Captain Paul Watson is a world-renowned and well-respected leader in the fields of environment and conservation. He is best known to television viewers as a defender of marine mammals on the long-running television show Whale Wars, a series that highlighted Sea Shepherd’s work defending whales in the Southern Ocean.
Watson, also a co-founder of Greenpeace, first founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977. The non-profit marine conservation organization’s mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans. “If the oceans die, we die” is Captain Watson’s oft-quoted motto, which guides Sea Shepherd in its goal to conserve, defend, and protect ecosystems and species.
Under Captain Watson’s leadership, Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. Captain Watson has commanded over 200 primarily offshore voyages in storms, ice packs, through canals and treacherous currents, and faced dangerous confrontations without a single accident or a single injury to his crew or to anyone else.
Captain Watson has received many awards and commendations over the years. He was Toronto City TV’s Environmentalist of the Year Award in 1990, he received a Genesis Award in 1998, and he was inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame in 2002. He was also awarded the George H.W. Bush Daily Points of Light Award in 1999 for his volunteer efforts with conservation activism. He was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the Environmental Heroes of the 20th Century in the year 2000.
Films highlighting Captain Watson and Sea Shepherd’s work include How to Change the World, The Cove, Sharkwater, Chasing the Thunder, among others. This year, Sea of Shadows, a documentary featuring Sea Shepherd’s activities protecting the vaquita porpoise in the Sea of Cortez, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way). A documentary about the life of Captain Watson is set to premiere this April at the Tribeca Film Festival (Participant Media).
Sea Shepherd’s work will also be highlighted in the soon to be released Seaspiracy (same filmmaker as What the Health), an IMAX film about endangered species, and two feature films about sharks (signed NDA). A true visionary, Captain Watson understands the power of the camera and knows that it is a powerful tool to affect change, rally people into action, and instigate media coverage. Since the early years of Sea Shepherd, he has utilized the power of the camera, passion, and pure determination, to create a lasting impact on the lives of marine wildlife.