Friday, February 1, 2008

Paul Watson: creative global citizen of the month

Jotman presents his "creativity and global citizenship" award for January to Sea Shepherd Society founder Paul Watson. Like Greenpeace, his organization is dedicated to protecting marine wildlife. Although Greenpeace has been getting the sealion's share of the media's attention over the past month, Paul Watson is the real pioneer today of unorthodox marine protest techniques. He has developed some creative means to obstruct those giant corporations that suck the life out of the earth's oceans for profit.

I have blogged about the need to stop bottom-trawling. It turns out Paul Watson has innovated a way to prevent fishing fleets from bottom trawling. Khatchadourian wrote in a New Yorker story about Watson:
. . . off the coast of Newfoundland, where the crew would dump into the ocean twenty tons of steel I-beams welded together to form large spikes. Watson called the spikes “net rippers,” because they would be designed to destroy bottom-trawling nets. He planned to scatter them across the Grand Banks seabed, and announce that they were there but not say where. The tactic—much like tree spiking, a nineteenth-century method of sabotaging logging equipment, which Watson helped revive in the eighties—would mix propaganda with action, so that fishermen would have to assume the worst.
People like Watson are not against the local fisherman, they are fighting against corporate fisheries; businesses with offices in big cities like Taipei, Tokyo and Moscow that are depleting regional fish stocks. They are killing off the fish species such as tuna to the point where local fishermen from the Mediterranean to the east coast of Africa are now struggling. Thanks to the greed of a few, a beautiful coastal way of life is being destroyed.

As for the good fight against Japan's factory whaling fleet, presently Watson and his crew refueling in Melbourne Australia. Watson said on Thursday, “We have new crew flying in from around the world. We have ordered the spare parts we need and we are anxious to return to defend the whales. This is a retreat for supplies only,e have not surrendered the Sanctuary to the whale killers. We will be back as soon as possible.” He adds, “There have been no reports from the Oceanic Viking of whales being killed to date. This means that our goal of seeing that whaling was halted until the end of January has been reached.” He continues, “Our next objective is to shut down Japanese whaling operations for another three weeks and I think we can do it.”
Visit the Sea Shepherd Society website.

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