'60 Minutes' spotlights humpback whale conservation and Sea Shepherd, interviews Captain Paul Watson
by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes.
Photo: hecke61 / Shutterstock.com

On last night’s show, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” aired a segment on the recovery of humpback whales populations after years of conservation work and the outlawing of commercial whaling.

The segment also featured discussion and footage of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s hotly-debated anti-whaling campaigns in the Southern Ocean. While Sea Shepherd’s crew returns to oppose the hunt each year, Japan continues to hunt and kill whales in Antarctica despite the ban on commercial whaling. Japan maintains that their whaling operation is conducted for research, and therefore allowed by the International Whaling Commission. “60 Minutes” reports, “This battle is fought in the last place where humpback whales are considered “‘endangered.’”

The show featured an interview with Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson, who made a rare appearance from his current home: the ocean. Since a Red Notice issued by Interpol at the requests of Japan and Costa Rica, Watson has remained in international waters. While a Red Notice is not necessarily an arrest warrant, it is a request to all Interpol member nations to identify the subject of the Red Notice and determine if they should be arrested and extradited. If you’re wondering how he’s doing out there at sea, Watson said, “Well it’s a pretty nice prison. It’s you know– I don’t mind being on the ocean. It’s a beautiful place and certainly the citizens out here tend to be more peaceful.”

Watson told the show, “The simple fact is this, if the oceans die, we die. Sea Shepherd was set up to uphold those international laws and regulations protecting our oceans.” Called a “vigilante” and asked why he would not let governments uphold the laws, Watson responded, “Because I want to survive. And I want to make sure that my children survive. And I’m not going to sit back and watch the oceans be destroyed because governments don’t have the political or economic will to uphold these laws…There is no scientific basis for what they’re doing. We have seen them take a whale onto the factory vessel. There’s no scientist there. There’s nobody measuring anything. They simply cut them up, send them down below, and package them. This is not science. It’s bogus.”

Sea Shepherd says that they are not a vigilante organization, but interventionists who take non-violent action under the United Nations World Charter for Nature, which they say allows this action by non-govermental organizations in defense of nature. The organization maintains, “Sea Shepherd is a tireless advocate for the enforcement of international treaties, laws, and regulations protecting marine species and their environment, and does not hesitate to act to enforce these legal charters as circumstances require…Sea Shepherd operations have been successful around the globe intercepting poachers in the Galapagos Islands, shutting down illegal whaling operations in numerous oceans, blockading sealing ships, rescuing dolphins in Japan, patrolling beaches in the Caribbean to stop turtle poaching, and confiscating illegal driftnets and longlines all over the world.”

Along with a focus on Sea Shepherd’s anti-whaling efforts, the “60 Minutes” also highlighted non-lethal humpback research by marine biologist Nan Hauser who has studied the whales in their feeding grounds at Rarotonga for 16 years.

Sea Shepherd will also be present at the United Nations World Energy Day tomorrow. Sea Shepherd USA’s Susan Hartland and Sea Shepherd Global’s Captain Alex Cornelissen will be speaking about how the organization is working with governments and law enforcement to fight poaching and other illegal exploitation of ocean life and habitats.

Check out the segment below:

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

View all posts by Jennifer Mishler →
  • James Casey

    it was a moving and powerful segment…

    • Ramtane Lamamra

      It sounds like laymen are all the anti-whaling movement has these days. Well, laymen and wanted criminals. Perhaps an intellectual, academic, scientist or educated person in the ranks would help the cause?

      • Penny Scioneaux

        YOU NEED HELP!!

      • Penny Scioneaux

        you not my friend are not an intellectual!!!! by far

  • Penny Scioneaux

    THIS MAN IS AWESOME!!!WISH I COULD DO WHAT HE DOES IN THE HOPE ALL THIS ANIMAL ABUSE WILL COME TO AN END!!! I LOVE YOU PAUL AND SUPPORT EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR!!! STOP ANIMAL ABUSE!! STOP ANIMAL CRUELTY!!! STOP PUPPY MILLS!!!STOP KILLING THESE BEAUTIFUL WHALES!!!

    • Ramtane Lamamra

      Penny, over towards the left of your keyboard there’s a little button with “Caps Lock” written on it. Can you please press it for us, just once?

      • Penny Scioneaux

        NO THANK YOU!!IDIOT!!

      • Ramtane Lamamra

        I say, aren’t you the rambunctious type! Like peas in a pod, you and young Ray. Well, I was just asking and I acknowledge your response. Good day to you.

      • Penny Scioneaux

        Get a life!!! Have nice things to say!!You will be a better person!HAVE A NICE DAY!! IDIOT!

  • Karl Malloy

    This report is a little goofy, for one thing Watson is not an American (in b4 idiotic “American doesn’t mean US citizen” rants). And to call the whole thing “Saving the Humpback”, focus half of it on Japanese whaling, while explicitly pointing out in the middle that Japan doesn’t kill humpbacks is like me advertising a new Cadillac for sale but considering that OK because I later make clear that it’s a used Kia.
    However, the treatment of Watson’s activities makes it pretty clear who he is. He’s unrepentant – and the important point that once anyone at all can declare themselves to be the interpreter of the law, all are beyond the law and the law loses all power, is unexplored. Activists, please work within the law and rely on authorities to enforce it – consider all the wonderful environmental successes we as a society have achieved over time in so doing.

    • Karl Malloy

      And what’s up with that blond hair dye job? Who does that – and to think that it was done on the open ocean! lol

      • Ramtane Lamamra

        Indeed! I didn’t notice it first time around. Paul Watson a peroxide blonde – remarkable. He’s got to fill in his days somehow. How much donated money is it costing to keep him on the run anyway?

    • PokerRay

      Which environmental “successes” should we be considering? What “successes” have been achieved without activism? And please enlighten us to the authorities that are patrolling the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Name and nationality please.

      • Karl Malloy

        Not without activism, without violent vigilantism. Reforestation of the United States, cessation of use of DDT, air quality improvements, repopulation of Humpbacks from 5,000 at low to nearly 100,000 today, etc, etc.
        Enforcement through the law means the legal case at ICJ that Australia has brought against Japan which NZ has joined. If a violation is found, enforcement will be through the appropriate multinational authorities.
        If we don’t work through the law and the courts way, anybody at all could decide that you using quotes around the word successes was a violation of law, because they personally get to decide what is a violation of law, and attack you physically over it. The law and its proper enforcement by authorized officials is the only thing that keeps us from open violent conflict all the time. If you need greater understanding of that, I direct you to the excellent book “The Better Angels of our Nature” by Steven Pinker.

      • PokerRay

        What is with people not answereing the questions put to them around here? Name the authority that will patrol the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary by organization, mandate and nationality. What are their numbers, types of craft and range? Do they have the power to arrest and detain? What court do perpetrators answer too?
        Sitting on your ass, reading a book is fine for compressing cushions. But once you get up and look out the window, you’ll see that neither you or your book accomplished anything.

      • Ramtane Lamamra

        His response was actually very good – well considered, informed and rational. Yours, not so much. You came across as childish, strangely emotional and slightly demented.
        And your facetious question is redundant. If indeed there is such a thing as the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, then it does not require “enforcing”. That’s because, at present, no one is violating its rules.
        You see, all whales harvested within its boundaries are taken according to relevant objections and exceptions. You may not like it, but it’s perfectly legal.
        The only illegality here is the violence of Sea Shepherd, but that will be dealt with in the courts soon enough.
        But child, have you ever considered sitting on your ass and reading a book? By the sounds of it, it would do you a world of good.
        Hugs
        Ramtane.

      • PokerRay

        Sweetcheeks, I would be happy to compare my compilation of books to yours any time you like. Your collection of Harlequin romances won’t count, but feel free to include them.
        Smarmy and self-absorbed are easily spotted in your numerous replies here. A slight hint, you are nothing new to Ecorazzi or the internet.
        Enforcenent on the Southern Ocean is desperately needed to halt any harvesting of whale unless it is done for RESEARCH purposes. The whalers in question are not conducting any peer-reviewed or accepted RESEARCH whatsoever. This fact has been established and re-established ad infinitum, here and everywhere else. So, once you get your nose out of the air and bent back into shape, you will see that your above schlock-fest is yet another turd in the punchbowl that is the Comment section of this site.

      • Karl Malloy

        “Childish, strangely emotional, and slightly demented” – nailed it there Ramtane.
        Not to mention illogical, implying that I simply MUST respond to his question (by the way it wasn’t even a question, but an imperative), while championing illegal vigilante action at the same time. Yes, Paul Watson doesn’t need to follow laws, but I need to be 100% responsive to someone I don’t know on the internet – someone who didn’t even bother to respond to my comments, instead choosing to mount readily defeated arguments, engage in name calling, and generally embark on the low road.

      • Ramtane Lamamra

        My, quite the feisty young fellow aren’t you! Such vigour, excitement and emotion with which to explore the bright new world out there. These are the joys of youth, dear boy, and I do hope you appreciate them while you can.

        But do try to keep your mind open to ideas different to your own. As you emerge from trials and tribulations of adolescence, your opinions will change. The incontrovertible truths you see now will fall away and reveal another reality entirely. Some things you now hold dear and feel to be important may turn out not to be so.

        Who knows, ten years from now, the moratorium on commercial may be lifted and a legal sustainable harvest could be uncontroversial and accepted. And you may sigh and grudgingly accept it, yet wonder what all your youthful rage was really about.

        It’s growing up, child – it’s an exciting, and at times emotional experience. Just keep your mind open to new ideas, accept that things change. Especially opinions. And keep your chin up and be positive, even when things turn out differently from how you would like.

      • Karl Malloy

        No sense in having a moratorium on minke even today. It’s like having a ban on deer hunting because caribou are endangered.

      • Ramtane Lamamra

        Quite right, Karl. The legality of the moratorium itself is actually questionable. As with the so-called “Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary”, it needed to have a scientific basis to be implemented under the ICRW – as per Article V(2). But there was absolutely no scientific basis for either of them. So it is probably that neither of them are, strictly speaking, legally valid.
        Regardless though, the tide is surely turning away from the prohibitionist agenda. The ICJ will soon confirm the legitimacy of JARPA II, Sea Shepherd is being strangled in the courts, its leader is a criminal fugitive on the run from the law, and general interest in the anti-whaling fallacy is fading rapidly. I suspect it won’t be too long until the situation is normalised and the moratorium is junked. Then this whole misunderstanding will be resolved.

  • romika3

    For a man who claims he would give his life for whales, you have to ask the question why is he hiding out. Watson has a record of running when the heat is on…….. Time to support another conservation organization that doesn’t waste their money keeping a nut case at sea….

    • Karl Malloy

      No point in supporting Sea Shepherd US these days anyway, their money can’t go to activities in the southern ocean. Although it does occur to me that Paul, on this very interview, gives the 9th circuit court a lot of ammunition showing that he is very directly involved with the activities down there, despite playing a game by “stepping down” because of the US court order banning him from interfering with the Japanese.
      Comeuppance is on the way when the 9th circuit weighs in next on this, Paul. Hope you are ready, even though your only defensive weapon, a press release, won’t help you much.

  • romika3

    A further note. There is a relationship between Watson’s presence in the Southern Ocean and the Japanese continuing the whale harvest. You don’t bring about change by attacking and demonizing a culture as Watson does……

    • PokerRay

      You’re implying that if SSCS had never interferred with the SO whalers, there would no longer be any SO whaling?!? Are you really comfortable coming off this stupid? Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than comfortable calling you stupid. I’m asking, are you this comfortable in your proactively removing all doubt?

  • romika3

    SSCS’s mission is to stop fishing of which it disapproves. Its preferred methods? Ramming and sinking fishing ships, throwing butyric acid on their decks, and firing machine guns. Watson argues that United Nations resolutions authorize him to commit violent acts. But he regularly interferes with fisherman and hunters who are committing no crime. He serves as judge, jury, and executioner — while enjoying the same tax-exempt status as universities and churches.

  • romika3

    Watson also has a seething hatred of the people whose livelihood he threatens. He’s an elitist who, despite his upbringing among maritime fishermen, has no sympathy for those who make their living from the ocean. He begins his book Seal Wars by calling Canadian sealers “the uneducated and the institutionally unemployed,” “barbarians,” and “piss-drunk on cheap booze.”

    • PokerRay

      Wow rommy….4 in a row! You ate your seal blubber flavored Wheaties this morning, didn’tcha?
      Watson has never made a single statement condemning lawful, regulated fishing. He has never condemned any viable, sustainable fishing industry. I have family and friends in the commercial fishing industry, and they have family and friends in the commercial fishing industry. On the whole, these people have an overall positive opinion of Watson and the goals he is trying to achieve. And I have known extremely few REAL commercial fishermen who have any respect for killing whales and/or seals. So enough of this utter bullshit that Canadian sealers are legitimate fishermen. They are not.

      • Karl Malloy

        He has also had his ship confiscated by the Canadian Coast Guard, in what Watson termed “an act of War”. How’d that war turn out for you, Paul? What, the ship was kept by Canada and sold off by auction? I’m sure that’s what REAL commercial fishermen revere him for. Paul works in greener pastures now, where no one can hold him to account. He’d be in jail if he had kept up his activities in Canada, but he is staying just ahead of jail by playing the international waters pirate game.

      • PokerRay

        I don’t recall him saying it was an act of war. On several occasions he called it a way to get rid of a boat he no longer wanted….at the Canadian government’s expense. Nice try, rewriting history btw. And yes, he IS in greener pastures, he IS in international waters, and he ISN’T being arrested. You get to play your bullshit legal distinctions, I get to play mine….and Watson is playing his.
        How’s it going with that book you’re reading?

      • Karl Malloy

        It was a nice try by Paul to rewrite history – but he didn’t even bother to rewrite the sea shepherd website, where the quote is found today in an April 12, 2008 story.
        “This is an act of war,” said Captain Paul Watson. “The Canadian government has just sent an armed boarding party onto a Dutch registered yacht in international waters and has seized the ship. Considering that the mission of the Farley Mowat was to document evidence of cruelty by sealers to support a European initiative to ban seal products, I can predict that the Europeans will not be very pleased with this move and most likely this move by Loyola Hearn will guarantee that this bill is passed. In other words the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has just handed us the victory that we were looking for.”
        How did that work out for you, Paul? Lost your ship, tried to rewrite the history of the episode (sounds a bit like the scuttling of the Ady Gil and the settlement you had to pay in that lawsuit, no?), but only fooled PokerRay.

      • PokerRay

        You are quite the confused little inbred cretin, aren’t you. Would you care to put down the Crayolas long enough to decide if your hissy fit is about the Mowat being boarded, or about being confiscated? See, out here where fingerpainting doesn’t rule the day and we don’t raise our hand to go to the bathroom; these are separate incidents and subjects. I know, I KNOW Karl, it’s such a confusing world for one such as you. Be nice to the teacher, compliment her with something like, “Nice tooth”, and maybe she’ll put away the dunce cap and actually explain the real world to you for a change.

      • Karl Malloy

        You think I’m confused, while you are apparently ignorant of the fact that the seizure of the ship was permanent, leading to the confiscation and auction as I described before. There’s even a Wikipedia page for the ship (Farley Mowat) describing the events, but why would you fact check when you can simply make things up and then argue against them.
        Keep debasing yourself by name calling and childishness, it helps clarify for the casual reader which side to take in the debate.

      • romika3

        “You are quite the confused little inbred cretin, aren’t you. Would you care to put down the Crayolas long enough to decide if your hissy fit ” a typical response by a member of the SSCS…..

      • romika3

        “I have known extremely few REAL commercial fishermen who have any respect for killing whales and/or seals.” really, what world do you live in?

        “So enough of this utter bullshit that Canadian sealers are legitimate fishermen. They are not.” really. The many sealers I know are fishermen, are required to take a training course on the proper techniques to harvest and require a permit with a quota attached…….

      • PokerRay

        The world that I lived in was the Pacific NW and Alaska. I have family in both states, one family member has been a commercial fisherman on and off for decades. Through him, I personally know no shortage of bonafide fishermen. I am more than happy to admit reality in that opinions are varied about whale hunting, with the (over 50 percent) majority being just fine with SSCS in the Southern Ocean.
        The overwhelming majority loathe seal hunters (butcherers, slaughterers) and do not consider them fishermen at all. And many statements mirror what Watson said. They are lazy drunks that can’t find a real job and shouldn’t be termed as fishermen.
        Watson may be hiding out in international waters, but you have been hiding out far longer in your little shack in Nova Scotia, hiding from the real world.

      • romika3

        ” but you have been hiding out far longer in your little shack in Nova Scotia, hiding from the real world.” When member of the SSCS are unable to respond to a comment they resort of personal attack. Typical and not unexpected……

      • PokerRay

        Rommy, you have made personal attacks against people for the 3+ years that I’ve known you. And you lack basic comprehension. Not only was I able to respond, I did respond. I am not a member of SSCS. And everything I said is true. REAL fishermen think seal butchers are repugnant and cowardly.

    • Ramtane Lamamra

      What’s all the fuss about sealing anyway? Are the seals actually endangered, or is this just more of the “survival of the cutest, bring in the big bucks for Sea Shepherd” nonsense?

      • PokerRay

        Are kittens and puppies endagered? What’s going to happen if you walk up to either one and bash their heads in? Are pit bulls and rottweilers endangered? If not, what’s the big deal with dog fighting operations? Are people endangered? Shall we hope for more wars?
        There is no such thing as a necessary seal product. In this day and age, their pelts are obsolete as protective clothing, their meat is next to inedible and there is not one valid reason to continue slaughtering them. Not one.

  • Karl Malloy

    Ha. Anyone who reads the links I posted to Paul calling it “An Act of War” when it was seized and then the later claims by SSCS that it was planned all along can see one thing only: a public relations spin master at work. Nice try, Paul, but maybe this is why you don’t interfere in Canada still – spin doesn’t work in court.

  • Hiro Punch

    Yourtube search by “sea shepherd lies and violence” and check the news report video there. That’s close to the reality of Sea Shepherd and that is the journalism. This 60 minutes guy just wanted to have a vacation on the sea by the production cost. No substance or significant infrmation here.

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