Captain Paul Watson
Paul Watson, Canadian American environmental activist who founded (1977) the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an organization that sought to protect marine wildlife. Watson exhibited an early affinity for protecting wildlife. At age nine he would seek out and destroy leghold traps that were set by beaver hunters, interfere with deer and duck hunters, and foil the attempts of other young boys to shoot birds. During the late 1960s he joined the Canadian Coast Guard and gained sailing experience with the British, Canadian, Norwegian, and Swedish merchant marines.
Watson was an early member of Greenpeace International (founded in 1971). During his years with the organization, he often employed daring and innovative tactics to defend wildlife from hunters, such as positioning his inflatable Zodiac boat between a pod of sperm whales and the harpoon of a large Soviet whaling vessel or forcing sealing ships to a halt by standing on the ice in their path. He also was known to handcuff himself to a pile of seal pelts being hoisted up onto a sealing vessel. Because of conflicts concerning such unconventional protest methods, Watson left Greenpeace, and in 1977 he established the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.