The Liability of Being Effective

Commentary by Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

There is an unwritten rule in media that "if it bleeds it leads."

This puts Sea Shepherd Conservation Society at a disadvantage because we don't like to see whales bleed and during our entire history we have never witnessed the slaughter of a whale.

Whalers don't kill whales when Sea Shepherd is around. They are usually busy running away like the cowards they are.

I saw enough whales being killed when I crewed on the first Greenpeace whale campaigns back in 1975 and 1976. Bearing witness to slaughter is a submissive posture that I find both uncomfortable and distasteful. That is one of the reasons that I left Greenpeace because I was fed up with watching whales, dolphins, and seals die in agony.

There has been plenty of media coverage of the campaigns in Antarctica. I think it is certainly worthwhile that the public is exposed to the horrific brutality of the whale slaughter and in that area Greenpeace is doing a terrific job in getting these images back to land. It must be agonizing to have to watch the killing of whales and to know that you are helpless to stop the suffering or to prevent its death.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society does not film whales being killed so that puts us at a distinct disadvantage as far as publicity is concerned. This does not bother us overly much because we are not interested in becoming a large "all things to all people" membership organization. Our clients are not people but whales and we are down here to defend the whales. The people who join and support Sea Shepherd want to see whaling ended and they are not nit-picky about being polite about it.

We are not polite. We are effective.

However the lack of media coverage for Sea Shepherd compared to the attraction of the Greenpeace images has failed to convey one very important message. We have found the key to saving the whales from the illegal slaughter of the Japanese whalers.

We just need to show up. Three times we have approached the Japanese whaling fleet since December 21, 2005 and three times they have fled. Twice we found them drifting motionless with a Greenpeace ship drifting not so far away and twice they immediately gunned their engines and took off, steaming for days at a time to get away from the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat.

This is what they are doing now. They are 300 miles west of the area we located them on the morning of January 8 and they are still fleeing. They have now left the whaling area completely.

On January 9 we sideswiped and chased the whaling fleet supply vessel Oriental Bluebird out of the area and that vessel is also on the run. In other words we have seven Japanese vessels, the entire whaling fleet fleeing and not killing whales.

In total, we have caused the whaling ships to flee a total of over 15 days and during those 15 days they have not slaughtered whales. They only resume killing when they feel secure that they have lost us.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is also at a serious disadvantage because our ship the Farley Mowat, a North Sea trawler is much slower than the whalers. We need to secure a ship that can keep up with the Nisshin Maru. I believe that if we can keep up with them, that we will be able to block them and prevent them killing whales every single day.

There is plenty of money to be made from terrorizing and slaughtering whales. On the other hand, it is difficult to raise money to protect whales.

There are some who criticize our tactics but the fact is that we have never injured anyone and we have no intention of injuring anyone. We do, however, have no problem with attacking equipment which is being used for illegal activities.

We also note that there is little condemnation or comment from governments over the aggressive tactics of whalers. We find it hard to grant credibility to criticism from hypocrites.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not a protest organization. We are a marine wildlife conservation action organization. Our objective is to save and defend whales from illegal whaling. Our clients are whales and not people.

We are trying to do everything we can, short of injuring anyone, with the resources available to us to oppose a horrifically-inhumane illegal mass slaughter of protected and endangered whales inside a designated whale sanctuary.

We have no apologies for our tactics. They work. We have demonstrated that they work and there is no doubt the whalers are afraid of us. We want them to be afraid of us. We are not down in these hostile waters to pose and posture. We are here to do what we can to put an end to slaughter and suffering.

If any person, nation, media, or organization is in disagreement with this, it is irrelevant to us. Our mission is to uphold international conservation law in accordance to the principles established by the United Nations World Charter for Nature.

Please visit our Defending Whales Campaign page for more information.