Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
I would like to thank everyone around the world for the incredible support over the last week that I spent in a Frankfurt prison. It is greatly appreciated. The people of Sea Shepherd Germany have been wonderful and I have been happy to see so much support from supporters in Costa Rica and around the world also.
We have an excellent worldwide legal team working hard to resolve this legal issue. I am confident that this team will do the very best they can on every front involved with this case.
Although I have no reason to believe that the Costa Rican legal system would not give me a fair trial, my concern is not for the judicial system, but for the reality that the shark fin mafia of Costa Rica has a price on my head and a Costa Rican prison would provide an excellent opportunity for someone to exercise this lethal contract against me. We have cost the shark finners a great deal of money over the last two decades and they want their revenge. I would need absolute assurance that the Costa Rican authorities would not place me in the position to jeopardize my safety when I return to Costa Rica to prove my innocence in court.
There are two very important points that I would like to make. The first is that although my arrest and detention have been a focus of this incredible support the fact is that this is not about me. It is about our oceans and the ever-escalating threat of diminishment of the diversity of life in our seas. It is about the sharks, the whales, the seals, the sea turtles and the fish.
This is an opportunity to shine an international spotlight on what is happening to the sharks and especially to illustrate that there are elements in Costa Rica responsible for a great deal of the illegal trafficking in shark fins.
Secondly, I want to make it very clear that whatever happens to me will not affect our campaigns. I have delegated the responsibility of commanding our ships to my very capable captains and they will be defending sharks this summer in the South Pacific and the whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Cove Guardians will return to Taiji, Japan in September to defend the dolphins.
Fortunately, Sea Shepherd is now much bigger than myself and even more fortunately; the reality is that we now have a legion of passionate, dedicated, courageous and resourceful volunteers around the world. If I am prevented from serving on the front lines upon the high seas I will serve as a symbol of resistance to the destruction of our oceans from inside a prison cell.
Power and greed do not surrender easily and history has shown that sometimes prison is an ordeal that must be endured in order to shake the foundations of powerful special interests. There is no shame in incarceration as Mandela, Gandhi, Thoreau, Aung San Suu Kyi, and so many others have demonstrated.
Power does not relinquish easy and the powers opposing our efforts are immense like the shark finning, bluefin tuna fishing, whaling and dolphin killing industries, and the governments that support this trade in death like Japan, Costa Rica, Norway, Iceland, Malta, Canada etc. Sometimes I’m surprised we have made any progress at all but progress we have made indeed, and we will continue to win victories for our clients in the sea, no matter what the obstacles thrown in our path because Sea Shepherd is not just me, it is now an international movement and our flag is becoming widely known and more and more respected and most importantly, our permanent and most proud legacy are the thousands of whales, tens of thousands of sharks, hundreds of thousands of seals and millions of fish that swim free in the sea now, that would otherwise have been cruelly slain if not for our intervention.
In the end it is about them and not about us.
We invest our passion and in return we reap the ever-enduring seeds of life.