Hey, it’s Hugo from the
YouTube channel Le Tatou ! Today, I am with Brut and we’re going to
talk about an environmental organization. They fight whalers…. They fight against animal abuse…. But they also have a sulfurous reputation… With Brut, we are going to
share the story of Sea Shepherd This organization is first and
foremost its founder Paul Watson. For him, animal protection is
a battle he’s been fighting all his life. And incidentally,
Sea Shepherd started like this: Well I became really an activist
when I was 10 years old because I spent the summer swimming
with a family of beavers in eastern Canada. The next year when I went back,
I found out that the beavers were not there and I found out that trappers had
killed them all so I become quite angry and that winter began to walk the trap lines
and free the animals and destroy the traps. The first horrible incidents that he talks
about are notably the massacres of baby seals. Since he’s Canadian
and has seen it up close, as a child he says that he swore to do
everything in his power to put an end to it. Therefore, Paul Watson decided
very quickly to get involved and started in 1969,
when he was only 19 years old. At that time, he joined an organization that would later
become known as Greenpeace. In the 1970s, he goes on his
first mission against nuclear testing. Greenpeace then quickly moved
on to the fight against whaling
recognized and invested himself. In which Paul immediately recognized and invested himself. Well in 1975, when I was with Greenpeace, we were intervening against the
Soviet whaling fleet in the Pacific and a harpooned whale could’ve
killed the two of us in the boat. He came straight towards us,
came up from under the water and I looked into his eyes and what I felt there, is that the whale was understanding what we were trying to do because instead of coming forward and
crushing us, he slowly slid back into the sea and I saw his eyes disappear
beneath the surface and he died. So I personally feel indebted to that
whale for the fact that I’m still alive, but also I was sitting there in
the middle of the Soviet whaling fleet, I said to myself, “Why? Why are we killing these whales?”. Paul was considered too
radical even within Greenpeace. The split was really consumed
during the campaign against seal hunting in 1977 The famous campaign where Brigitte Bardot
came on the ice floe to take pictures of her kissing a baby seal that got diffused around the
world and had an extremely positive impact on seals. That’s enough now, the whole
world is revolted, is sickened. I did it for the baby seals, thinking that
maybe if I travelled to the ice floe, it would start a crowd movement,
a boycott of some sort. Something has to happen. During that campaign,
Paul grabbed the club of a seal hunter who had
just smashed a baby seal’s skull and who was about to kill a second one. So Paul grabbed the club
and threw it in the water Greenpeace management
considered it as an act of violence and destruction of private property. So it was considered as a violation
of Greenpeace’s non-violent rules. And that’s when the split was complete,
he was excluded from management so he completely withdrew himself
from Greenpeace saying, “In this case, I will create my own organization
and we will not just protest or take pictures, we will intervene. » So we are now in 1977 and
it’s the birth of Sea Shepherd And by the way, fun fact, Sea Shepherd
means “Berger des mers” in French, it’s inspired by baby seals,
which we call whitecoat seals, because they are very small
and white just like sheep. Anyway, let’s move on. Today we would like to tell you about an
incident of international importance. On July 16th 1979, the pirate whaling ship Sierra was rammed off
the coast of Portugal by Sea Shepherd. The only sure way of dealing with a pirate whaler
is to put them out of commission, permanently. The first major operation that
made Sea Shepherd and Paul famous was the scuttling of the pirate whaling ship
the Sierra, who was killing thousands of whales. We intercepted them 200 miles off the
coast of Portugal on July 15th of ‘79 and then, We intercepted them 200 miles off the
coast of Portugal on July 15th of ‘79 my objective was to disable the
vessel but the seas were very rough and I didn’t want to injure anybody so I chased the ship into the
Portuguese port of Leixões near Porto. So what we decided to do was to take the
Sea Shepherd out and to hunt them down. Then three of us hit them at 12 nots
full into the midship section of the ship, tripped a 6 foot by 8 foot hole in the ship. And then the Sierra had to
difficulty return to the dock. It took about a year to fix it and a few days before
its release to the sea, it was sunk by two mines. By hitting the Sierra,
we struck a blow for the whales by damaging the entire
pirate whaling industry which is now under international
investigation and is running scared. Since this first scuttling, Sea Shepherd
claims to have sunken about ten boats. As you have seen,
their method… is taking action. Sea Shepherd exists to fill a crucial gap,
there is no policing in the high seas. From the beginning, Paul has been campaigning
for some sort of blue helmets of the seas that would be in charge of protecting the marine
environment. And it doesn’t exist at sea, it’s the Far West. Well we have plenty of rules and
regulations and laws but nobody enforces them, there’s a complete lack of
political and economic motivation upholding national conservation law, so somebody had to do it. We use the UN World Charter for Nature
as our authorization for intervention, I’ve used it in court successfully. and really what were doing, is that we’re operating
in an environment where there is no enforcement. We have to be that enforcement. Progressively, because of the controversial
actions that Paul carried out with Sea Shepherd our critics began to nickname
us pirates, but in a pejorative way. And Paul, who is very teasing
and who is also quite fond of piracy, said: “All right, I’m fine with
that, we’re going to be pirates. We are compassionate pirates
at the service of marine life and we oppose poaching
pirates who destroy life”. I will not move, I will not move,
if you have any intention of conducting your illegal whaling operations
or your illegal refuelling, you’ll have to sink me right here next
to the Salmorel. I’m not gonna move for you. And so, he redesigned the pirate logo, he replaced the human
bones with Neptune’s trident, which symbolizes fighting spirit and the
shepherd’s stick, which symbolizes protection. And in the skull, we have a
sperm whale and a dolphin that are shaping Yin and Yang and it symbolizes the
marine balance that depends on marine life. One question that I ask every potential
volunteer who wants to crew with us is “Are you willing to risk
your life to protect a whale?” And if they say no then we don’t want them. In any case, it is clear that to board a boat
and participate in field missions anyways, we must be prepared to take risks.
That is part of our mission because we are attacking
important economic interests and we are dealing with
people who have no scruples. It’s not for everyone, and there are
plenty of other ways to participate, we don’t all have to go on a boat halfway
around the world to risk our lives and so on. We have more volunteers
ashore, in local structures that are involved at a local level,
than we have people at sea. So what’s interesting to
know about Sea Shepherd is that they state that they
always act within their rights and that they basically only attack
those who don’t respect the laws. But as you can imagine, their
methods do not please everyone. They are highly
criticized by their opponents but also by environmental organizations. In fact, people accuse them of
being too violent, aggressive, extreme and therefore sometimes counterproductive. Iceland’s whalers discovered more
damage inflicted by protestors today. A factory that makes whale
oil was found badly damaged in a sledgehammer attack. The factory
had been empty over the week-end as where two whaling ships
that were sunk in Reykjavík harbor. The protesters say the Icelanders
are hunting whales illegally under the pretext of scientific research. You know for instance people ask me :
“How can you ask young people to risk their life to protect a whale? This is really
going to extremes” and I say no, in our society we don’t only
ask young people to risk their life but to kill other young people
in the name of religion or for the flag for real-estate or for oil wells. I think it’s a far more
noble pursuit to risk your life to protect an endangered
species or a threatened habitat. It’s really interesting, people look
upon us as radicals or extremists and I say “Look, I’m a conservative, you don’t get more conservative
than be a conservationist. The radicals are destroying this
planet, they’re the extremists, you know we’re trying
to stop that extremism”. So when people say:
“Oh, you’re an eco-terrorist”, I say no I’m not an eco-terrorist,
I’ve never worked for Monsanto. But see, this is what we’re taught,
an eco-terrorist means to terrorize the ecology, to terrorize the environment but they’ve
turned it around to mean that anybody who attacks corporate or
government institutions is an eco-terrorist which is just polluting the language. People will say a lot of things,
but you know, in a way, that’s good and I’ll tell you why: because
these stories, these myths get around and so when we go after poachers in the
bottom of the world or in the middle of the ocean, they’re afraid of us. In fact, there is one
country in particular with which it has clearly been
tense for years for Sea Shepherd: Japan. I strongly oppose myself to a dangerous activity that is blocking our fleet and endangering the lives and property of our people. No to Sea Shepherd harassment ! Sea Shepherd, terrorists,
punish them severely ! On one hand, we have Sea Shepherd
fighting against whale hunting and on the other,
we have Japan hunting whales… So they don’t necessarily
get along very well. And following this conflict, Japan
issued an arrest warrant against Paul Watson on several counts, and I quote – let me take my
phone because it is very long: “breaking into a vessel, damage to property,
forcible obstruction of business, injury”. All of this because of the two
attacks against Japanese whalers in Antarctica, February 2010. And that’s not all !
Because of that warrant, he has been on the Interpol
Red Notice since September 2012. Alright, so a Red Notice is not
an international arrest warrant. It doesn’t give every country in the world
the right to stop you once you’re on their territory. It’s more complex than that
and I’ll give you the definition that can be found directly
on the Interpol website: “A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement
worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a
person pending extradition,
surrender, or similar legal action.” Paul now lives in
Vermont, United States. There would probably be no problem if
he left the United States and came to France. The problem for him would rather be his return
to the United States, crossing the border, he has no trust in Trump and he runs the risk of being
arrested and deported to Japan. To be specific, in 2018,
Sea Shepherd carried out 31 actions around the world,
both at sea and on land. They have notably fought against
illegal fishing in Italy, Gabon and Tanzania… They have also carried out a
global campaign against marine debris. In France, for example, they are seeking to protect
sea turtles with Operation Nyamba in Mayotte. Anyway, they do a lot of things. Today we have a fleet of 12 ships. The hardest thing is not to purchase the ships, the hardest
thing is to maintain them in good condition and financing the fuel. Our budget at the international
level is around 12.2 million dollars, which is not much really.
If we can make ends meet, that’s what we’re going to call it,
it is because we work with about 95% of volunteers. There are about thirty
people in the world who are paid, on boats only the captains,
mechanics and deck chiefs are. Knowing that they are paid about three times
less than what they would earn in the commercial marine. It’s still an organization that’s
run and motivated by passion and that’s why I
wanted to stay really. You are fishing illegally,
you are fishing illegally within a CCAMLAR region
(Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources). What is interesting about the
developments in the recent years is that we are working more and
more with government partnerships to intervene in territorial waters. So we have two specific cases,
one where there is no political will, there are the means
but no political will. And the other, where countries have
the political will but there are no means. This is the case of several countries in Africa,
particularly those with which we are working today. And we are providing a ship, a crew and
40 years of experience in anti-poaching to help those countries that are
willing to protect their territorial waters. We’ve been working for a long
time with the Galápagos National Park and we’re setting up cooperations
with governments in West Africa to stop shark fin fishing. And what Sea Shepherd has done in
the Galápagos is that we developed a program where we have various elements
that contribute to the conservation of sharks. We have an educational program,
we’ve released a book that talked about the
importance of sharks in the ecosystem. We also helped the
national police to train a special unit of dogs and that specializes
in the protection of marine wildlife. Even if we have to remain lucid and
humble in the face of our impact because it is not Sea Shepherd that will save
the ocean, we do not have the means to do so, but we are an example of
how it’s possible to take action at our own level. We live in the most educated society
that the world has ever known, there is no excuse for ignorance. We have the television, we have
documentaries, we have print media… anything that happens in the world,
everybody can be instantly aware of unless they choose not to be, so people are in willful denial. They don’t want to know. The ocean is the first
organ of climate regulation, it is our first source of oxygen.
It is the first carbon well and when we say ocean,
it is not the mass of salty water, it is marine life. It’s no longer like, you know, a choice, if you want a future, you have to act. Thus, as you have seen, Sea Shepherd
is carrying out real actions in the field, but they are still being criticized
because they are considered a little too aggressive. As a result, some people
see them as sea lifeguards, others as real pirates… It is up to you to make your own opinion.