In light of the newly revealed “Blackfish” organization cutting nets holding dolphins in Taiji earlier this week, Captain Paul Watson has written an article clarifying what little the Sea Shepherd know about the European conservation group.
“Who and what is blackfish? We do not know,” writes Watson. “In fact, until the report that dolphin holding pen nets had been cut in Taiji harbour and a release to that effect was posted, we had never heard of this group.”
What’s odd about this statement is that all of the Blackfish co-founders: Arne Feuerhahn, Christine Bindal, and Wietse van der Werf — are current (as of this summer) Sea Shepherd crew members. Even more revealing is the fact that the crew of the Sea Shepherd on the ship MV Bob Barker posed for a photo back in late August holding up a banner supporting a then-current Blackfish campaign.
So yes, we’re pretty sure the Sea Shepherd have heard of Blackfish.
Regardless, Watson is attempting to distance the Sea Shepherd from the net-cutting so that the media (and Japanese fishermen) do not confuse the actions of one for the other.
“The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society believes that opposition to the slaughter of the dolphins in Taiji must include a diversity of approaches,” writes Watson. “We support all groups opposed to this slaughter and it is not up to us to judge, to condone nor condemn the methods of other groups and individuals. The mission of Scott and Elora West in Taiji is to observe, document and report. Sea Shepherd has no intention of committing any illegal actions at Taiji.”
SS may not have a hand in any future illegal actions in Taiji — but conveniently, they have a group in Blackfish that’s not bound by such mission statements. If Paul Watson and Co. really don’t want people mixing Sea Shepherd up with Blackfish, they may want to do a better job of making that clearer online. To start with, Wietse van der Werf may want to change his Twitter profile bio. (Update 10/1: Wietse has updated his profile to read “former Sea Shepherd crew member”)