Thursday, 2 August 2012

Anti whaling charities harpooning each other rather than fighting for conservation

Pete Bethune vs Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
July 2012. The case brought by marine activist, Pete Bethune, against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) and its founder, Paul Watson, is underway in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.
Bethune has instigated the arbitration case in an attempt to force SSCS to pay up the $1/2 million it claims Sea Shepherd owes him for the purchase of his boat, the Ady Gil. The boat was rammed by a Japanese whaler while taking part in a Sea Shepherd campaign in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in 2010.
Sea Shepherd has left open the possibility that Paul Watson will be a witness in court despite him having just skipped bail from Germany where he was being held following an extradition order issued by the Costa Rican authorities.
"Extremely sad"
Prior to the start of the case, Bethune said: "I am extremely sad that I have been forced to bring this case to court against an organisation that I loved and a man that I had great respect for.
"I sacrificed a year of my life to Paul and the SSCS, including five months locked up in a maximum security prison in Japan resulting from actions I took under the captaincy of Paul. He then expelled me from SSCS (According to SSCS Bethune was expelled when a bow and arrows were found on board the Ady Gil) whilst I was in jail and their treatment of me publicly and privately since then has been a disgrace. The Japanese at least treated me with dignity and respect. Sea Shepherd in contrast has treated me like a used condom, throwing me away once I'd served its purpose."
Illegal fishing targetted
Bethune, who founded his own marine conservation organisation, Earthrace Conservation, after being released from prison in Japan, next plans to tackle illegal fishing off the coast of Africa. "Not only has the court case taken up a lot of my time, but the financial difficulties I have faced because of the money SSCS owes to me have also been a huge concern. Earthrace Conservation is being run on a shoe-string but still somehow managing to succeed in our campaigns thanks to our volunteers and my family and friends.
"At least in court, the case will be decided based on merit. I am looking forward to seeing an end to it all and being able to concentrate on the mountainous challenges to our marine environment rather than my mountainous debts."

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