10 Things You Must Know about the Sea Shepherds

The SSCS (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society) is a non-profit organisation founded in 1977 that aims to protect fragile marine ecosystems and prevent the destruction of habitat by deploying different tactics.

While at first glance, it might be easy to know and understand what the Shepherds of the Sea are all about, several areas about them are covered and unknown to others.

Sea Shepherds strive to safeguard marine habitats and are one of the world’s most renowned marine conservation charities. They strive to protect the world’s oceans and stand against the brutal killing of marine wildlife and inhumane activities like overfishing, hunting of humpback whales, or killing of seabirds.

A list of 10 such interesting facts about Sea Shepherds can be listed down as follows:

Sea Shepherds

1.  The founder of the organisation – Paul Watson – was one of the founders of the renowned organisation Greenpeace. In the decade between the late 1960s and 70s, Paul Watson led many active campaigns for the institution, protesting against the environmentally detrimental activities carried out before quitting it because of long-standing misunderstandings and conflicts of opinion.

2.  Sea Shepherds’ main line of action or mission is active protest instead of passive reaction. Because of this stance, they have repeatedly come under the line of fire. Japanese whalers have sued the organisation for persistently blocking their annual whaling activity. The whale wars campaign undertaken by the Shepherds is quite detailed and a significant line of focus outside the American continent.

3.  The organisation’s proactive stance includes attacking and pounding on ships that undertake activities that it believes to be against the law of nature. This has resulted in the organisation attracting negative popularity as a core extremist.

4.  Sea Shepherds also carry a cache of artillery aboard their vessels. According to the founder, this is done as a security measure to protect the crew who encounter individuals who could be life-threatening.

5.  The organisation has been deemed an eco-terrorist outfit. Over the years, many countries across the world have made a move to protest against the liberal stance taken by the US government towards the exemption of tax duties on the organisation.

6.  The international Whaling Council (IWC) disbarred the Shepherds of the Sea from being a part of its observatory group in 1994. The IWC also criticised the organisation as being terroristic in its propaganda and activities carried out.

7.  Apart from Paul Watson, the Shepherds comprises 11 others who comprise the organisation’s crew. These 11 members, of various nationalities, include three women and eight men who handle the persisting problem of marine ecological threats more effectively.

8.  The Sea Shepherds have a fleet of ships to carry out their operations. At present, their ships fleet comprises five vessels. Steve Irwin is their flagship ship.

9.  The Shepherds of the Sea focuses on countering whaling activities, preservation of the Galapagos turtles, preventing seal hunting and fighting against the hunting of sharks. The organisation has been instrumental in preventing the mass killing of dolphins in the Iki province of Japan.

10. The organisation is known for its media interaction worldwide. Its whaling campaign – Whale Wars – is a featured documentary on the Animal Planet channel, allowing the organisation to rake in more and more positive attention in the international viewer domain.

In 2015, the organisation’s ship Bob Barker followed a poaching vessel, ‘The Thunder’, for more than 100 days until the latter gave up. The crew was convicted on charges of illegal fishing.

Since the company has few staff members, it recruits volunteers and organises direct action campaigns. It has run many successful campaigns, such as the Seal Defense Campaign. Sea Shepherd also announced their Ghostnet Campaign to remove fishing gear from waters around England, Whales and Scotland.

The Sea Shepherds is an organisation whose activities can be considered grey instead of conventional white. While being touted as interfering, many marine animals and mammals owe their continued existence to this institution. In the interests of these creatures, it becomes essential that the organisation exists and thrives.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do sea shepherds actually do?

Sea Shepherds strive to defend and protect the oceans, which sometimes national authorities fail to do. They use direct action instead of passive reaction to attain their goals and objectives. They try to safeguard the biodiversity of marine ecosystems and prevent the slaughter of wildlife living in the oceans.

2. Why do Japanese whalers have a problem with the organisation?

Japanese whalers have sued the organisation for persistently blocking their annual whaling activity. The whale wars campaign undertaken by the Shepherds is quite detailed and a significant line of focus outside the American continent.

3. How many whales have the organisation saved?

Sea Shepherd has saved around 6000 whales from the deadly harpoons. Although the International Whaling Commission has banned the commercial killing of whales, people from countries like Norway, Iceland and Japan still engage in this illegal activity.

4. Is the organisation still active in 2022?

5. Do Sea Shepherd vessels carry arms?

Despite many allegations of it being an eco-terrorist organisation using firearms, the staff has said that no ships are armed. They have the most powerful weapon in the world: the camera.

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