The History of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Whaling December 30, 2005 2:58 PM
The History of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Whaling
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been the most aggressive and most successful whale-saving organization in the world.
Saving whales is what we do best and what we are most noted for. Our approach has been simple and straightforward.
In 1977, Sea Shepherd was established as an organization to intervene and uphold international conservation regulations protecting marine wildlife. In other words, we don't protest whaling - we oppose illegal whaling activities.
Our opposition are criminals engaged in illegal behavior.
photo credit Marc Votier
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Join us on our 30-plus year journey to save whales around the world. Scroll through our Whale Campaign history timeline (below) which illustrates with words and pictures Sea Shepherd’s actions to save whales. The fight goes on…
Timeline 1975 to present…
Note: To see picture captions, please hold your mouse over each image
The history of our efforts to defend the whales goes back to 1975 when Captain Paul Watson was 1st Mate on the first Greenpeace voyage to protect the whales. In June of 1975, Captain Watson and Robert Hunter became the first people ever to risk their lives to protect a whale when they placed themselves in a small inflatable Zodiac to block the deadly harpoons of the Soviet whaling fleet.
It was there that Paul Watson had his famous encounter with a dying sperm whale, an incident that has inspired and driven him to become one of the most passionate defenders of whales in history. During this confrontation with the Russian whaler, a harpooned and dying sperm whale loomed over Paul's small boat. Paul recognized a flicker of understanding in the dying whale's eye. He felt that the whale knew what they were trying to do. He watched as the magnificent leviathan heaved its body away from his boat, slipped beneath the waves and died. A few seconds of looking into this dying whale's eye changed his life forever. He vowed to become a lifelong defender of the whales and all creatures of the seas.
Watson participated in the Greenpeace voyage to intercept the Soviet fleet again in 1976 and helped to prepare the Greenpeace ship Ohana Kai to intercept the Soviet whaling fleet in the summer of 1977.
It was in 1977 that Paul Watson left Greenpeace, the organization that he co-founded, to establish a different kind of conservation organization.
That same year, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was established to focus on marine wildlife species and to intervene against illegal activities on the high seas.
In 1978, with the assistance of Cleveland Amory and the Fund for Animals, Paul Watson purchased a trawler in England and named it the Sea Shepherd.
The first Sea Shepherd campaign was to bring the first ship into the ice floes of the Gulf of S. Lawrence to oppose the slaughter of baby harp seals.
The second campaign was to target the most notorious pirate whaler of them all - the Sierra.
This Cypriot-registered whaling ship with Norwegian officers and mixed nationality crew was operating in the Eastern Atlantic from Portugal south to Angola.
Paul Watson decided to hunt the Sierra down and put an end to her career. In June of 1979, he departed from Boston, Massachusetts, to do just that.
On July 16th, 1979, the Sea Shepherd found the Sierra and chased it into the port of Leixoes. Captain Watson rammed the Sierra twice in harbor, tearing the hull open to the waterline and forcing the ship into port for repairs. After a million dollars of uninsured repairs, the Sierra was sunk by Sea Shepherd operatives in Lisbon harbor in Portugal on February 6, 1980. Sea Shepherd permanently retired the pirate whaler Sierra and prevented anymore whales from being taken by her.
In April of 1980, Sea Shepherd agent Al "Jet" Johnson posts reward posters all over the waterfront of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Sea Shepherd offers a $25,000 bounty on the outlaw whaler Astrid. The Astrid's owners are unable to trust their own crew and retire the vessel.
That same month, Sea Shepherd operatives sank two Spanish whalers in to the port of Vigo, Spain, (Ibsa I and Ibsa II)after Spain refused to comply with quota regulations on fin whales.
Also in 1980, working in cooperation with the government of South Africa, Sea Shepherd assisted in the seizure of the pirate whalers Susan and Theresa. The ships were taken out to sea and deliberately scuttled by the South African Navy.
Sea Shepherd successfully shut down all pirate whaling operations in the North Atlantic within a year after a dozen years of failure by the International Whaling Commission. The IWC has no enforcement division to insure its laws are upheld.
We had taken six whalers out of operation but lost the Sea Shepherd when it was taken from us by a judge without a hearing or a trial after he took a bribe from the Sierra's owners. To keep the Sea Shepherd from being converted to a whaler, Captain Watson scuttled his own ship in Leixoes harbor on the first day of January, 1980.
In November of 1980, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society purchased a 2nd British trawler, and named her the Sea Shepherd II.
In 1981, the first mission of the Sea Shepherd IIwas to cross the Atlantic from Scotland, down to and through the Panama Canal to the Pacific and up to the Bering Sea. It is here, in July, that Captain Watson led a crew ashore on a Siberian beach near the town of Lorino where they successfully documented illegal whalin
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i'm new here December 30, 2005 3:07 PM
thank you annie that you invite me
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