April 3, 2007 | By:

Greenpeace Denounces Sea Shepherd Society. Paul Watson Replies…

Greenpeace Condemns Sea Shepherd in Japan

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

First they launch a campaign where Greenpeace activists eat whale meat, then they show up in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary to offer aid and assistance to the damaged Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru and now the Greenpeace ship Esperanza has berthed in Yokohama, Japan with a message for the Japanese people.

And that message is that they love Japan, but please don’t kill whales in the Antarctic Sanctuary and oh, by the way, we have no connection with, and we condemn the activists of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Gee, I wonder what happened to the aggressive in their face media savvy hard hitting environmental organization that I co-founded way back in 1972. Back then we shut down whalers on the high seas and equated eating whale meat with cannibalism.

Greenpeace is wrong when they say there is no connection between Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd. Not only am I a co-founder of Greenpeace and Greenpeace International in 1979, the ship we confronted the Japanese whalers with is named the Robert Hunter, also a co-founder and the first President of the Greenpeace Foundation. In fact the lateRobert Hunter is THE founding father of Greenpeace and without his vision, there would be no Greenpeace Foundation today and all those hired crew on the Esperanza would not be so well paid and sitting down to their steak and seafood dinners on the Esperanza each day. (Greenpeace ridicules the vegetarian menu of the Sea Shepherd ships)

This year I had Emily Hunter on the crew of our ship the Robert Hunter. The daughter of Robert Hunter was also joined by Rod Marining, another co-founder of Greenpeace.

What was really shocking is that none of the crew on the Esperanza appeared to have even heard of Robert Hunter.

Despite this, Sea Shepherd provided Greenpeace with the daily coordinates to find the Japanese whaling fleet. They took their time arriving, having stayed in Auckland milking the public for donations as the Sea Shepherd crew undertook high profile confrontations with the whale killers. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza arrived just in time to make a show of offering assistance to the damaged whaling ship.

And now they are in Japan. For the last few days they have been whining about the fact that the Japanese refused to allow them to dock. The issue was that the agent they had hired had withdrawn his services in protest. Officially they were allowed to dock and they have. But they got some ink out of the incident.

Sea Shepherd would not be allowed to dock and we would not be expected to be allowed to dock. The difference is that Sea Shepherd is a direct threat to Japanese whaling interests and Greenpeace is not. The other irony is that New Zealand and Australia deny docking privileges to the whalers so why would anyone be surprised that the Japanese would retaliate.

Lets hope that the Japanese don’t appeal to Australia and New Zealand to be treated the same way Japan is treating Greenpeace. We don’t want Japanese whaling ships docking in New Zealand and Australia.

I wish Greenpeace all the success in the world in their efforts to initiate a “debate” over the whaling issue in Japan. It’s their money and they can spend it how they see fit although I anticipate lots of debates in the sushi bars accompanied by large volumes of sake.

They can all toast their hosts, eat whale meat to show they are not opposed to Japanese culture and they can come together on the one thing they disagree with and that is both the whalers and the Greenpeacers condemn Sea Shepherd.

And so they should, because we are a threat to both. The only thing making more money off whaling than the Japanese whalers is the Greenpeace Foundation. Last year Greenpeace brought in tens of millions of dollars from their millions of members to “save the whales”.

There is lots of money in saving whales if you invest the money into direct mail campaigns, television and internet advertising and door to door solicitation campaigns. That is where Greenpeace funding primarily is directed – towards raising more funds in order to pay the wages and the operating expenses of what has become one of the largest feel good organizations in the world. Let’s face it Greenpeace has become the generic environmental organization and people feel when they join Greenpeace that they are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

This is somewhat similar to when Pope Rodrigo Borgia once promised heaven to large donors to the church. It’s now special ecological dispensation.

But the fact is that the strength of any movement lies in diversity and it is the diversity of tens of thousands of small grass roots organizations and individuals that is making the difference. As activists struggle in the field financially, the larger organizations rake in hundreds of millions of dollars pretending to address the issues but not wanting to rock the boat for fear of offending part of their donor base.

I know of what I speak. Not only am I a founding director of Greenpeace, I was also a Board member of the Sierra Club USA (2003-2006) and I saw incredible waste of funds and a smoke and mirrors approach of appearing to address problems but not doing very much at all.

The best way to tell the difference between the Sea Shepherd approach to whaling and that of Greenpeace is this: When Greenpeace shows up in Antarctica, they film whaling and buzz the whalers in inflatable boats. The whalers simply continue whaling looking at Greenpeacers as a minor annoyance. When Sea Shepherd ships show up, the whalers stop the killing and they run.

When people ask us why we don’t have video images of whales being killed our answer is that since 1977, the year I left Greenpeace, I have not seen a whale die. I saw plenty of whales die when I was with Greenpeace and I was forced to watch frustrated and helpless as the whales screamed in agony and died in their own blood and we were forbidden to interfere.

Greenpeace accuses Sea Shepherd of being violent yet in 30 years of operations we have not injured a single person nor have we had a single crewmember seriously injured. We have not been convicted of a single felony. Greenpeace has had numerous felony convictions and they have had activists killed and injured.

But Greenpeace is desperate to appease the Japanese and towards this end they are condemning the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as an eco-terrorist organization and trying to convince the Japanese whalers that there is no connection between Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace.

There is a connection and that is the fact that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is the original Greenpeace Foundation the way it was before the six figure executive salaries and the thirty million dollar luxury ships that they can no longer afford to lose.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not interested in touring Japan, sharing whale meat and sake with whale killers and we are not interested in entering years of fruitless debates with the Japanese public over whaling. The majority of the Canadian public is against the seal hunt yet it continues.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is interested in simply upholding international conservation law by directly intervening against criminal whaling operations. We are not interested in protesting whaling or profiting on the save the whales movement. We are interested in only one thing and that is shutting down the whalers.

If Greenpeace wishes to condemn that objective and to condemn our interventions, that is their choice, but that kind of approach is not going to save a single whale but it may get some drinks bought for them in Tokyo this week.

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Vivienne of Heidelberg
16 years ago

It is a shame these two great anti-whaling organisations can’t agree to differ and work together to fight this evil. Sea Shepherd is a law enforcement agency, and Greenpeace is a protest environmental organisation. With two of them working together and actually supporting each other, they may have a greater support base. Japan’s government is so arrogant they do not need lapping up to. Australia should not allow any Japanese ships into our ports and the navy should stop whaling. The Whale Sanctuary is being left to non-government organisations to patrol – this is the tragedy – and it is hard and expensive to be effective against the great wealth of this Japanese industry.

16 years ago


Great book. I just want to say what a fantastic thing you are doing! Good luck!


16 years ago

This is quite untrue. Seafood is not allowed on the boats. Strangely, some are meat eaters but most are vegetarian. But seafood is not allowed.

A lot of your comments about greenpeace are wrong too. if you read their campaigns correctly..they did not eat whale meat…they served canned meat to the danish embassy.

Can’t you save your nasty comments for the real environmental criminals?

Ashley Friedrich
16 years ago

The sanctuary is located at your country. I hope the whole Australian community will be so vigilant in protecting these santuaries. If any Japanese vessel is caught without prior notice before entering the area of responsiblity, should be heavily penalized.

The United Nations should make an immediate action on this serious issues. The world should start to punish Japan for lying:

1.Lying that the whales caught are for research??
2.Outsmarting their buyers that dolphins,sharks meat are whale meats.
3.That the two men they held are terrorists 4.

Japanese from the start has been so ruthless and abusive. I wonder why they dont slaughter and eat themselves and spare these animals.

They havent evolved and it is seen here who are the animals.


15 years ago

I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with many of the things written in this article. How does being anti-Japanese help the anti-whaling campaigns? Most of the environmental problems of today are global- and that requires global cooperation, and the one of the best way to do this is through political avenues. This requires debates- it is hardly wasting time and money. It keeps political and government avenues open for environmental issues, which in an increasingly globalised world, is of extreme importance.
While a presence in the Southern Ocean physically stopping whalers from killing whales is extremely important, it is a short term solution, that in the long run could prove to be very costly. Greenpeace is interested in a long term solution, which is why they are seeking political avenues to solve the problem. Greenpeace campaign includes high level campaign work and a campaign in Japan, to educate the Japanese people about whaling, so that the Japanese public can put pressure on their own government.
I think it is very important to remember that Greenpeace also has many other important projects, such as climate change, nuclear energy, genetically modified foods and other oceanic issues, such as the overfishing in the Pacific islands. Whaling is just one of the campaigns and the money it collects get distributed to many different areas.
Also, I think Greenpeace and the Sea Shepard simply have different ideas about violent and non-violent protest. Greenpeace is a non-violent organization, and ramming ships, for Greenpeace, is a violent form of protest, regardless of whether someone gets hurt or not.

15 years ago

If you saw a pedophile picking up a kid near a school, would you stop, let him get away with the kid, and call the cops? Or would you cut him off, harass him, and even “ram” his car to save the kid from a lifetime of hell?

How you answer that question defines you as either a human being, or something else.

david macdougall
15 years ago

you can not stop a killer buy having lunch with him! greenpeace is a bunch of little wips.

14 years ago

The reason greenpeace is not interested in stopping whaling is because if whaling stopped there would be nothing for Greenpeace to advertise to convince people to donate there hard earned money to. its front a fraud a sham and an atrocity i applaud the Sea Shepperd and support everything they stand for and strive to achieve. I am glad someone is finally standing up and showing Greenpeace for what they really are. my only hope is that there message reaches enough people to make a difference. i know for years i lived with the wool pulled over my eyes thinking Greenpeace stood for something and was making a difference and i thank people like Paul Watson for standing up and exposing what they are really about

14 years ago

Great point TRI, i don’t question greenpeace but we can’t just seat and see how this people are killing our beautiful whales. This is a heart breaking situation and i totally agree with the SEA SHEPPERD i won’t seat and see is time to take action!!! the japanese people hardly are open to listen and understand.

14 years ago

Thea reality of this organization and most other of this kind is they do not see the whole picture just a narrow view. We all need to understand the full situation before we act or take sides and when it comes to the evolution of the animals that inhabit this planet. And look at all sides not just the animals, or the air, or land, or economy, or society, it is all interlinked, just as are past and present are and understanding them is what will allow us to create a better future. And petty squabbling between organizations that are supposed to be non profit and for the same cause is ludicrous. As some people have pointed out the protection of larger population whales such as minke might very well take away from the food sources that the endangered species need to survive, and that a culling of the population may be necessary. But the truly sad thing is we don’t full know yet what the effect will be, saving the world doesn’t mean preserving it as it is now with all the animals and insects the exact same. The planet and it’s ecosystems do and will evolve, some will die off others will flourish, and we need to figure out how to mesh in with it as smoothly as possible. Another point is we are animals too now we are conscious and it should be our responsibility to look after the planet that doesn’t mean we have to live in a vacuum and effect nothing. we may very well be a part of the ecosystems balancing system. Thing is I agree with paul that we shouldn’t have civilizations over 20 thousand, but unfortunately the agricultural revolution already happened and there is no stopping it now. I’d love to have been borne in a tribe in Africa knowing nothing but my ball to kick and my dreams of one day being the leader. no time to sit around and get self righteous and start acting on misinformation and pure emotions with no sense of logic.

sorry for old posting but I need to rant somewhere, and the thing is I don’t know everything, I’m just forming my opinions and researching what I can. But all I know is that I was against whaling until whale wars and mister watson brought it to my attention in such a dirty way it made me look into the issue and realize there was a lot more to the situation than people like paul watson would like to admit.

have a good day and a wonderful life.
sincerely a skeptical but concerned environmentalist

14 years ago

I sent this to Peter Garret. Perhaps others could use it to do the same.
Cheer and keep up the good work Sea Shepherd

Mr Garret
Prior to my retirement, I spent the last 20 years teaching young men about the environment with units on areas that included Antarctica. One of the important components in the development of young men was that they also needed to be true to their beliefs and develop an inherent value system that required aspects of courage and respect for self and others. I am so very discouraged with regard to the incident in Australian waters where Japanese vessels are poaching our (sic) whales with no direct response by this government except for the actions of the Sea Shepherd. We should not be in a position where a private organisation is undertaking what should be accomplished by the representatives (government) of our country. I understand that you feel that you are confined by political implications/rmifications, but at what point are you prepared to stop, stand up and turn back to your fundamental principles. Remember Mr Garret, in the long view of history, we are judged by our ability to take a stand. You face a harsh choice and will be judged not only by the Australian public, but more importantly by yourself in the fullness of time when you look back on these times. If this was a ship catching Pantagonian Tooth Fish in Australian waters, what would you do? Why are whales judged any differently? Yes, Australian government action could be damaging, but so have the actions of so many men of principle over the generations as they stood up for what they believed in. Both you and Mr Rudd made declarations in the period before the elections with regard to this issue, honour yourself and your fellow Australians by not accepting the actions of the Japanese. When you are no longer in office, it will be too late.

Demonstrate to yourself and your fellow Australians that you are a man of principle. The Japanese will not accept anything less than direct action. And no, this does not require violence, merely intervention and as they appear to be poaching, nothing different than we have already done in the past to protect our interests and sovereignty.

Justin Holden
14 years ago

Editor’s note: Posted for comic relief…

You are an eco-terrorist your action are no better than Al-qaeda
There are better ways to resolve this issue than direct confrontation
When you are asking to negoiate with someone do you punch them in the face first then ask to talk?

With all the money that is being sent to both orgainsation whay hasn’t anyone spent this money on conling research so that we can just clone millions more Whales

13 years ago

Great information and I will never donate another dollar to Greenwimps. These guys do nothing! When was the last time you saw them really getting in the way of these whale killers? They have become showboaters and donation leaches. I expect to see them on the street corner with signs saying-” Will Save Whales For $$$$.” Make them show us where all that money goes. They can’t! Sea Shepperd can.

They added two new boats and are out there on the front lines actually stopping these killers.The Greenthieves need to get out of the way. Park their luxury ships, or better yet, sell them and give the money to Sea Shepperd. This group is making a difference-they need our support now!

13 years ago

Honestly I have, and continue to, support both Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherds… but I have to agree with Captain Watson… while you’re “keeping the channels of communication open” whales are dying. At some point you have to decide EXACTLY what your goal is. Is it to negotiate with the Japanese with the hopes of getting them to lessen their number of whale kills (good luck verifying that) or is it to put them out of business !!!! I side with tangible, meaningful immediate actions. And so my financial contribution will be divvied accordingly!

Good luck Captain Watson
If I was younger and had the financial wherewithal… I’d be on board with you !

13 years ago

its total bs that the minister of japanese fishing industries iis saying that pete bethune will be punished sevrely. they call that fishing. its whaling. not fishing

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