Ocean guardians Sea Shepherd celebrated its 40th anniversary this year of serving to defend, conserve and protect the oceans and all marine wildlife through direct action.
A new short documentary, The Part-Time Heroes Protecting Our Oceans, celebrates the organisation’s anniversary and the ongoing achievements of the crew and everyone who has helped the Sea Shepherd mission in the past 40 years.
The documentary, made by Great Big Story, shows how a diverse crew of volunteers from around the world put their lives on the line to enforce international conservation law against the illegal fishing industry.
Sea Shepherd works with law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL to help bring poachers to justice, and partners with national governments around the world to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in their sovereign waters.
Overfishing, pollution and climate change are just some of the issues affecting Earth’s most precious natural resource.
The open ocean itself is a lawless place, meaning international and national laws protecting the world’s oceans are difficult to enforce. Under the UN World Charter for Nature, it isn’t up to one country or entity to protect the seas, it’s everyone’s responsibility. That’s where Sea Shepherd comes in.
Over the last four decades, Sea Shepherd have taken “interventionist, aggressive but non-violent” steps to stop poaching and killing operations across the oceans. It has also come under much criticism as it has done praise for its methods.
The Part-Time Heroes Protecting Our Oceans goes some way to challenging the perception of stereotypes around Sea Shepherd and sheds light on the organisation’s identity.
Sea Shepherd was founded by Toronto-born sailor, Paul Watson, in 1977. A founding member of Greenpeace, Paul Watson decided to set up a more direct action movement after he was ousted from Greenpeace by the board.
Speaking to OnboardOnline, Paul Watson said: “Greenpeace is a protest organisation and I wanted to be part of something stronger which is why I set up Sea Shepherd. Protest is very submissive, it’s very much ‘please, please, please don’t kill the whales,’ but they ignore you and they do it anyway.
“We are not here to save the planet. The planet doesn’t need saving, it’s going to be around for another billion years. What our movement is about is saving humanity from humanity. That’s what we’re talking about.”
There are numerous ways for people to support Sea Shepherd and become “part-time heroes” – whether its joining a campaign on the high seas, volunteering in their hometown, help keep our shores clean and safe, or contributing the funds and equipment that keep Sea Shepherd’s ships running.
Sea Shepherd say: “The ocean is calling out for a hero. But not everyone can quit their job and leave home to participate in direct-action campaigns on the high seas. There’s another way to make a difference: you can become a Part-Time Hero by supporting Sea Shepherd’s mission wherever you are, through recurring monthly donations or your own fundraising action.”
To support Sea Shepherd or to find out more about becoming a Part-Time Hero, visit Sea Shepherd’s website
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea