Direct Action on the High Seas

Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2012 in Culture

Direct Action on the High Seas

Capt. Paul Watson, photo by Barbara Veiga

Speaker:         Captain Paul Watson, Director, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

When:             Tuesday, May 8 at 7:00 pm

Where:           Maine Maritime Museum, Bath*[Note this is a venue change]

 

Join Friends of Merrymeeting Bay (FOMB) on Tuesday, May 8, at 7pm in Bath’s Maine Maritime Museum’s, Longreach Hall for the final presentation of FOMB’s 15th annual Winter Speaker Series. This program, “Direct Action on the High Seas”, features Captain Paul Watson, Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

What do we do when laws protecting our planet, the only one we have, are continuously ignored, when violence against nature becomes accepted as the norm and when the legislative and judicial systems fail and enforcement is scoffed at? In an effort to effectively grapple with and find a solution to these issues, Captain Paul Watson in 1977 founded Sea Shepherd, an international, non-profit, direct-action marine wildlife conservation organization specializing in aggressive, but non-violent, interventions against unlawful exploitation of ocean wildlife and habitats.

Sea Shepherd now has more than three decades of experience opposing illegal whaling, sealing, and fishing operations, and has established itself as the leading marine interventionist group in the world. Whether working in partnership with government agencies or operating in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations World Charter for Nature, Sea Shepherd is a tireless advocate for the enforcement of international treaties, laws, and regulations protecting marine species and their environment, and does not hesitate to enforce these legal charters as circumstances require.

The efforts of Watson’s largely volunteer crews in Antarctica saving whales from Japanese whalers have been popularized by the acclaimed and often harrowing, Animal Planet television series Whale Wars. Lessor known, is that Sea Shepherd operations also have been successful around the globe intercepting poachers in the Galapagos Islands, shutting down illegal whaling operations in numerous oceans, blockading sealing ships, rescuing dolphins in Japan, patrolling beaches in the Caribbean to stop turtle poaching, and confiscating illegal driftnets and longlines all over the world.

Captain Watson's life-long calling as a conservationist began in 1968 as a seaman with the merchant marines and the Canadian Coast Guard. Watson majored in communications and linguistics at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and is a successful author. He has been  named as “one of the environmental heroes of the 20th Century” by Time Magazine, named as one of the “50 People Who Can Save the World” by the UK’s The Guardian newspaper, and received the Daily Points of Light Award from former President George H.W. Bush.

In 1972, Watson co-founded the Greenpeace Foundation (GP) in Vancouver, British Columbia. From 1971-77, he served as First Officer on GP voyages, and during a campaign against Russian whalers, he was the first to implement his idea of putting activists in a small inflatable boat between the harpooners and endangered whales. From 1976-77, Watson led all of the GP expeditions to protect harp seals on the ice floes of eastern Canada.

In 1977, Watson, identifying the need for an international direct-action organization focused specifically on marine conservation, with an emphasis on marine mammals and fish that could not defend themselves, founded Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Watson’s presentation will offer experiences and lessons from his more than 30 years sailing under the Sea Shepherd Jolly Roger and explore the pressing need for effective advocacy techniques, persistence and passion to save some of the world’s greatest wildlife and ourselves.

The FOMB Winter Speaker Series takes place monthly from October-May on the second Tuesday or Wednesday. The series, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay with support and valuable door prizes from Patagonia Outlet in Freeport. Note there is a venue change for this presentation and due to hall rental fee and speaker expenses, a minimum $5.00 donation is requested. Stay tuned for the FOMB Summer Outside Series!

To receive more information on FOMB’s programs call Ed Friedman, Chair, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, at 666-3372 or edfomb@comcast.net. Full speaker schedule and speaker biographies are available on the web at www.friendsofmerrymeetingbay.org

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