of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Founding
Director, Greenpeace Foundation
Paul Watson to host Sea Shepherd fundraising Event
18th November 2008 - Sydney, Australia
Irwin and Paul Watson
have been honored to serve the whales, dolphins,
seals – and all the other creatures on this
Earth. Their beauty, intelligence, strength, and
spirit have inspired me. These beings have spoken
to me, touched me, and I have been rewarded by
friendship with many members
of different species.
the whales survive and flourish, if the seals
continue to live and give birth, and if I can
contribute to ensuring their future prosperity,
I will be forever happy."
Captain Paul Watson
Founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Founding Director, Greenpeace Foundation
Watson was born in Canada on December 2, 1950.
He was raised in the lobster fishing town of St.
Andrews-by-the-Sea in New Brunswick. He is the
eldest of seven children. His father was Anthony
Joseph Watson, a French Canadian born in New Brunswick,
Canada. His mother
was Annamarie Larsen, the daughter of a Danish
artist, Otto Larsen, and Canadian, Doris Phoebe
1960, Paul was a member of the Kindness Club,
founded by Aida Flemming in New Brunswick. After
trappers killed one of his beaver friends, Paul
set out, at the age of nine, to confiscate and
destroy leg-hold traps. He was also known to disrupted
deer and duck hunters, and to prevent other boys
from shooting birds.
1968, Paul joined the Canadian Coast Guard. His
first ship was the weathership C.C.G.S. Vancouver.
In 1969, Paul joined the crew of the Norwegian
bulk carrier Bris on a voyage to Asia and Africa.
Early voyages with the Canadian, Norwegian, Swedish,
and British merchant marine provided him with
experience on all the world's oceans, including
weathering typhoons in the South China Sea, North
Atlantic storms in the iceberg-strewn northern
latitudes of the Atlantic and navigating the war
zones of the Persian Gulf. He served in the Canadian
Coast Guard for two years in the early seventies
on weatherships, buoy tenders and on a search
and rescue hovercraft.
Watson was one of the co-founders of the Greenpeace
Foundation. His involvement began with a Sierra
Club protest on the U.S. and Canadian border in
October 1969, against the nuclear testing at Amchitka
Island by the Atomic Energy Commission.
few of the participants from the protest organized
a small group to work on ideas to oppose the testing
at Amchitka. The group was called the Don't Make
a Wave Committee and was composed primarily of
members from the Sierra Club and the Society of
Friends (Quakers). Paul was a Sierra Club member
and his motivation to protest the Amchitka testing
was his concern for marine wildlife at Amchitka.
October 1971, the Don't Make a Wave Committee
sponsored the voyage of the Greenpeace I.
Greenpeace I was an 85' Canadian fishing boat
known as the Phyllis Cormack. The ship set forth
from Vancouver, British Columbia, bound for Amchitka
Island, (under the command of Captain John Cormack),
with the intention of sailing into the test site.
There were thirteen
volunteers on board including Robert Hunter, Rod
Marining and Lyle Thurston. Three decades later,
these three would still be sailing with Captain
Watson on Sea Shepherd campaigns.
test was delayed and the Greenpeace I, after a
month at sea, headed back to Vancouver.
the meantime, a second ship was organized. This
was the converted Canadian minesweeper the Edgewater
Fortune. She was named the Greenpeace Too. One
of her crew was Paul Watson.
Greenpeace Too passed the Greenpeace I near Campbell
River and carried on north to Alaska - first to
Juneau, and then outward bound across the Gulf
of Alaska to the Aleutians.
nuclear test had been delayed to foil the voyage
of the Greenpeace I, however, the U.S. Atomic
Energy Committee advanced the next blast date
to avoid the Greenpeace Too.
five-megaton explosion was detonated under Amchitka
Island when the Greenpeace Too was still a few
hundred miles away.
controversy the Greenpeace voyages generated led
to the decision to cancel further tests, and the
detonation of November 1971 was the last nuclear
test to take place at Amchitka.
1972, the Don't Make a Wave Committee took the
name of the two ships from the first campaign
and renamed themselves the Greenpeace Foundation.
Watson was one of the founding members and directors
of Greenpeace. In fact, he was officially the
eighth founding member. Robert Hunter was the
first and his lifetime membership number was 000.
His wife Roberta Hunter was second and her membership
number was 001. Paul Watson's official membership
number was and continues to be 007.
1972, Paul Watson skippered the tiny Greenpeace
boat Astral, and placed it on a collision course
with the French helicopter carrier, the Jeanne
D'Arc, in Vancouver harbor. This was a protest
against French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll
in the South Pacific. The Jeanne D'Arc was forced
to change course. The Astral changed course and
kept on target - bow to bow with the warship,
forcing the Jeanne D'Arc to stop.
1973, Watson and David Garrick represented Greenpeace
during the occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota
by the American Indian Movement. Both men served
as volunteers for AIM, with Watson working with
the medics and filing stories back to Robert Hunter
at the Vancouver Sun.
1974, Robert Hunter, Dr. Paul Spong, Paul Watson
and others organized the first campaign by Greenpeace
to oppose whaling.
1975, Watson served as First officer under Captain
John Cormack on the voyage to confront the Soviet
Whaling fleet. In June 1975, Robert Hunter and
Paul Watson were the first people to put their
lives on the line to protect whales when Paul
placed his inflatable Zodiac between a Russian
harpoon vessel and a pod of defenseless Sperm
whales. 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.
1976, Paul served again as First Officer on the
voyage of the Greenpeace V. This was the converted
Canadian minesweeper James Bay. Once again, the
crew confronted the Soviet whaling fleet, this
time north of Hawaii.
after the whaling campaign, Paul and David Garrick
organized and led the first Greenpeace campaign
to protect Harp and Hood seals on the East coast
of Canada. During this campaign, Robert Hunter
and Paul Watson stopped a large sealing ship in
the ice by standing on the ice in its path.
account of the campaign was published in the Georgia
Straight newspaper and entitled Shepherds of the
Labrador Front. It is this article that inspired
the name Sea Shepherd a few years later.
1977, Paul led the 2nd Greenpeace campaign to
oppose the seal hunt off the coast of Labrador,
this time bringing Brigitte Bardot to the ice
floes to focus international attention on the
June 1977, Paul Watson resigned from the Greenpeace
Foundation because of disagreements with the emerging
bureaucratic structure of the organization. Patrick
Moore had replaced Robert Hunter and was opposed
to direct action campaigns. Moore had informed
Watson that he
would not be allowed to lead another seal campaign.
left Greenpeace because he felt the original goals
of the organization were being compromised, and
because he saw a global need to continue direct
action conservation activities on the high seas
by an organization that would enforce laws protecting
answer that need, that same year, Paul founded
the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - dedicated
to research, investigation and enforcement of
laws, treaties, resolutions and regulations established
to protect marine wildlife worldwide. In December
1978, with the assistance of the Fund for Animals,
Paul purchased a North Atlantic trawler in Britain
and converted her into the conservation enforcement
vessel Sea Shepherd.
the years, Paul has exhibited a remarkable diversity
in his activism. Aside from being a co-founder
of Greenpeace in 1972 and Greenpeace International
in 1979 and founder of Sea Shepherd in 1977, Paul
was a Field Correspondent for Defenders of Wildlife
between 1976 and 1980. He was a field representative
for the Fund for Animals between 1978 and 1981,
and a representative for the Royal Society for
the Protection of Animals in 1979. He co-founded
Friends of the Wolf in 1984 and the Earthforce
Environmental Society in 1977. Paul's first affiliation
with the Sierra Club was in 1968 and he has remained
a Sierra Club supporter ever since. In April 2003,
Paul was elected to the National Board of the
Sierra Club USA. He will be a director until 2006.
majored in communications and linguistics at Simon
Fraser University in British Columbia. He has
lectured extensively at universities around the
world, and was a professor of Ecology at Pasadena
College of Design from 1990 through to 1994. Paul
also was an instructor in UCLA's Honors Program
for 1998 and 1999. Currently, Paul is a registered
speaker with the Jodi Solomon Speakers Bureau
of Boston, and regularly gives presentations at
colleges and universities
in the United States, and at special events throughout
the political front, Paul has run for Member of
Parliament for Vancouver Centre in the Canadian
Federal elections. He ran twice for the Green
Party. He also ran on the Green Party ticket for
Vancouver Parks Board in 1987 and for Mayor of
Vancouver in 1995.
has received many awards and commendations over
the years. In 1996, Paul was awarded an honorary
citizenship to the French town of St. Jean Cap
Ferrat. Previous to that he was made an honorary
citizen of the Florida Keys in 1989. Other awards
include Toronto City TV's Environmentalist of
the Year Award for 1990, the Genesis Award in
1998 and he was enrolled in the U.S. Animal Rights
Hall of Fame in 2002. He was also awarded the
George H. Bush Daily Points of Light Award in
1999 for his volunteer efforts with conservation
activism. He was
chosen by Time Magazine as one of the environmental
heroes of the 20th Century in the year 2000.
Daily Point of Light No. 1404
June 22, 1999
Watson is a prolific author. His titles include:
Shepherds of the Sea* (1979), Sea Shepherd: My
Fight for Whales and Seals* (1982), Cry Wolf*
(1985), Earthforce! (1993), Ocean Warrior (1994)
and Seal Wars (2002).
books are out of print, and can only be found
via book-finding services.
has served as Master and Commander on seven different
Sea Shepherd ships since 1978. He currently commands
the 657-ton Canadian-registered research ship
Farley Mowat and the
Canadian-registered research and patrol ship Sirenian.
He continues to lead Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society campaigns to protect defenseless marine
wildlife around the world.
is married to Allison Lance Watson. He has one
child, Lilliolani Paula Lum Watson, (born in 1980),
from a previous marriage. (Credit: Sea Shepherd
Shepherd Conservation Society
Man Australia was delighted to meet and interview
Paul Watson at the launch of Bluetongue Beer