Captain Watson Goes to Prison for Cod and Country

Captain Paul Watson will report to the Penitentiary in St. John's, Newfoundland on Monday, November 22, 1999.

The Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been ordered to complete his thirty-day sentence for harassing and obstructing Cuban and Spanish drag trawl operations on the Tail of the Grand Banks in 1993.

In 1995, Watson was acquitted of two serious charges of Mischief endangering life and was convicted of aiding and abetting an act of Mischief by placing his ship the Cleveland Amory in a position for a crew-member to toss a stink bomb onto the trawl deck of the Cuban dragger Rio Los Casas. The crew-member was not charged.

Both Watson and the Crown Prosecutor appealed the sentence . The Crown argued for a six-month sentence and Watson appealed for the dismissal of the sentence. Both appeals were denied. The Appeals Court cited that Watson did not show any remorse for harassing the Cubans and did not apologize to Cuba for his actions.

"The difference between my actions in 1993 and those of then Federal Fisheries Minister Brian Tobin is that we successfully chased the Cuban fleet from the Banks, and we have no apologies," said Watson. "Mr. Tobin on the other hand practically kissed the stern end of the Estai and apologized profusely for interfering with the Spanish rape of the banks.

"That's the difference between a politician and an activist. We're not out there doing ocean posing, we mean business. Tobin simply used the situation to further his own political career."

Captain Watson welcomes the opportunity to vacation in Newfoundland.

"My upcoming visit to Newfoundland will be quite profitable for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. One of our supporters has pledged $10,000US per day for each day that I will serve behind bars. "

Added Captain Watson, "It has taken over six years to resolve this case, six years of weekly reporting to the RCMP, and six years of watching the continuing operations of destructive foreign fishing operations. This case is now concluded, and it frees us up to return to the Nose of the Grand Banks in the year 2000 to undertake more actions for which we will also have no intention of apologizing. It's time for another round in this debate. The cod have not recovered and high seas banditry continues unopposed."

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
P.O. Box 628 Venice, CA. 90294 USA
Web Site:
Tel: 310-301-SEAL(7325) Canada: 604-688-7325
Fax: 310-574-3161