Fugitive anti-whaling activist Watson faces a life at seaBy Graham Land Sep 06, 2012 6:45PM UTC
Polemic environmentalist Paul Watson says he’ll avoid arrest by staying in international waters.
The Sea Shepherd leader is wanted in Japan and Costa Rica for his actions against whaling and shark finning, respectively. Watson fled while on bail in Germany while Costa Rica and Japan were attempting to have him extradited. This resulted in an Interpol arrest warrant for the marine life activist.
Though whaling is banned under an international treaty – of which Japan is a signatory – Japan continues to carry out whaling under the pretext of “scientific research”. Whales caught by the so-called research vessels may be then sold for food.
During his time on the high seas in international waters, Watson says he will continue with the efforts of Sea Shepherd, which have garnered much attention in recent years through the television program “Whale Wars”.
There is only one answer. I have no choice but to continue to serve my clients, the whales. I can do that far better at the helm of the Steve Irwin commanding the Sea Shepherd fleet of four ships, aircraft and my intrepid crews than I can defending myself from bogus charges by Japan. If I can return to my ships, I will. If not, my captains and their crews will return without me to once more defend the whales in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.
According to another Guardian piece, legal experts say that Watson should be able to avoid arrest by remaining in international waters. I imagine he already has his sea legs.
Watson claims that the Japanese kill quotas (ostensibly for research) have been cut to “under 30%” due to the activities of Sea Shepherd. With what has been termed “Operation Zero Tolerance”, the environmentalist group will step up their game and try to reach the goal of 0%.
Captain Paul Watson, 61, recently lost his brother Stephen to cancer, whose ashes he has promised to take to Antarctica before beginning the next campaign in the Southern Ocean.
The Japanese whaling fleet usually sets off around December, with Sea Shepherd ships departing Australia to harass them soon after.
Though Sea Shepherd’s tactics can sometimes come under fire – occasionally with as much vehement criticism as Japan’s whaling practices are exposed to – the drama (as evinced by “Whale Wars”) – is lapped up by the media and consequently, the public.