Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Captain Paul Watson of Canada, a vegan, founded Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977 to investigate, document and enforce laws protecting marine wildlife when illegal conduct is observed at sea. The organization’s fleet of vessels closely monitor vulnerable ocean life across the globe and act when necessary to ensure the safety of the animals and thus the balance of the entire Earth’s ecosystem.
On July 24, Golden Year 7 (2010) Supreme Master Ching Hai honored Captain Watson with the Shining World Hero Award. This was followed by Her contributions of US$50,000 on April 18, Golden Year 8 (2011), and another US$20,000 in June Golden Year 8 (2011) toward defending marine lives. The letter accompanying the Award read in part as follows
“Captaining the Sea Shepherd and patrolling the oceans with your vegan crew, you protect and care for the magnificent mammals, our earthly co-inhabitants. Also, through environmental efforts, you raise ever-increasing awareness of the life-saving, sustainable vegan diet, helping to save our planet from the effects of climate change. Captain, you are a modern day hero, saving hundreds of whales and seals each year by defending them and uniting the world behind you, through your dedication and commitment. For your fearless sacrifice, for your strength of mind and fortitude in the face of danger, for your spirit, concern and tenacity and your passionate commitment for all life, we hereby applaud and celebrate the extraordinary and courageous deeds of an ecologist and environmental champion, Captain Paul Watson. With Great Honor, Love, and Blessings, Supreme Master Ching Hai”
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has a number of ongoing campaigns including one to prevent the extinction of the Bluefin tuna. Stocks of the tuna have fallen by at least 85% since the industrial fishing era began. The organization uses direct action so that illegal fishing trawlers do not continue destroying this precious species.
Defending dolphins is also a key objective for Captain Watson’s group. Each year Sea Shepherd members come to Taiji in Japan to try and stop the cruel annual dolphin slaughter, which was documented in the 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary “The Cove.” Over a thousand dolphins are massacred every year at Taiji in
In another sad plight, 90% of the world’s shark population is now gone due to fishing and the practice of shark finning, which entails catching sharks, slicing off their fins, and then throwing them back into the ocean where they die a slow, painful death. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has formed a partnership with the Ecuadorian government to patrol the waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve in the
Sea Shepherd’s valorous efforts to halt the brutality of whaling are known globally. The group’s activities are the subject of a highly popular reality television series called “Whale Wars” that premiered in 2008 on the Animal Planet channel. Sea Shepherd ships vigorously pursue whaling vessels and disrupt their barbaric hunting activities. Over the years the lives of thousands of whales have been saved thanks to Sea Shepherd’s vigilant protection.
ea Shepherd also conducted the 2011-2012 campaign Operation Divine Wind, which focused on shutting down whaling in the 50 million-square-kilometer Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, where whaling was made illegal by the International Whaling Commission in 1994. Operation Divine Wind was a tremendous success with 768 whales saved and the whaling season shortened by two weeks due to Sea Shepherd’s interventions.
Currently in its ninth campaign for the whales in the Antarctic region, Sea Shepherd has launched its largest and strongest Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign ever: 2012-2013 Operation Zero Tolerance. With four ships, one helicopter, three drones, and 120 international crew members, Operation Zero Tolerance’s objective is to halt the illegal whaling operations without the loss of a single whale. Captain Watson and the flagship Steve Irwin crew arrived in the
Of this bold campaign, Captain Watson stated, “As always, our actions are undertaken in the Buddhist spirit of Hayagriva, where we do not cause physical injury to our opponents. We target their intentions and thwart their lethal ambitions, but we never harm them.”
To further the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s defense of whales around the globe, on February 16, Golden Year 9 (2012) Supreme Master Ching Hai contributed US$100,000 to the organization. Soon after, Captain Watson sent letters sincerely thanking Master, saying,
“Your incredibly generous support for our efforts is more appreciated than I can fully express. You have made it possible for us to achieve the impossible and you have provided the material and essential resources to drive our crew of passionate volunteers to courageous efforts to defend endangered life in our oceans.
On behalf of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, I would like to extend our deep appreciation to you for your very generous donation. It is only through the continued support of concerned citizens such as yourself that we are able to persist in our efforts to protect our planet’s marine wildlife.”
Captain Watson further described Sea Shepherd’s recent accomplishments:
“Looking back it has been an incredible year that began with Operation No Compromise cutting the Japanese whaling fleet whale kills by 83%. This was followed by Operation Blue Rage 2 to stop poachers from poaching Bluefin tuna off the coast of Libya, followed by Operation Desert Seal to oppose the clubbing of Southern Fur seals in Namibia, followed by Operation Ferocious Isles that prevented the Faeroese whalers from killing a single pilot whale during July and August of last year, followed by our current ongoing Operations Infinite Patience in Taiji to protect dolphins, and Operation Divine Wind to stop the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”
Then, in October Golden Year 9 (2012), Sea Shepherd sent to Master a beautifully crafted model of its flagship vessel, Steve Irwin, as a special token of gratitude. This inspirational gift, which has been given only to a very few honored recipients, reminds everyone who sees it of Sea Shepherd’s dedicated noble endeavors.
Bravo Captain Paul Watson and all Sea Shepherd Conservation Society staff and volunteers for your courageous acts to safeguard gentle marine life. May your heroic actions meet with outstanding success, as we work together to create a planet of peace and freedom for all its inhabitants, with Heaven’s blessings.
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