An Article Series from 


Animal Rights/Vegan Activists' Strategies

What's on the Horizon for 2024?

From Captain Paul Watson, Neptune's Pirates
January 2024

I want to make good on a promise made in 1975 to stop the murder of whales in the Ocean. I made that promise to a dying Sperm whale in June of 1975, a mortally wounded whale that could have taken my life but chose to spare me.

Neptune's Pirates

I have unfinished business and I need your help to fulfill a lifelong promise.

With the closing of 2023, I have been reflecting on where I began, where I am now and where I need to go.

I turned 73 last year which means I have a limitation on time to do what I need to do and what I need to do is to make good on a promise made in 1975 to stop the murder of whales in the Ocean.

I made that promise to a dying Sperm whale in June of 1975, a mortally wounded whale that could have taken my life but chose to spare me.

It was that moment that put me on this path to do all that I could to eradicate the whaling industry. Looking back on the last half century, I can say that I’ve come a long way towards fulfilling that promise.

In 1975, industrial whale killing nations included Australia, South Africa, Peru, Spain, Chile, The Soviet Union, Norway, Iceland and Japan. In addition there was a fleet of pirate whalers terrorizing the cetacean nation.

I began as a Greenpeace Co-founder intervening against the Soviet whaling fleet in the North Pacific in 1975, 1976 and 1977 and opposing the Australian whaling industry also in 1977.

Australia ended whaling in 1978.

In 1979, I decided to take on the pirate whalers. In July of 1979, I hunted down, rammed and disabled the pirate whaler Sierra in the Portuguese harbor of Leixões. After it was repaired, we sank it in Lisbon harbor in April 1980. We then sank two of the four Spanish whalers, the Isba I and Isba II in Vigo harbor, Spain also in April 1980 and forced the shutting down of the pirate whaler Cape Fisher in the Canary Islands a month later. The same year we pressured the South African government to arrest and seize the pirate whalers Susen and Theresa which were then sunk by the South African Navy.

In 1986, we sank half of Iceland’s whaling fleet, scuttling the Hvalur 6 and Hvalur 7 in Reykjavik harbor.

Between 1992 and 2007, the outlaw whaler Nybræna was scuttled on Christmas day, 1992. The outlaw whaler Senet was scuttled in January 1994. The outlaw whaler Elin-Toril was scuttled in 1996. The outlaw whaler Morild was sunk in November 1997. The outlaw whaler Willassen Senior was scuttled on August 31, 2007. On April 23rd we scuttled the outlaw whaler Skarbakk in Henningsvær.

In total 13 whaling vessels sunk.

And between 2005 and 2017, in a series of annual interventions in the Southern Ocean as documented on the Discovery channel Whale Wars, we forced the retreat of the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the waters surrounding Antarctica.

The promise however is not complete. Norway, Iceland, Japan and the Danish Faroe Islands continue to slaughter whales.

I have to complete my life’s mission despite the obstacles, the betrayals and the challenges.

The chances of successfully completing this mission seems impossible but I have always held the position that impossible problems simply require an impossible solution and impossible solutions can be achieved through passion, courage and imagination. We’ve done the impossible before and we can do it again.

Japan’s issuance of an Interpol Red Notice for conspiracy to interfere with their illegal Southern Ocean operations kept me from returning to sea for ten years, forcing me to entrust operations to people who then betrayed me.

In 2022, everything that I had built up over four decades was treacherously taken away from me. Men, that I mentored and mistakenly trusted conspired to take control of a movement that I created. In doing so they seized my ships, assets, the name and logos that I created and designed, and the list of global supporters.

In so doing they destroyed an international movement and replaced it with themselves in total control and without transparency to Sea Shepherd supporters.

The fault is mine. I trusted them and it never occurred to me that they would betray me and more importantly that they would betray the movement that I created, replacing my aggressive non-violent strategy with mediocre a mainstream approach already ineffectively used by many organizations.

What do I want to achieve in the time that I have left to achieve anything substantially constructive towards realizing my promise?

In answer to this question there are four objectives.

First, to stop the Icelandic slaughter of endangered Fin whales. We intend to do so this coming summer.

Secondly, to prevent Japan from resuming illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We are preparing to return when the Japanese whalers return in 2025.

Thirdly, to end the horrific slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins in the Faroe Islands. We will be sending crew there this coming summer.

Fourthly, to stop the killing of whales by Norway, for which we have a plan.

This will be our focus and our objectives going forward.

To do this I need three things. Ships, crews and generous supporters.

I have the ships, I have the crews. What I need are supporters who believe that we can do what we need to do to end the evil of whaling.

If you have not already done so, please consider becoming a Pirate Patron monthly donor to the Captain Paul Watson Foundation. The monthly donor program gives us the financial security to operate and to finance our campaigns.

I would like to invite you onboard with me and my crew of Neptune’s Pirates as we point our bow towards Iceland this coming summer with the objective of preventing the notorious modern day Captain Ahab, the serial Fin whale killing Kristjian Loftsson. All it takes to join us is to sign up as a Pirate Patron monthly donor. And for all of you who have already signed on, a big thank-you of appreciation.

For the ocean,
Captain Paul Watson

Return to Animal Rights/Vegan Activist Strategies
Read more at Wildlife Articles