a fact check when they claimed the Japanese guy was fired by fishery department of Japan after making “anti-whaling” comments in the conference? He was never fired and fishery dept website says he is still working. 🙂

  • TG

    Read Paul Watson’s post on the Facebook on 11 Mar 2011 few hours after tsunami killed 20K people in Japan claiming it was a punishment by Neptune a sea God. And if you think the same I am saddened but that’s who you are. Thank you.

  • asbjørn poulsen

    and call us nazis ther have been 4 murders in my country in 100 years and the last 2 are done of forigners ther sith around 7 in jail fore small tings buth it explodes ween sea shepherd come driving and on drugs you do noth need to lock youer home or car ween you go outh or to work here so i think its peacefull

  • asbjørn poulsen

    way do you noth sign the competition to gedt sea shepherd stopped and paul watson trown outh of france its a competition made of people from reunion buth menny signs are from faroe islands ther are needed 276 more gedt some of youer frends to sign daron renaud

  • asbjørn poulsen

    ther are no plundering in faroe islands its sustainable wee harvest 0,2 % of the population of pilot wales and have done so fore 1200 years so that are no argument sea shepherd do noth save anny indangered wales or dolpins ther are some on the brink to extinction buth were are youer sea shepherd brett

  • Simon Tucker

    This presents no accurate rebuttals to the points raised by sea shepherd or any of of the other anti-whaling organizations. You can call Paul Watson whatever you like but he has stood steadfast for the whales since the 1960’s. Where is this articles heroes in the southern ocean/the Faroes/Norway/Costa Rica/Galapogas? Kudos to sea shepherds for putting their money where their mouth is

  • Katy Did

    Who is the racist here? Who is twisting history to support their agenda? This is not reporting, it is totally biased (and racist) propaganda.

  • Lauren S

    Watson is a vegan and every person that is on assignment either on land or sea is also not allowed to consume meat.

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