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A message from Captain Paul Watson – President of the Board and Executive Director of Sea Shepherd USA

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On December 31st, 2012, I stepped down from my position as President of the Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the USA.

I did so in order as to comply with the injunction granted to the Japanese whalers by the U.S. Federal 9th Circuit Court. This was a move to protect both the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Directors due to the fact that I was already in the Southern Ocean when the injunction was granted to the Japanese whalers on December 17th, 2012. Although I also stepped down as the campaign leader and the Captain of the Steve Irwin, it was physically impossible for me to leave the ship.

Since then, it has been a rough 40 months with numerous court cases, and although Sea Shepherd was penalized for opposing the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling operations in the Southern ocean, we were vindicated by the decision of the International Court of Justice in 2014 that delivered a verdict that Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean is neither scientific or legal. In 2015, the Australian Federal Court fined the Japanese whalers one million Australian dollars for contempt for continuing to kill whales in violation of a judgment of the Australian Federal Court.

In response to the verdict of the U.S. Federal Court against Sea Shepherd USA, the U.S.A. operations of Sea Shepherd were separated from all other national Sea Shepherd entities. These entities were organized under the direction of Sea Shepherd Global directed by Captain Alex Cornelissen of the Netherlands.

The positive side of this separation was the creation of what is now the global Sea Shepherd movement.

Sea Shepherd USA is now countering suing the Japanese in the U.S. Courts.

There is no question that the legal consequences were counter productive to Sea Shepherd USA but because Sea Shepherd is a law-abiding organization, there was no alternative but to comply with the Federal Court order.

We have learned many lessons on many fronts and I believe we are the stronger because of these trials and obstacles that we have had to endure.

Now after three years and three months, I have returned to my position as President of the Board of Directors and Executive Director of Sea Shepherd USA.

In this position I will focus on the operations of ships and campaigns run by Sea Shepherd USA, specifically the operations of the ships Farley Mowat, Martin Sheen and Jules Verne. With reference to priority operations our focus will be Operation Jairo to protect sea-turtles, Operation Milagro to protect the endangered Vaquita and the initiation of campaigns to protect marine reserves in the Caribbean and the West coast of Latin America. Sea Shepherd will continue our efforts to protect the marine reserves of the Galapagos and we intend to address the plight of wild salmon off the coast of British Columbia. In addition we will continue our opposition to the illegal slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins in the Faroe Islands, the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, the Canadian seal hunt and of course illegal whaling and fishing wherever we are needed. We will also focus on our campaigns to free captive Orcas and dolphins from captivity.

Sea Shepherd USA will work in cooperation with all other Sea Shepherd groups around the planet to uphold international marine conservation laws wherever we can make a difference.

Sea Shepherd will continue our policy of aggressive non-violence and operations within the boundaries on international law as defined by the U.N. World Charter for Nature and of course within the boundaries of practicality.

I will assess the effectiveness of current campaign strategies and of course in this area, I most certainly welcome suggestions and ideas.

Sea Shepherd will continue to work to educate the public through cooperation with television programs, documentary and feature films.

Sea Shepherd will also continue to be dedicated to directing our resources to ships and campaigns. We intend to keep our staff small and efficient and we wish to continue to have the organization motivated by the passion, imagination, courage, dedication and compassion of our volunteer support base.

Our entire motivation for doing what we do is all summed up in the simple statement that “if the Ocean dies, we all die!”

Sea Shepherd ships will continue to be vegan vessels for reasons of conservation and environmental concerns and we will continue to operate our vessels as efficiently and as safely as we can. Our 39-year record of never causing an injury to our opposition or sustaining any serious injuries to our own crew is unblemished and I intend to see that it continues on this path.

I want all directors, staff, officers and crew, chapter coordinators, shore volunteers and supporters to understand that they can direct any and all complaints, suggestions and ideas to me personally and directly. We need to have efficient communications between all parties within Sea Shepherd.

I believe that Sea Shepherd has evolved in a very positive direction with our successful alliances with various governmental enforcement agencies, like with the Mexican Navy and the Galapagos National Park. And of course this compliments the cooperative efforts that Sea Shepherd Global has made in cooperation with Interpol and governments in Africa, Europe and Asia.  I think this is the way of the future where we combine our activism with official powers of enforcement.

Next year Sea Shepherd will celebrate our 40th Anniversary. I want us to complete this year with every staff member, chapter leader and volunteer feeling that they we are all equal partners in something that is more than just an organization, but more importantly a much needed movement to defend and protect marine bio-diversity in our Ocean.

What we do in the coming years will hopefully have positive consequences for all future generations of all species including our own.

We have always been progressive with activism and idealism but we also need to develop a business plan to allow us to efficiently raise the funds we need to run our ships and campaigns. In the past this has been our weakness and I am convinced if we can increase our efficiency with fund-raising and with administration we will be able to increase our efficiency with campaigns.

After 40 months it is good to return to take the helm of Sea Shepherd USA and together we can now set a course towards a future of more effective interventions and creating greater awareness.

Thank you

Captain Paul Watson

In addition to being one of the co-founders of Greenpeace in 1972 and Greenpeace International in 1979, Paul Watson is the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - an organization dedicated to research, investigation and enforcement of laws, treaties, resolutions and regulations established to protect marine wildlife worldwide.

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Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras

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Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.


What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?

Website: www.christianhorras.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/christian.horras/


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award

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Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to heroes@emperordivers.com.

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact heroes@emperordivers.com for details.

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