Sea Shepherd Captain, Paul Watson (@CaptPaulWatson), talks with Mark Leiren-Young (@leirenyoung) about Seaspiracy, life as an outlaw and as a movie star, the impact of Covid on life in the oceans and whether whales are more intelligent than we are.

Skaana podcasts connect you to news and experts and their discussions about environments, oceans, and orcas.

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Berke Breathed’s original drawing of Opus, the Penguin – used to illustrate Mark Leiren-Young’s poem Operation Dessert Storm in the Sea Shepherd newsletter.

Excerpts from Orcapedia

Mentioned Episodes:

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd Global

Sea Shepherd Legal

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TIME CODES

  • 4:38– How Covid has effected the Sea Shepherd and the oceans
  • 4:52– “There has been an increase in poaching.”
  • 6:52– His new book, Orcapedia
  • 7:10– “What we’re talking about here is an international slave trade where the orcas are the new slaves.”
  • 8:36– “The orcas in captivity have names and therefore we tend to relate to them more so than the ones that are in the wild.”
  • 10:13– Tilikum’s story
  • 13:41– How Watson fell for whales.
  • 13:58– “To me whales are highly intelligent, very social, self-aware sentient beings and I think, in many cases, they’re probably more intelligent than we are.”
  • 17:20–  The backlash to Seaspiracy
  • 17:30– “The fishing industry’s very powerful and they throw a lot of money into their PR machines.”
  • 20:55–   “What we really need is a tuna-free tuna.”
  • 21:12–   “You can find scientists who will defend any side of an argument. I call them “biostitutes,” when they’re working for the industry.”
  • 23:36– “A good percentage of the fishing industry is strictly, completely illegal – unregulated and uncontrolled.”
  • 27:10– How his movie Watson happened.
  • 29:04– Selling his life story – a lot.
Elizabeth May
“All whales matter. All cetaceans matter. All life matters.”

“All whales matter. All cetaceans matter. All life matters.”

“If you’re looking for charismatic megafauna you really can’t beat the amazing creatures that whales are – for their intelligence, for their intricate communications, for their relationships.”

“The most endangered whale species in Canada is the right whale, and what we need to do is stop a company called Bilcon from the United States from getting permission to build a quarry on Digby Neck, Nova Scotia…”

“There are whales at risk all around the world, but our southern resident killer whale population is also extremely endangered. The loss of even one animal could imperil the population as a whole.”

“The number one thing we need to do to protect the southern resident killer whale population is to make sure we don’t see new pipelines that increase the tanker traffic.”

“…the Kinder Morgan proposal particularly was found even by the National Energy Board Environmental Assessment that was woefully inadequate, even they had to take account of Department of Fisheries and Oceans expert testimony that whale strikes from the increase in tanker traffic is a significant risk to the survival of the Southern Resident killer whale population.”

“We need to protect their habitat, we need to protect their food source, which means taking care of our salmon. We need to take care of, and pay attention to, the amount of noise in our marine environment… So we need to pay attention to giving them enough space.”

“…I’ve had some close encounters of the whale kind, just being on the water and being silent, and seeing what happens… When it happens, it’s quite an extraordinary experience and quite powerful, to come eye to eye with a whale.”

“Kinder Morgan’s pipeline is a threat, a direct threat, to the Southern Resident killer whale population.”

“We can’t forget the oceans. The oceans are out of sight and out of mind to those of us land animals. And the multiple threats to our oceans are growing.”

“[Ocean acidification] is a scary threat, and it’s looming, and we don’t know enough about it.”

“They need the three-quarters of this planet that is the ocean. We live on the one-quarter of this planet that’s land. But we can’t live on land without those oceans. Terrestrial species need oceans, and we tend to forget about them.”

“End our addiction to fossil fuels”

“We’re pushing as hard as we can to bring back science and to have Environment Canada have the kind of budget it needs to hire more people, so that we can actually have recovery plans for endangered species that make sense.”

“This generation, humanity now, has an obligation to stop robbing our children.”

Dag Ingemar Børresen
“And of course also because they knew fifty years earlier that they had to stop whaling if it was going to be sustainable…if they wanted it to be sustainable.  So they were quite clear about what they were doing, but they didn’t stop it.”

“It’s impossible to compare the Norwegian whaling industry as it was with the whaling today.” 

“Around 1930, there was about 10,000 Norwegian whalers going to the antarctic every year.  They hunted down ten thousands of whales each catching season. The whaling today is just nearly nothing.  It’s just a few fishermen catching minke whales. It’s just a few hundred minke whales a year. ”

“If you talk to old whalers, you can get, they probably have some stories about killer whales, but it is often related to killer whales who were attacking dead whales who were caught by the whale catchers. 

“Up to the late 1920s [the Norwegian whaling industry] was global.” 

“I don’t know anyone today who eats whale meat.”

“Why should we eat whale meat?  There are so many other things to eat, I don’t know really.” 

“Is it a big deal? No, it’s not a big deal at all. No one cares at all. It’s just a few fishermen up north.  If you ask Norwegians they’re not engaged in anything that you’re asking about, really. It’s only politics, isn’t it.” 

“We’re going to focus a lot on the blue whale and the story of the blue whale, how it was nearly extinct at the end of modern whaling.  It was very close, you know, very close. So it’s a really horrible story. “

“And of course also because they knew fifty years earlier that they had to stop whaling if it was going to be sustainable…if they wanted it to be sustainable.  So they were quite clear about what they were doing, but they didn’t stop it.” 

“It was very short-term. They took what they could and then it ended.” 

About Keiko “I don’t know if anyone cared about it at all.  I guess…Norwegians are not very…. I mean it was just…. a whale.  I don’t think Norwegians have this sort of emotional connection with the whales at all.” 

Today Norway is one of only three whaling nations in the world, but the country’s whaling operations used to be worldwide. Dag Ingemar Børresen of Sandefjord’s Whaling Museum (Hvalfangstmuseet) on Norway’s whaling history and the market for Minke meat.

“I guess…Norwegians are not very…. I mean it was just….  a whale.  I don’t think Norwegians have this sort of emotional connection with the whales at all..”

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