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Open Message to Sea Shepherd Supporters from Captain Paul Watson

This morning I received an email informing me that The Board of Directors of Sea Shepherd Global dismissed me from the Global Board.

This was the message:

"I am sorry to inform you that based on the conversations that we've had, and the legal issues between you and SSCS, we asked you to step down from the board. Since you have not complied with that request, the majority of the Global Board has decided that it is a conflict of interest for you to remain as a Director on the Board of Sea Shepherd Global; and has therefore reached the decision that you are no longer a Director of Sea Shepherd Global." - Alex Cornelissen

The announcement by Sea Shepherd Global yesterday of an agreement between Global and SSCS may have caught many of you by surprise. It certainly caught me by surprise. There has been a disturbing lack of transparency about the relationship between Sea Shepherd USA and Sea Shepherd Global.

It all stems from SSSC and the decision by SSCS President Pritam Singh to change the focus and the direction of Sea Shepherd in the USA. No more direct action, no more controversial campaigns and no more confrontations with poachers. In June 2022 when I said that I could not support this radical change in priorities nor could I participate in it, I was told that I was an employee and I had to do what I was told.

In response I resigned. SSCS responded by removing my picture, bio and history from the SSCS website and legally threatened me to not use the logo I designed or the name Sea Shepherd that I created. This included not being able to post pictures of myself in a Sea Shepherd shirt or with the Sea Shepherd flag. I was also told that I could not communicate with supporters nor speak with the media under threat of a lawsuit.

My official Facebook page was blocked for trademark violations because I had a picture of myself with a Sea Shepherd Shirt in front of a Sea Shepherd flag. After a month that page is still blocked to postings by myself.

SSCS made legal threats to chapter leaders and to Sea Shepherd Global.

I really don’t respond to threats, but I was patient, hoping that Sea Shepherd Global would have my back. This morning I discovered that they do not have my back.

I thought that Sea Shepherd Global would support me and I urged people to continue to support Global but under threat of lawsuits by SSCS, Alex Cornelissen, despite his serious concerns about SSCS (US) decided to make an agreement between Sea Shepherd Global and SSCS (US). Apparently, part of this agreement was to demand that Global dismiss me from the Global Board and Alex informed me of this fact this morning.

As a Global Board member, I did not receive an invitation to a Board meeting to discuss this. Alex did not call for a vote by the directors, he simply stated that the Global Board made the decision to dismiss me from the Global Board. Aside from myself, at least one other of the six directors was not notified of a meeting or notice of a vote on my dismissal. I don’t even have a vote count nor confirmation that a vote took place. I do know I was not given an opportunity to vote.

I don’t wish to attack Sea Shepherd Global. I am in 100% support of Global ship operations, crew and campaigns and these ships are doing incredibly positive interventions. I have no complaints about Alex Cornelissen or Peter Hammarstedt. What they are doing on the sea is awesome and important. The ships operating off Africa, in the Baltic, in the Mediterranean and Australia need to be doing what they are doing the way they have been doing it.

The problem lies with SSCS. They have scrapped the White Holly, the John Paul DeJoria and the Sharpie. They have sold the Brigitte Bardot and have plans to sell the Martin Sheen. They have purchased the Sharkwater against my advice and they plan to use it as a comfortable platform for scientists to do research becoming in effect an uber service for researchers.

They claim that I am too controversial and too confrontational to continue to be associated with Sea Shepherd. However, I am what I have always been and will always be and that is a proponent of direct action, aggressive non-violent tactics, vegan vessels, and a movement without fear of controversy or confrontation.

I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from continuing to support Sea Shepherd Global. The Ocean needs our ships and our campaigns.

I am simply writing this to inform everyone of a situation that is happening where Sea Shepherd entities and chapters around the world seem to be kept in the dark about what is occurring.

They can’t expect to dismiss a director and the founder of this movement and expect everyone to ignore the fact or to not question it.

They do need to supply an explanation as to why this decision was made and just what is their relationship with SSCS will be going forward, the truth without the public relations sugar coating of an illusion that both Global and SSCS are working together. Working with SSCS under its present leadership means being associated with an entity that is not what Sea Shepherd is meant to be. It will only serve to taint Global with the excessive salaries, the non-vegan ships, the aggressive marketing of merchandise and non-confrontational new direction SSCS is going.

I have established the Captain Paul Watson Foundation in the USA to continue the work I have been doing since 1977. I will support Global campaigns and I will work with any and all Sea Shepherd groups in this great movement we have created. I have no intention of retiring or surrendering to bullying and intimidation.

This is my answer to the Global Board after receiving the notice this morning that they had made the decision to dismiss me from the Global Board of Directors:

To the Board of Sea Shepherd Global

In the height of betrayal, the Global Board decided to dismiss me without a board meeting, and without a formal meeting or vote.

Is this what Sea Shepherd has become?

What next? Pritam Singh joins the Global Board. My name, picture, and legacy removed from the Global website? Or do you intend to continue to trade on my legacy despite having removed me?

All out of fear of a lawsuit. You surrendered to shameless bullying and intimidation. I hate to say this, but this Florida real estate developer now owns you, and you surrendered to him without a fight.

I will not be going quietly into the night. I intend to continue doing what I have been doing for the last 45 years. I truly never thought I would ever see this kind of treachery and betrayal in the movement that I created.

I will leave you with this quote:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

I am a fighter, always have been and always will be. I did not face off against the Japanese whaling fleet in the hostile remote waters of the Southern Ocean only to surrender to this nonsense. I will rebuild, regroup and I will return to the high seas to once again defend life, diversity and interdependence in the Ocean.

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