Legendary activist Captain Paul Watson discusses being ousted from his own organization, launching a new one

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Captain Paul Watson navigating rough seas. (Photo: Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

Captain Paul Watson–a major figure for decades in the realm of animal rights, he founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977—describes what he sees as the initial events that led to his ouster from his own organization.

Watson recalls being told that his reputation was a liability to the reimagined mission of Sea Shepherd, and his Red Notice (like an international arrest warrant) issued by Japan was ostensibly hampering the functioning of the board’s business—so he was asked to step down from the board, he says.

This move, he notes, opened the door for Pritam Singh—a Sea Shepherd board member and wealthy real estate developer who Watson says stacked the board–as part of a shift toward working with governments, emphasizing science and research, and forgoing direct action…all qualities in direct conflict with the longstanding Sea Shepherd ethos.

Watson discusses the new organization he’s launched, the Captain Paul Watson Foundation, noting its mission is “to eradicate whaling” and otherwise continue the work he’s done with Sea Shepherd for some 45 years.

He describes the Foundation’s new ship, The John Paul Dejoria II, and how Dejoria bought it for them—after Sea Shepherd apparently scrapped the first ship.

Watson also outlines the Foundation’s first campaign: Seeking to protect more than 150 endangered Fin whales which are targeted for killing this summer under a permit the Icelandic government has awarded to a notorious whale killer. Watson recounts some overall experiences during the making of the “Whale Wars” television series, while revealing that a new TV project is in development for the Foundation.

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