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Sea Shepherds Are Saying NO to Rebranding

Captain Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd National Leaders of France, UK and Brazil have parted ways with Sea Shepherd Global and have formed the Sea Shepherd Origins Coalition.

Why this split?

Sea Shepherd Origins aims to counter the maneuvers of those who want to force the organization to change course and abandon the courageous approach that has made it a key player in the defense of the marine world for over four decades.

The current situation is the result of a process that began in 2018 when there was talk of Sea Shepherd returning to Iceland to denounce whaling. Peter Hammarstedt (Sea Shepherd Global Board Member and Director of Campaigns) then opposed the campaign, arguing that it would revive the memory of the whalers we sank in 1986. According to him, this past controversy should be forgotten. Sea Shepherd working in partnership with certain States, mainly on the initiative of Peter Hammarstedt had to take care to not antagonize any government, at the risk of harming these collaborations. His exact words were: “We are currently rebranding”

The idea that Sea Shepherd should move away from direct action (which by definition does not require the approval of governments) gradually gained ground. Paul Watson has resisted this change in direction. Because of his opposition to abandoning what Sea Shepherd has always been, Captain Paul Watson has been being referred to by some who want this change of direction as “the Watson problem”.

All the directors of Sea Shepherd Global, Alex Cornelissen, Peter Hammarstedt, Geert Vons, Jeff Hansen (with the exception of Lamya Essemlali) as well as the president of the American branch Pritam Singh went in the same direction and decided to divert Sea Shepherd from its original DNA. A vision to which Sea Shepherd supporters and volunteers are fiercely opposed as evidenced by the many recent reactions on social networks.

We are proud of our long history and proud of what we have achieved. There is no way we are sweeping our past under the rug to reassure government bureaucrats who seek to use us to serve their interests while demanding that we live up to their expectations, fly the flag of their choice and let them validate all our communications, our interviews and our images before broadcasting.

The shepherd's crook and the trident on the Jolly Roger created by Paul Watson defines what Sea Shepherd has always been: a defiant, uncompromising and controversial movement, never a tool of manipulation in the service of a state bureaucracy.

We have always been a non-governmental organization. We have always been independent and incorruptible.

This is what we have been since 1977 and this is what we intend to stay. NO REBRANDING: WE WILL NOT CHANGE.

Those who wish to make us forget who we are think that the challenge will run out of steam, that the new direction they are taking will be accepted by all and that the current division will quickly be forgotten. But if thousands of people around the world have supported and joined Sea Shepherd, that's what it was originally for.

Sea Shepherd was never intended to provide comfortable jobs for career-minded people. This organization was founded to be led by deeply committed people who do not shy away from confrontation when it is necessary to stop the illegal destruction of the ocean. Sea Shepherd is not a job. It is a responsibility, an obligation and a duty.

Those who want to continue to support our actions and our combative approach are invited to join the coalition we have just created with the national branches of Sea Shepherd that remain faithful to its original spirit, Sea Shepherd France, Sea Shepherd UK, Sea Shepherd Brazil , as well as the new Captain Paul Watson Foundation. We invite other Sea Shepherd national branches to join us, hoping that there will be many of them and we invite all our supporters to support us by signing our ethical charter online at This charter defines the values of Sea Shepherd and lays down essential safeguards to prevent any recovery of movement.

Sea Shepherd Origins does not replace Sea Shepherd. Sea Shepherd Origins IS Sea Shepherd. This is what Sea Shepherd has always been and should continue to be.

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