Paul Watson

Paul Watson portrait (link) by Witty lama is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0 (link)


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Paul Franklin Watson is a Canadian marine wildlife conservation and environmental activist, who founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-poaching and direct action group focused on marine conservation and marine conservation activism.


Canadian Seal Hunt Protest

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society leader Paul Watson has had frequent run-ins with police. In 1980, Watson was sentenced to 10 days in prison and fined $8,000 for his actions during a Canadian seal hunt protest.1 Watson was arrested in 1993 in Canada on charges stemming from actions against Cuban and Spanish fishing boats off the coast of Newfoundland.2 In 1997, Norway convicted Watson in absentia and sentenced him to serve 120 days in jail on charges of attempting to sink a Norwegian fishing and whaling vessel. Ultimately, he spent 80 days in detention in the Netherlands pending a ruling on his extradition before being released.3

Attempted Murder

In 2002, Watson was charged with attempted murder and nearly imprisoned in Costa Rica.4 He fled the country as the authorities were trying to apprehend him.5

Interpol Fugitive

In 2012 Watson was declared an internationally wanted fugitive on the international police cooperation organization Interpol’s Red List.6 In May 2012, he was arrested in Germany on an extradition warrant from Costa Rica related to the 2002 attempted murder charges.7 Watson then skipped bail claiming that had he been extradited to Costa Rica he would have then been sent to Japan on charges related to obstructing their whaling activities.8 Consequently, Interpol issued a second Red Notice request for his arrest.9

After fleeing Germany, France granted Watson political asylum, shielding him from extradition.10 In June 2016, Watson was given his Canadian passport back and subsequently entered the United States.11


  1. “Hunt Disrupter Gets 10 Days In Quebec Jail.” The Montreal Gazette. Arch 11, 1980. Accessed December 14, 2017.,81403&dq=paul+watson+convicted&hl=en
  2. Campbell, Duncan. “Champion of seas faces attempted murder case.” The Guardian. June 2, 2002. Accessed December 14, 2017.
  3. Vincent, Sam. “Blood and Guts: Dispatches from the Whale Wars.” Black Inc. September 6, 2014. Accessed December 14, 2017.
  4. Malik, Shiv. “Paul Watson, anti-whaling campaigner, held in Germany over 2002 incident.” May 14, 2012. Accessed December 14, 2017.
  5. Khatchadourian, Raffi. “Neptune’s Navy.” The New Yorker. November 5, 2007. Accessed December 14, 2017.
  6. Dehnart, Andy. “Not Their Whale War Anymore: How Animal Planet Was Forced to Step Down.” The Atlantic. December 12, 2013. Accessed December 14, 2017.
  7. “Paul Watson Explains His Decision To Flee Germany.” ECORazzi. July 30, 2012. Accessed December 14, 2017.
  8. Dowling, Siobhan. “Paul Watson skips bail in Germany.” July 26, 2012. Accessed December 14, 2017.
  9. “Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Founder, Disembarks In U.S. For First Time In Months.” Huffington Post. December 6, 2017. Accessed December 14, 2017.
  10. Dehnart, Andy. “Not Their Whale War Anymore: How Animal Planet Was Forced to Step Down.” The Atlantic. December 12, 2013. Accessed December 14, 2017.
  11. “Sea Shepherd CEO and Founder Paul Watson Back in the U.S. After Two Year Absence.” Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. August 25, 2016. Accessed December 14, 2017.
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