Doing what Greenpeace couldn’t

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) was founded in 1977 by Paul Watson, who was, as we learned in class, one of the original members of Greenpeace. We briefly mentioned this NGO in class when talking about the founding of Greenpeace, but I don’t think you fully understand how amazing this group is. In class, we mentioned how Paul Watson took a different, more hands-on approach to saving animals than Greenpeace. So, after he left the organization, he decided to start his own group to help marine life. Having analyzed the situation, I believe that Paul Watson creating SSCS was probably one of the best things to happen to the ocean and its wildlife.

Captain Paul Watson (@CaptPaulWatson) | Twitter
CaptPaulWatson. “Paul Watson.” Captain Paul Watson,

Their mission:

According to their official website, SSCS’s mission is not only to protect all ocean wildlife from “unsustainable fishing, habitat destruction, and exploitive captivity” but also to protect marine habitat. They therefore oppose ocean pollution as well as “destruction of coral reefs from trawling, and the loss of coastal nesting sites from commercial development”. In addition, they are continually assisting nations that do not have sufficient resources to defend their own coastal waters against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

According to their website, “International laws and agreements exist to protect ocean wildlife and marine habitats, but they can be difficult to enforce because of lack of political will, insufficient economic resources, or transnational boundaries that blur jurisdiction.” So, due to the lack of protection, they took it upon themselves to defend and protect marine life.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - Wikipedia
“Sea Shepherd.” Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Wikipedia,

Their approach

Their website states that they use “innovative direct action tactics to defend, conserve and protect the delicately-balanced biodiversity of our seas and enforce international conservation laws.” What are these “direct action tactics” you may ask? Well let’s just say they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty and do what others can’t… or won’t. According to Wikipedia, some actions have included “scuttling and disabling commercial whaling vessels at harbor, using limpet mines to blow holes in ship hulls, ramming other vessels, throwing glass bottles of butyric acid on the decks of vessels at sea, boarding of whaling vessels while at sea, and seizure and destruction of drift nets at sea.” 

sea shepherd
“Sea Shepherd Ship Bob Barker Collides with the Refueling Tanker Sun Laurel .” Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd Are Pirates, U.S. Court Says, GCaptain, 27 Feb. 2013,

Why they are different from other NGOs:

Unlike many other organizations, Sea Shepherd is a movement run almost entirely by devoted volunteers, which stands in sharp contrast to other groups that have a “bureaucratic organization with corporate offices and a well-staffed fundraising department” as stated in their website. As a result, with a much smaller budget than other groups, they are able to make a significant difference. The money they get is invested in direct action campaigns.

Sea Shepherd Crew | Word by Word
Sea Shepherd Crew, Word by Word, 23 July 2015,


From their numerous accomplishments, the ones I find the most jaw dropping are how they saved more than 6000 whales from Japanese harpooners in the Antarctic ocean and how they relentlessly pursued for 110 days after a famous poaching vessel until the poachers sank their own ship to destroy the evidence of their crime. No that wasn’t a typo, 110 DAYS!!!



« Unless we stop the degradation of our oceans, marine ecological systems will begin collapsing and when enough of them fail, the oceans will die. And if the oceans die, then civilization collapses and we all die.” – Paul Watson

These words perfectly encompass why an organization like the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is important. Whether we act like it or not, our survival is intrinsically linked to the survival of the ocean. And its refreshing to see that an organization exist that isn’t afraid to take real action to protect the ocean and all its holds. Do you think that the way of the Sea shepherd’s is extreme, or is it exactly what is needed?


  • Sea Shepherd Global, 25 Mar. 2021,
  • “Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Mar. 2021,

2 réflexions au sujet de “Doing what Greenpeace couldn’t”

  1. Hi Ahlem! I had honestly forgotten about the SSCS until reading this blog post, but now I can say that I won’t be forgetting them again any time soon! I really like the way you formatted this post, it was easy to follow and easy to read. The way you presented this organization made it clear that they are determined and will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal, which is exactly what we need for our oceans. I think we definitely need more organizations like this one. Do you think they could be doing more for the oceans? What are they doing today?

  2. hi Ahlem,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog! I remember hearing of Paul Watson while watching the Greenpeace documentary, but I completely forgot that he made his own organization. I really liked the way you formatted your post with subtitles, this addition made your text easy to follow and and understand. I was really moved by the fact that the organization is mostly made up of volunteers. I find this really refreshing and reassuring that the donations are going to the right place. Do you believe all organizations should follow in the footsteps of SSCS and uniquely be run by volunteers?

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