Whale Wars logo for Animal Planet
by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes, Entertainment, Film/TV.

While the promotion given the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society via the hit reality series “Whale Wars” has been priceless, it appears that the group has managed to squeeze some cash out of cable TV execs.

An annual charity return by the SSCS says that reality TV producers paid $750,000 in 2010 for “access” to the group’s activities; an amount that covered the fuel required for the conservation org’s Southern Ocean anti-whaling campaign.

Paul Watson said earlier that 2010′s Operation No Compromise campaign cost roughly $4M total.

In 2010, the group brought in revenue of $11.4M, ending the year with assets of $6.2M. From the article,

“The society’s chief financial officer, Nicholas Makhani, said 84 per cent of the income came from individual donors, and 16 per cent from merchandise sales. The annual return said $8 million was spent on ”program services” – that is, the organisation’s charitable functions. The rest, $3.4 million, covered administrative and fundraising expenses.”

Salaried employees of SSCS earn between $30K-$60K, while founder Paul Watson is paid $96,000. ”But I brought in $180,000 last year in appearance fees and royalties, which I gave back,” the 61-year-old told TheAge.com.au.

One other interesting tidbit - Doug Tompkins, co-founder of the global clothing brands Esprit and North Face, paid an additional six-figure fuel bill.

Since Animal Planet expanded the “Whale Wars” brand in 2011, I expect that $750K number will jump when returns are filed next year.

For additional details, check out The Age report 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 →
  • romika3

    Well, well Mr. Watson. I seem to remember you stating publicly that you and the SSCS organization received no money from Animal Planet. Another lie buddy and it further supports the contention that the SSCS is all about getting the “footage” and reality floating TV set and it seems all you have done this year is focused on getting next season’s footage!!!!

    • Claire

      Do you have proof that AT THE TIME Paul Watson stated that Sea Shepherd was getting money from Animal Planet?? Didn’t think so :)

      I only see it as fair that AP donates some money to SSCS, especially to cover their large fuel cost for all 3 ships.

      • romika3

        It is either on Youtube or in an editorial. If I have the time I will search for it.

  • romika3

    “Doug Tompkins, co-founder of the global clothing brands Esprit and North Face, paid an additional six-figure fuel bill.” my days of buying North Face are over….

  • Dagmar

    I assume the show makes millions for the network. Would you prefer Animal Planet keep all the Whale Wars profits? Or some of the funds getting pumped back into the organization which makes the show possible? I guarantee no one at the nonprofit is getting rich off the meager Animal Planet contribution.

  • sidewinder

    SS deserve all the money they can get whether this is true or not who cares. The bigger issue is these whaling scum bags wiping out whales with their high tech ships. What a HUGE waste of tax payer money and disaster funds. An absolute disgusting disgrace Japan is….

    • truthbroker

      Why all your contempt for Japan? There are a dozen countries still actively whaling, some with quotas from the IWC, some in defiance of them because they are not bound by its rules. Russia kills 140 gray whales a year, which have a significantly smaller population than the Minkes the Japanese take. The problem is, you’ve bought into the hype and lies spread by the SSCS and their head goon, Paul Watson. The reason he only bothers the Japanese is because if he goes to any of the other whaling countries, he’ll be arrested.

      • Dagmar

        1. Japan is whaling in International waters not their own territory
        2. SSCS has active campaigns all over the world

      • romika3

        “SSCS has active campaigns all over the world” lets see. He attacks Canadian sealers. The harp seal in not endangered, the harvest is legal, managed, and sustainable with a population approaching 10 million. But blood on ice brings in money and he ignores the six species of endangered seals one of which is in his own backyard, the monk seal in Hawaii. He attacks the people of the Fareo Islands who harvest pilot whale from a healthy and sustainable population. Blood and water brings in big bucks. He rammed legal tuna fishermen in the Med because he “felt” they had illegal tuna. He sends his nut cases to Tiaji to abuse and name call fishermen. Yes he does have active campaigns all over the world what a man, what a conservationist!!!

    • romika3

      What you don’t know is that the majority of the whales taken are minke. Check the harvest statistics from the last two years. There are other counties that take a greater number of ENDANGERED WHALE SPECIES. Did you ever wonder why you don’t see Watson filming him reality show in those places….

  • Anonymous

    Before I watched the show; I was against whaling After watching the show, and see how embarrassingly incompetent the sea shepard crew is; Im voting for the Japanese.

  • Soco73

    They do not kill sperm whales. You are making that up.

    • Aegisowl

      In the North Pacific they do.

  • romika3

    Perhaps you might post the numbers here. There is a difference between hunting and taking……

  • Florian Radke

    Congratulations to SSCS to be able to turn around corporate money and use it to protect animals. Whale Wars is a powerful public relations tool already to raise awareness about the issue that no one really cared about before the show started. Being able to get even more out of this production in corporate and private donations is a good thing for the whales. Even if you don’t agree 100% with the campaign tactics of SSCS and Captain Watson, no other organization has managed to bring this topic in that big of a spotlight all over the world.

  • Crwler

    So Paul Watson made over $275,000 dolars last year. Thats means that he is part of the evil 1%. Sea Shepherd is a multi-million dollar corporation that will soon be losing its tax excempt status. They a more a political action committe than an animal rights orginization. I think we need to “Occupy Sea Shepherd”. Non-profit? Hardly.

  • romika3

    oops, take a look at your data. There is a difference between kill quota and the number of whales taken. Go back an give us the REAL numbers of whales taken.

    • sidewinder

      Fin Whale (ENDANGERED): kill quota of 50 per year
      Humpback whale (ENDANGERED): kill quota 50 per year

      No one knows how many Fins/Humpbacks are killed. I think 2 Fins whales were killed last season. But as for the rest of them they are KILLS… it is there in black and White.

      • romika3

        First kill quotas mean nothing and “I think” doesn’t count here. Paul Watson is notorious for this, I think these are “illegal” so I will ram them. Perhaps somebody can post the real data here. I know that the majority are minke and the numbers of endangered whales taken have been decreasing.

    • Jonny_Ringo55

      I take the greenpeace comment back…. I think you are Japanese…

  • Crwler

    ” 1% corporate greed mob out to make money to line their own pockets”? Really? So when company provides goods or sercives and is fortunate enough to make a profit, what should they do with the money? Give it away? Hard to stay in business that way. I assume when you go to work, you do it to “line your own pockets”. There is nothing wrong with making a profit. The world runs on profit, except for a few places, like North Korea and Cuba. Don’t see people lining up to get in there, they risk their lives to get out. Apparently you missed the sarcasm in my original post.

    • sidewinder

      calm down crawler…you have missed the point.

  • Whitesideddolphin

    …and still they have made no discernible dent in whaling (http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=6156). But hey, they’re raking in lots of money, getting media attention and they HAVE succeeded in alienating the Japanese even further so they’ll be even less cooperative during the next IWC talks….Watson is an incompetent, egocentric, spotlight addicted maniac with no regard for anything or anyone but himself. But then being a real conservationist rather than an eco-terrorist with a major contract with a glossy television channel doesn’t pay as well I guess….

  • sidewinder

    What about them? They are a disgrace too… What is your point? We are talking about the Japan & the Southern Ocean here…

    • romika3

      My point is that Mr. Paul Watson is only in the southern ocean because he can get away with what he pleases and for no other reason.

  • romika3

    There is no anger only discuss in terms of how he and his organization states that they are a conservation organization when in reality they are a terrorist organization that select issues based on their money and media potential. He preys on fishermen, who he hates, and preys on the pocket books of those who do not know the difference.

    • Jonny_Ringo55

      I am gonna guess you are from GreenPeace lol

  • romika3

    Sorry to disappoint you but you know nothing of who I am and if Watson knew he’d shit his pants…..

  • romika3

    The fact is they do take endangered whales but so do other countries. If you look at the numbers they take very few. But Watson is there because he can get away with murder and make reality TV….

    • Jonny_Ringo55

      He was there 5 YEARS before the show started! obviously not for fame. He even admits that more press and publicity is better and it is true. without the show I never would have become involved

  • Tomas Smith

    I found David’s comment to be refreshing and illuminating.