California Academy of Sciences
April 27, 2010
Dr. Paul Watson
When it Can't Wait: Direct Action and Intervention. The Story of the Sea Shephard Conservation Society and Whale Wars.
For 30 years, Captain Paul Watson has been at the helm of the world's most active marine
protection non-profit organization – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Paul Watson's career as a
Master Mariner began in 1968 as a seaman with the merchant marines and with the Canadian Coast
Guard. Watson majored in communications and linguistics at Simon Fraser University in British
In 1972, Watson co-founded the Greenpeace Foundation (GP) in Vancouver, BC. From 1971-77,
Watson served as First Officer on all GP voyages, and on a campaign against Russian whalers he
implemented his idea of putting activists in a zodiac between the harpoon and the whale. From
1976-77, he led all of the GP expeditions to protect harp seals on the ice floes of eastern Canada.
In 1977, Watson left GP because he felt the original goals of the organization were being
compromised, and because he saw a specific, global need to continue direct-action, conservation
activities on the high seas.
In 1977, Watson founded Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – dedicated to research,
investigation, and the enforcement of laws, treaties, resolutions, and regulations established to
protect marine wildlife and their habitats worldwide. In between campaigns, Watson travels and
lectures extensively at universities and events around the world, including Pasadena College of
Design and UCLA. He has authored six books: Shepherds of the Sea (1979); Sea Shepherd: My
Fight for Whales and Seals (1982); Cry Wolf (1985); Earthforce! (1993); Ocean Warrior (1994); and
Seal Wars (2002). In addition, he has been the subject of numerous magazine articles and profiles
including being chosen by Time Magazine as one of the environmental heroes of the 20th Century in
the year 2000.