Why We Fight


Illegal operations plunder marine sanctuaries with impunity, within the high seas, far from the eyes of international authorities and public scrutiny, the issue is even worse. International laws and agreements exist to protect ocean wildlife and marine habitats, but they can be difficult to enforce because of lack of political will, insufficient economic resources, or transnational boundaries that blur jurisdiction. Where a law enforcement vacuum exists, Sea Shepherd acts to fill that void.

“I think we are law enforcers in a lawless world. I think the reason oceans are in the state they are in is because of the difficulty enforcing the law, and in most international waters there are just no laws at all. That is why there is a massive problem with overfishing.”

Chief Operating Officer, David Hance

Why We Fight

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global problem that threatens the health of marine ecosystems as well as the livelihood of coastal fishermen. Legal fishing operations that observe quotas and by-catch laws are already forced to compete for fewer and fewer fish, yet an estimated 15-40% of the total global catch is caught illegally. The problem is particularly acute for developing nations that often lack the resources to enforce local fishing laws, which is why Sea Shepherd works with governments like Mexico and Gabon to make a real difference for the future of our oceans.

“I have been honored to serve the whales, dolphins, seals and all the other creatures on this Earth. Their beauty, intelligence, strength, and spirit have inspired me.” 
– Chairman, Pritam Singh

Why We Fight

Protect Marine Habitat

Marine debris is choking our oceans, creating a devastating impact on marine ecosystems worldwide. Alongside consumer items such as plastic bottles and straws, aluminum cans, rubber balloons, plastic bags and cigarette lighters, is fishing gear such as line, nets, ropes, hooks, and buoys lost or discarded at sea. Marine debris is a danger to all marine life including birds, sharks, turtles and marine mammals, causing injury or death through drowning, entanglement, or starvation following ingestion. It’s also a serious health risk for humans, because microplastics ingested by marine animals absorb manmade toxins such as PCBs, DDT, BPA and mercury, whose effects are intensified as they pass up the food chain, making it another good reason to stop eating fish altogether.

Why We Fight

Offshore Drilling & Spills

Offshore drilling accidents, blowouts and spills have caused some of the biggest manmade environmental disasters of our time, affecting marine wildlife and the livelihood of coastal communities. Sea Shepherd teamed up with Ocean Alliance in 2014 to research the long-term impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the use of toxic chemicals that dispersed oil throughout the waters and food chain. To prevent the possibility of another disastrous spill in our oceans, in 2016, by utilizing legal measures and gaining political support, Sea Shepherd was able to successfully prevent BP from establishing new offshore drilling operations in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight.