Adbusters Features Sea Shepherd

The Special End of the Year issue of the revolutionary magazine Adbusters features a one-page profile on Captain Paul Watson.  On the opposite page is a profile of Sea Shepherd Advisory Board member Dave Foreman.  Both profiles were written by Nicholas Klassen.

For those who do not have access to Adbusters, the text of the article is copied below:

Paul Watson made a name for himself by ramming whaling ships.  His Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has also slammed into trawlers engaged in illegal fishing, seized poachers, disrupted seal hunts, and cut seine nets to release fish.  As a result, he and his crew have been branded pirates, vigilantes, and eco-terrorists.

In truth, Watson is a freelance conservation officer.  He acts in accordance with the U.N. World Charter for Nature that allows for intervention by non-governmental organizations and individuals.  Neither he nor any member of his crew has ever been convicted of a criminal felony for their actions, and they have never injured a single person.

So Watson cannot be dismissed as a crazed activist.  Besides, his clashes with those who pillage the sea are undergirded by a deliberate, well reasoned ethic that he has been cultivating since childhood.  It is predicated on the idea that the rights of human beings do not transcend those of other species.  It has been shaped in response to the arrogance epitomized by the journalist who told Watson "all of the redwoods in California are not worth the life of one human being."  Watson counters: "The rights of a species, any species, must take precedence over the life of an individual.  This is a basic ecological law.  It is not to be tampered with by primates who have molded themselves into divine legends in their own mind."

Watson lives out his convictions by rejecting religions centered on human beings, following a vegan diet, and arguing that people should procreate less.  On this point, many critics see his views on population stabilization as anti-immigrant.  Watson begs to differ: "I'll admit that I'm not too fond of the human race, but I don't make distinctions among them."

Watson has been an eco-warrior since he was nine when he set out to confiscate and destroy leg-hold traps in his community after one of his beaver friends was killed.  A decade later he joined Greenpeace in its infancy and went to Alaska to oppose nuclear testing.  Greenpeace proved too tame for Watson, and he was forced to leave the organization in 1977 after a disagreement over campaigning against the seal hunt.  This led him to found the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society so he could chart his own course.

Today, he sails the seas in pursuit of anyone contravening international conservation law.  He even does so at times with government blessing.  The Sea Shepherd Society and the Galapagos National Park jointly defend the park's Marine Reserve against escalating poaching activities.  They have a similar agreement with Colombia to defend the Malpelo National Park Marine Reserve.

Still, Watson admits that those who label him a pirate do have a point.  It took a buccaneer, Captain Henry Morgan, to bring piracy to heel in the Caribbean. Likewise, Watson notes that today, "In order to stop piracy on the high seas, pirates are needed to do the dirty work, and in that respect the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is an organization of dedicated eco-corsairs in pursuit of ruthless pirates of profit."