Paul Watson

Photo: Guano

Paul Watson is an American-Canadian environmental activist and the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

During the 1970s, Watson was a crew member and skipper for Greenpeace. In fact, he claims to be a founding member of the conservation organisation – a claim that Greenpeace denies, saying he was influential but not a founder.

Due to his frustration with the bureaucracy and lack of direct action within Greenpeace, Watson decided to found his own conservation organisation. In 1978, Sea Shepherd purchased its first, eponymous ship and began its campaign to protect the oceans against illegal fishing and whaling, using direct action techniques to intervene in the hunts and operations.

Sea Shepherd’s no-holds-barred approach to saving our seas has landed Watson and his crew in plenty of controversy and legal battles.

Although you don’t have to be a vegan to serve on a Sea Shepherd vessel, all meals on board are plant-based and the organisation promotes a vegan diet for conservation reasons.

… the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is the only conservation organization in the world that endorses and practises vegetarianism. My ships do not serve meat or fish ever, nor do we serve dairy products. We’ve had a strictly vegan menu for years and no one has died of scurvy or malnutrition (…) We promote veganism as a means of practising what we preach which is ocean conservation.1Watson, P. 2007. OPINION: A Very Inconvenient Truth. Available: [Accessed 4 November 2021].