by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes, Internet
Tags: .

Paul Watson, the famed captain of the Sea Shepherd Society, recently sat down with Treehugger Radio and gave a really great interview. We encourage you to hit the entire conversation here, but below are some highlights:

How the public’s reactions to Sea Shepherd’s actions affect the group:

“Well, we’re really not too concerned about what people think about us because our clients happen to be whales and sharks and sea turtles and fish. So you know, we do what we do, and people either like it, or they don’t like it. They either like it passionately or they dislike us intensely. What we do out there is simply go out and intervene against illegal activities. We aren’t a protest group. What we are is an interventionist group. And we’ve never hurt anybody, but we’re quite aggressive.”

On the legality (or lack thereof) of the Japanese whale hunts:

“The Japanese say that they kill whales for scientific research, but nobody buys that argument. In fact, last month, New Scientist magazine rejected their science, saying that it had no validity. It’s all a commercial meat market—it’s all for sushi restaurants in Japan. A very small percentage of Japanese people eat it, but that’s enough to have a market. It brings in, if they’re successful, about $250-300 million a year. And we’ve managed to negate those profits for the last three years.”

On Sea Shepherd being labeled a “terrorist group” by some:

“We’re an extremely non-violent organization—33 years without causing a single injury, without sustaining any injuries, without being convicted of a crime. We’re not terrorists, we’re not criminals. Those are just labels. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether you’re saving whales or running for President of the United States these days, if people don’t like you they’re going to call you a terrorist. It’s become the most favored catch phrase of all time.”

For the full two-page interview, jump here.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Kristen’s Raw

    I love Sea Shepherd and think their work is amazing!!!!!

  • Adri

    I hope Captain Watson is right that they can stop the whalers in a couple more seasons. Go Sea Shepherd!

  • Whoever…

    You may disagree with his methods or intentions, but one thing is certain – he gets the job done!

    Sea Shepherd has been a thorn in the whaling industry for quite some time now.

    And at least they have the balls to fight for what they believe in. That’s what activism really is. I can’t say the same for some veg*ans and environmentalists who prefer to act all ‘peace and love’ and ‘let’s be tolerant towards everyone and everything’ and who do absolutely nothing to change things for the better – some of them just come on-line, point fingers at those who do act and accuse them of being extremists. Well, that’s not activism… If they don’t want to do anything, it’s their business but they don’t have the right to criticise those who do.

    And no, I’m not saying that we should all go out there and shoot animal eaters or something like that – I have to be very specific and clear, because there are some who don’t understand what they read and love to distort what other people write… –, but things must toughen up or else things will never change!

  • Native Woman

    Sea Shepherd Society does great work now, but I remain dismayed at their handling of the Makah indigenous whaling efforts and willingness to ally with anti-sovereignty politicians and groups. These have left a lasting, bitter rift between many Natives and animal rights activists, which is a shame. We are natural allies: most Natives, like animal rights activists, believe that animals have fundamental rights and are their own nations. Traditionally, they should not be killed unless there is necessity and the spiritual protocols for requesting their consent have been followed. Yet, by Watson attacking the Makah whaling efforts through anti-sovereignty means (such as lobbying for the U.S. to dishonor whaling rights acknowledged by treaty) rather than trying to form alliances with anti-whaling Makahs or among the Makah tribal council, he created a sense among many Natives that AR activists are all anti-Native. It’s a shame.

  • mperrine

    Captain Paul Watson is an extremist and could get his point across without putting so many humans lives on the line for his cause. Then in some of the most recent episodes of Whale Wars, after the fleet killed whales in front of Watson he acts childish by one trying to prevent the transfer of the whale to the processing boat and two by throwing the butyric acid. Both of these actions are to ruin the meat. This to me goes against what they should be doing. Those steps basically amount to letting the whale die in vain.

  • Radar

    Drop the nasty stuff from the copter.
    Hell buy a bigger copter and put tanks on the side and just wash those ah in the nasty stuff.

  • Stephanie

    I love watching Whale Wars!!!!!! GO SEA SHEPHERD!!!!!! Keep up the great work!!!!!!!

  • Georgia Dunn

    Go,go,go. You guys rock. Scientific research, what a load of crap. The japanese are just rapers of the oceans. They’d eat themselves if you let them. Maybe thats not such a bad idea, at least then the whales would be left in peace. Keep up the GREAT work. Stay Safe.Im proud of you all, as im sure the late, great STEVE IRWIN would be also.


    Thank god for people like Watson and all of the people on his ship. Never give up the fight Sea Shepherds, the whales need you. Whales are magnificent majestic creatures and we should all be alarmed at what the Japanese are doing. SAVE THE WHALES!!!!!!!

  • Rick Harvey

    Hey sea sheperds have you heard the story of david and goliath? David took down the giant with a sling (shot).I submit this idea to double or trible the range on launching your acid bottles, accuracy will also be better with a little practice.You take a funnel,2 lengths of surgical tubing doubled and attatch tubing to 2 sides of the now have a 3 man sling shooter and a person on either side holding the tubing stationary.The shooter pulls back the funnel with acid bottle on board, takes aim and lets go of funnel to launch projectile. by the way I have actually built this device and successfully launched water balloons without them breaking. Happy hunting

  • pamela


  • Captain Paul Watson

    Just dropped by to comment on a few of the comments. First we can’t drop objects from the helicopter. It is illegalto do so and the pilot would lose his license and the helicopter would lose it’s registration. Concerning the Makah, their proposed whaling was illegal under international law and had nothing to do with treaty rights. The treaty was between the U.S. and the Makah nation. The whales did not sign it and the whales are the victims. We represent the whales first. And we did ally with Makah Elders and we work closely with Native Americans today flying the flag of the Five nations presented to us by the Mohawks. The objective of our campaign is to cripple the Japanese whalers economically and we are doing that and blocking the loading of the dead whales is part of that strategy. As for whales dying in vain, I think that the whales would not choose to have their bodies profit the outlaw whalers from Japan. And finally Sea Shepherd has not been charged with any offense and we have not injured a single person in our campaigns over the last three decades. Our critics can call us all the names in the world but that fact remains unchanged. We intervene for the whales and not for people so we appreciate those who support us and quite frankly we give no credence to those who condemn us. Our business is saving lives and we have prevented the slaughter of some 1500 whales so far and cost the Japanese their profits for the last four years.

    Captain Paul Watson

  • sonia

    Well said Captain. I am one of those who supports your efforts and appreciates your willingness to put your lives on the line for the sake of the beautiful creatures of the sea. The interview was amazing and it’s good to know that Sea Shepherd does work in the Galapagos as well.

  • Orin

    Watched all the pouting boohooing and total lack of inaction. If you thought this was just a media opportunity then get your ass off the ship. Find yourself a retired Naval captain with command and tactics training. Be a lobbyist and get off the boat—there’s whales to save!

  • boss 302

    im speachless of what i just saw on tv.. with the ship pulling the body on the ship i dident know about that. and im shocked that its hapening.i wish that i could do something about it that would fix this asap !and if throwing cash at the prob would fix it i would. but i dont think that small actions will make it better “asap” . thairs got to be a way to take more action even on my part …ok sorry for ranting but i have a pissed off puppy that wants in the house…. keep up the good work and “go get em ” boss 302

  • Whoever…
  • Native Woman

    Sorry, man, but as a JD I can vouch there was and is nothing illegal about Makah whaling under international or Native law. Myself, I think whaling is wrong today, when there is no need to ask a whale to give itself to feed humans, but I also respect Makah Nation sovereignty and know the only productive way to approach this is respectfully, rather than allying with racist anti-sovereignty scum like your good pal Jack Metcalf.

    Incidentally, you can’t be working too closely or respectfully with Natives if you think there is a “Five Nations.” I assume you’re thinking of the Six Nations, the Haudenosaunee league. And *what* Mohawks? What traditional tribal government gave you the right to fly that flag?

    But, hey, I’m glad to see you’ve dumped the pseudo-Lakota spirituality you were trying to use to justify your alliance with racist anti-sovereignty groups back in Washington. (see ).

    Thanks for spoiling AR-Native relations for a long time to come. You’ve left a mess that is going to take a long time for pro-AR Natives to clean up and left the Makah Nation government more determined than ever to whale as an assertion of their sovereignty.

  • http://PaulShepard Jay’me Golden

    I disagree with those here who have said that it is a waste of the whales life if the meat is destroyed…that just doesnt make sense…it was a wasted to be destroyed in the first place and especially the way it was murdered, slowly, excruciating painful, shot in the head many times because the torpedo didnt work…I want the meat of the murdered whale destroyed, I see no reason for the japanese people to eat whale meat under the false lies of science. The japanese are not interested in whales whatsoever in a scientific way, only for the money. The japanese seem to eat anything that moves without concerns for what they are doing to the animal kingdom or the environment…I say spoil the meat, do anything the Sea Shepards can do to prevent them from taking the murdered whales body onto their ship for processing…

  • Native Woman

    Wow, there is a lot of stereotyping of Japanese people here. Not all Japanese people eat whales. Not all Japanese people support whaling. Not all Japanese people even eat meat. Essentializing an entire nation of people is a rather unhelpful attitude. A poster above says, “the japanese seem to eat anything that moves without concerns for what they are doing to the animal kingdom or the environment.” Do you think most citizens of your nation, whatever it is, do otherwise?

  • John

    I’m so pissed right now. This is the first time i’ve seen this show. And you and your crew are not to smart.. Trying to hand throw bottles from one ship to another is near impossible.. Come up with better way’s to complete your tasks. Slingshot’s work really good. WOW really get your thinking caps out and get it done. Or get someone who can. Your failing!!!

  • sosmember

    Native Woman is right. The problem with Japanese whalers is that they are whalers, not that they are Japanese. The Japanese have been eating whale for a long time, it is part of there culture. If the meat continues to be made available to them they are of course going to eat it. Vilifying an entire nation for the acts of a few is like me saying all the citizens of Jay’me Giolden’s home nation are all ignorant racist @$$holes. I think what Paul and his crew are doing is admirable and I wish them the best of luck.

  • Rick Ashmore

    All Paul Watson and his pack of wolfs are doing is putting more waste in the air from his fuel burning,Japan think he’s a joke, they just kill more whales when he stops them from loading them on there ships.The ONLY thing greenpeace has ever done right was to kick Watson out.

  • Jaylynn

    I wish that there were more people in the world like paul who is willing to put his life on the line for what they beleive in. I was horrified at what I saw and I hope it makes more people aware of what is really going on and want to at least donate and help the sea shepherds cause!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It looks like they really need all the help they can get!!!!!!

  • ricardo

    whale war is the best animal protection show in the world

  • Whoever…

    First of all, Japan’s scientific research is a load of crap:

    Secondly, all those (the evil defenders) who accuse Sea Shepherd and other real AR organizations of being eco-terrorists are nothing but a bunch of cowards. At least these people are fighting for what they believe in and in the case of SS they have never seriously hurt anyone.

    It’s so easy to point fingers when you’re comfortably sitting at home and doing nothing to change this world for the better. At least these people are out there putting their asses on the line fighting for their ideals!

    Oh, and Greenpeace should change its name to Greenbureaucraticpeace. They receive millions from their supporters but their campaigns are not efficient any more. Besides, they are becoming a bureaucratic and ‘soft’ organization incapable of fighting for this planet as they used to do!! Now all they think about is how much money they’re going to make with their next campaign…

  • tbro

    You can’t bomb an abortion clinic because you don’t like abortion. You can’t set fire to a condo complex because you don’t agree with urban sprawl. And you can’t ram somebody on the highway even if they do something illegal right in from of you. Same token, you can’t ram another ship because you don’t like whaling. I don’t like whaling but if Paul Watson gets someone killed through these premeditated and negligent acts, I hope he goes to jail for a long time. If a person can’t get their point across peacefully and legally without the use of violence or vandalism he should be condemned. Paul Watson’s actions will group him with all other violent ideologue vigilantes like Ted Kozinski, Timothy McVeigh and Mohammed Atta if he winds up killing someone. Save the whales! Legally! Don’t endanger innocent people in the process.

  • Joe

    tbro, Paul Watson is doing what the governments of all our countries are too afraid to: enforcing the world community’s own anti-whaling laws. If he doesn’t do it, no one will. The only people who are acting “illegally” are the Japanese whalers and our own governments who are violating their own laws by not taking action to enforce them. Also, I would just love to hear your various ideas for “peacefully” saving the whales. I’m sure that the criminal whalers in Japan and Iceland will just roll over and surrender if only we all put up a hugs and kisses left-wing peacenik banner. Give me a break and grow up. The world has already put in laws to stop whaling yet they are consistently ignored without enforcement. Think about it: if our societies did not have armed police to enforce the law, we would have anarchy (unchecked rape, murder and theft). The same thing on the high seas. Until the governments of the world set up their own police to enforce their own laws, I guess it’s up to concerned global citizens like the Sea Shepherds to do it for them.

    There is a war on to protect the innocent of this planet, the whales, and some like Paul Watson and crew have the guts to stand up for their beliefs while others preach sanctimoniously on the internet while doing absolutely nothing to help the problem. Future generations will remember this man as a great hero who stood up for their interests and protected their natural wealth against the great eco-criminals of our age.