Captain Paul Watson “Sea Shepard”
Keynote | After Dinner | Motivation | Inspirational
Called the “world’s most aggressive, most determined, most active and most effective defender of wildlife,” Captain Paul Watson is an environmental hero and the bane of illegal whalers and seal hunters around the world. One of the co-founders of Greenpeace (officially, it’s 8th member), Captain Watson sailed on many of the Greenpeace ships in the organization’s original direct action campaigns where he was noted for acts of bravery and bravado in protecting endangered wildlife. He was the first to put himself and his Zodiac inflatable boat between a whale and a harpoon.
Because of disagreements with the emerging bureaucratic structure of the organization, Captain Watson resigned from the foundation and began the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – an organization dedicated to the research, investigation and enforcement of laws, treaties, resolutions and regulations established to protect marine wildlife. In 1978 he purchased a North Atlantic trawler and converted it into the conservation enforcement vessel Sea Shepherd. The Sea Shepherd’s first mission was on the ice floes of eastern Canada to interfere and protect the annual killing of baby harp seals.
In 1979 the Sea Shepherd hunted down and rammed the notorious pirate whaler Sierra in a Portugal harbor subsequesntly sinking it and ending its scourge of the seas. Since then there have been seven Sea Shepherd ships with hundreds of successful missions committed to the eradication of pirate whaling, poaching, fining, unlawful habitat destruction and violations of established international law in the world’s oceans.
Today, Captain Watson commands the 657-ton Canadian research ship the Farley Mowat and the Canadian research and patrol ship the Sirenian and leads the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to protect defenseless marine wildlife around the world.
He is also an advisor to many governments and world leaders and has faculty positions at several universities. He has received many awards for his work including the Genesis Award in 1998, TIME magazine’s Environmental Hero of the Planet in 2000, President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light Award in 1999 and an inductee into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame in 2002.