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Although commercial whale hunting has been banned under an international treaty for 25 years, Japan’s whaling fleet still sets out each December for its annual hunt for whales, and Paul Watson, a captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), says he and three other vessels intend to shut down the Japanese whaling fleet this year.

The fact that Watson skipped bail in Germany in July on an extradition procedure to Costa Rica is not a major concern to the captain because, according to the SSCS website, skipping bail in Germany is not a crime; it simply resulted in a forfeit of his bail money and automatically elevates an arrest warrant to a higher local court, although Germany is not pursuing him. Watson has put protecting the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary as his priority and not what he considers the bogus extradition requests from Japan and Costa Rica, whom he believes are in cahoots to bring an end to his interference with whalers.

In 2002, when Watson encountered a Costa Rican ship’s shark finning operation in Guatemala, he contacted authorities to get permission to escort the vessel to port for prosecution. The next day Captain Watson was charged with attempted murder and destruction of property, however the charges were dropped when he provided video evidence to the contrary, and proof that he had permission from the Guatemalan government.

He has had many legal encounters and many trials on many shores, yet every December he heads out to confront Japan’s whaling boats. SSCS’s dedication to protect endangered marine species and ecosystems under the United Nations World Charter for Nature is one of the reasons it has such a high profile Board of Advisors, which include Richard Dean Anderson, Brigitte Bardot, Linda Blair, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery, Sean Penn and Martin Sheen.

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