An Article Series from 


Animal Rights/Vegan Activists' Strategies

A Year of Renewal Rebuilding and Rebranding By Captain Paul Watson

From Captain Paul Watson Foundation
August 2023

Pirate ships and pirate campaigns need a genuine pirate to set the course and to lead the crew into battle. I have the credentials.

Neptune's Pirates

A Letter Shared by Captain Paul Watson:

“It's been a year since Omar Todd established the Captain Paul Watson Foundation. (CPWF). After being forced out of Sea Shepherd, I had told him that I was fed up with these corporate structures and wanted nothing to do with creating yet another bureaucratic non-governmental organization. Omar said, “Well, do you mind if I establish a new organization?” I said, “Well knock yourself out if you feel it's a good idea.”

Omar said that because of the hostility of those who ousted me who said said they would cancel and bury me, that we needed something completely different in terms of style, logo and name while at the same time retaining the original philosophy of aggressive non-violent intervention needed to go where they would not follow or co-opt us and thus we needed to go all out with the pirate identity.

We had to continue to be who we were by becoming something distinctively different.
(As the public court lodged affidavits explain in detail)

Establishing a new organization and movement is one thing but without support it's kind of meaningless.

And as it happened, the support was already there, a loyal and enthusiastic following from wonderful people whose support had already built a movement over the last 40 years.

We did not even reach out.

Word of the entire sordid mutinous affair quickly circulated and suddenly we were swamped with crewing applications and offers of support and most importantly we began to build up a monthly base of supporters to provide us with security for our operations.

So I would like to thank each and every person that rallied to support our efforts to continue to do the work we have been doing since 1977. Thank you for spreading the word.

The strategy of aggressive non-violent intervention continues, not just with the Captain Paul Watson Foundation, but also with Sea Shepherd France under the leadership of Lamya Essemlali, and Sea Shepherd Brazil under the leadership of Nathalie Gil. Interesting that the two national entities led by women were not part of the plot to oust me and to radically change our policies.

Sea Shepherd UK's leadership of Rob Read and Anna Oliver responded to the treachery by changing the name Sea Shepherd UK to the Captain Paul Watson Foundation UK and we have established the CPWF in Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Portugal, Canada, South Africa, and Australia.

Betrayal is a harsh pill to swallow, especially from people whose trust and loyalty was unquestioned.

It's a life lesson and the only response is to rebuild, reorganize, rebrand and to always remember to continually focus on the original objectives and strategies, to focus on what made us great before the unscrupulous took advantage of the trust we had in them to manipulate and to gaslight us with the purpose of taking control of the ship they did not launch or command in order to change the course towards safer and calmer waters when the entire reason for being who we were was to sail boldly into dangerous and hostile waters in defense of life and the future.

We have a new ship to continue the old mission, the mission that we were created for and we will complete that mission because of the incredible crew of loyal supporters, some of them new but most the same people that sailed under the same flag that was taken from us by a hostile mutiny of craven opportunists.

What I now see is the freedom to move forward unencumbered by the bureaucrats and the naysayers, to once again risk all and to go where others refuse to go and to do what those ungrateful mutineers no longer have the courage or the imagination to do.

Already our reputation has gone before us.

All we did in June of this year was to arrive in Icelandic waters and within hours of our arrival, the killing of endangered Fin whales was shut down for the summer, not so dramatic but still quite effective.

All we had to do was set a course towards the Faroe Islands and immediately the Faorese issued a restriction against us entering their territory, a restriction we ignored twice in order to intervene against the slaughter of pilot whales.

Those who kill whales and slaughter dolphins know that it was not the name Sea Shepherd alone that established our reputation as the most effective anti-whaling movement on the planet.

It was Sea Shepherd under my command that drove the pirate whalers from the Atlantic, that sank half the Icelandic fleet, half the Spanish fleet and four Norwegian whalers. It was Sea Shepherd under my command that invaded Soviet Siberia to document illegal whaling and it was Sea Shepherd under my command that helped to take down the commercial market for Canadian seal products. It was Sea Shepherd under my command that drove the Japanese whaling fleet out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Omar Todd has the helm of the Foundation, and the Foundation and all it's supporters have given me command of the ships and campaigns.

Pirate ships and pirate campaigns need a genuine pirate to set the course and to lead the crew into battle. I have the credentials.

In 2014, Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Federal Court of the United States officially labeled me as a pirate although I was never actually charged with piracy. Nonetheless, a pirate I be, and the great thing about pirates is that pirates cut through the red tape and the bureaucratic bs to get things done.

This is the reason we have adapted a pirate image because it is an image that terrifies the mutineers and their corporate and government partners.

They traded in what we have always been for a seat at the table of petty bureaucrats where they can shake hands with politicians and go cycling with their new found fishery CEO buddies. Yes Jeffie, I'm talking to you.” 

Return to Animal Rights/Vegan Activist Strategies