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@leiren-young makes waves with our guests, and shares news about Orcas and oceans. Produced by Rayne Benu.

Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson on the fight to save fish, whales, oceans and humans

Captain Paul Watson (@CaptPaulWatson) founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (@SeaShepherdSSCS) on the Sea Shepherd's journey from outlaws to law enforcement and his battles to save the fish, the whales and the oceans.

“To be a real conservationist, you have to look ahead a million years.”

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The Killer Whale Who Changed the World….

Check out our YouTube playlist of videos related to this Podcast Episode:

Show Notes:

  • Captain Paul Watson on the story of Moby Doll and his first encounters with an orca at the Vancouver Aquarium.
  • Swimming with wild orcas in Bella Bella in 1975.
  • Watson and Greenpeace vs. Soviet whalers.
  • Watson vs. Greenpeace (after the Sea Shepherd started sinking whaling ships).
  • Secret origin story: Saving beavers from leg-hold traps in New Brunswick as a child.
  • Watson tells us about the time “I shot a kid in the ass with a BB gun who was about to kill a bird.”
  • The origins of Greenpeace and the fight to save the whales.
  • How Sea Shepherd is bringing down poachers in Ecuador, Gabon, Liberia, São Tomé, Tanzania, Peru, Mexico, Dominica and Costa Rica.
  • Leaving Greenpeace to form Sea Shepherd.
  • The four keys to media coverage: sex, scandal, violence and celebrity.
  • Why real environmental issues never get enough coverage.
  • The “Avon ladies" of the conservation movement.
  • Why we need to move away from anthropocentric to biocentric.
  • Why Captain Paul Watson can’t go home to Canada.
  • Watson vs. Fox News.
  • What is the real definition of intelligence?
  • How filmmaker Rob Stewart changed the way we look at sharks.

Significant quotes:

“No orca has ever attacked any human being in the wild ever.”

Back when sperm whales were killed to lubricate missiles… “We’re killing these incredibly beautiful, socially complex, sentient creatures for the purpose of making a weapon meant for the mass extermination of human beings. And that's when it struck me we're insane, as a species we're insane. And that's when I said I'll never do anything for people. I'm going to do this for them. (whales)”

“The whales were our clients.”

After being criticized for sinking whaling ships:  “I said, ‘John, I didn’t sink those whaling ships for you or for Greenpeace or for anybody else. We sank them for the whales. Find me a whale who disagreed with what we did and I’ll promise I’ll never do it again.’”

“We’ve never been a protest organization. We’re an interventionist organization. Sea Shepherd is an anti-poaching organization.”

“I felt there was a need for intervention, not protest. I've never been a protester."

“I call what we do aggressive nonviolence.”

“The real fault with the mainstream media is what they don’t talk about.”

“I used to joke that we were the ladies of night of the conservation movement because people may agree with us, but they don’t want to be seen with us in the daytime.”

“We don’t have any political agenda. We are extremely biocentric in our viewpoint, so we're not a part of that anthropocentric mythology.”

“All of their attempts to destroy Sea Shepherd didn’t work because you can stop an individual, you can stop an organization, but you can’t stop a movement. And Sea Shepherd is a movement in 42 different countries.”

“We need to give the ocean the opportunity to repair the damage that we have done to it."

“There's too many people and not enough fish."

“Don’t eat fish. I don’t really know if we can get the message across because the writing is on the wall, whether it be climate change or plastic pollution. All the problems — it’s clearly right there in front of everybody — but everybody is in willful denial. It’s not in their short-term interest to be concerned about it. Humans have this incredible ability to adapt to diminishment. As things become more diminished, they just accept it.”

“To be a real conservationist, you have to look ahead a million years.”

“We have to look at the world from a biocentric point of view – the fact that we're interdependent with all other species."

“We're stealing the carrying capacity of other species."

“If phytoplankton disappears, we’re all dead. Nobody lives on this planet without phytoplankton and yet there’s been a 40% diminishment of phytoplankton since 1950 and the average person doesn’t even know what phytoplankton is.”

“What is intelligence? Intelligence to us is what we define intelligence to be because our entire intelligence is based in eye to hand coordination. If it has tools, it’s intelligent… I measure intelligence by the ability to live in harmony within our ecosystem.”

“We're the real monsters. The thing with being a monster is you don’t know you’re a monster.”

“Find out what you're passionate about and go for it."


  1. Paul Spong:  
  2. Orcalab founder Paul Spong blames fish-farm waste for J-pod calf's death:
  3. Don’t Make a Wave Committee & the birth of Greenpeace:
  4. WATCH: Remembering the 1964 Port Alberni tsunami:
  5. Bill Darnell, who came up with Greenpeace’s name, was cut off at the Northern Gateway pipeline hearings when he spoke of B.C.’s history of civil disobedience:
  6. The Founders of Greenpeace:
  7. Spermaceti:
  8. Sea Shepherd:
  9. Interpol:
  10. UN Climate Change Conference Paris 2015:
  11. What are phytoplankton?:
  12. Senate passes bill that would ban whale, dolphin captivity in Canada:
  13. Dian Fossey Biography:
  14. Biocentrism:
  15. Behind the scenes on Chasing the Thunder: 

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