Paul Watson

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


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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