Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Captain Watson’s letter to Mr. Finnsson of the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (followed by Mr. Finnsson’s letter to Captain Watson):
May 18, 2007
Dear Mr. Finnsson,
Thank-you for your letter of May 18th 2007.
Your opinion concerning Sea Shepherd intervention against illegal Icelandic whaling is noted, but I must inform you that your opinion is not relevant to our decisions.
We are not concerned with the opinions of human beings who support illegal whaling or the opinions of those who would prevent efforts to defend and protect whales from the harpoons of outlaw whalers. Our clients are the whales and those who wish to protect them. We represent the interests of the whales, and thus, we defend the whales.
The infliction of cruel death upon these intelligent, sensitive, and socially complex creatures has no place in the civilized world and no place in the 21st Century.
We are not concerned if the people of Iceland or the members of the Iceland Nature Conservation Association have sympathy with our actions. The whales don’t have time for meetings and for government policies – they need someone to actively defend them now.
The international membership of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society views Icelandic whaling with disgust and they similarly disapprove of other criminal whaling operations. The people of Iceland may not have sympathy for Sea Shepherd interventions but people from around the world who abhor illegal Icelandic whaling operations will support Sea Shepherd actions.
Our sinking of half the Icelandic whaling fleet in 1986 did cripple the whaling industry and it was costly to the whalers. I notice those two ships have not operated since. Permanently removing a whaling ship from action IS saving whales; it is not about talking about saving whales. We are a conservation organization, not a conversation organization. We act to protect whales; we don’t sit around and talk about saving whales.
It is also noteworthy that Iceland refused to lay charges against us for that action in 1986 despite the fact that I traveled to Iceland to demand that they lay charges or shut up. They decided it was in Iceland’s interest to shut up and ordered me to leave the country without being arrested.
You should be ashamed that the illegal slaughter of whales is being carried out in Iceland by Icelanders. And you should be directing your efforts towards stopping them and not us. As a Canadian, I am deeply ashamed and offended by the annual slaughter of harp seals and I welcome people from around the world to protest and oppose my government’s support for this cruel and barbarous industry.
We are prepared to risk our lives to stop Icelandic whaling. This is not a frivolous campaign. We are prepared to go to jail and to make as much noise about this as possible. With crew of a dozen different nationalities in Icelandic jails, I see an international incident in the making – one that will explosively expose illegal Icelandic whaling operations and one that will inspire a worldwide anti-Icelandic whaling movement.
Would we listen to the plea of a murderer to not interfere with preventing the murder of his victims? I don’t think so.
Icelandic whaling is illegal and Sea Shepherd is merely acting in accordance with the United Nations World Charter for Nature which allows for non-governmental intervention to uphold international conservation law and treaties.
I cannot believe that you call yourself a conservationist and make reference to the “scientific” slaughter of whales. You sound like an apologist for the criminal whalers and hardly an advocate for the whales.
Unlike IFAW, Sea Shepherd wishes to permanently abolish whaling. IFAW supports sustainable killing of whales. We do not.
The whales do not belong to Icelanders. How arrogant to presume that any group of human beings should play God with other intelligent life forms on this planet. It is not up to Icelanders to decide if they choose to be killers or not. Would you leave the decision to a serial killer to voluntarily give up preying upon innocent victims? I don’t think so.
The Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat is en route to Iceland, and our objective is intervention against the cruel and illegal Icelandic slaughter of the whales.
We reject your request that we abort this mission.
Find me one whale in Icelandic waters that does not wish us to intervene to save them from the vicious harpoons of your outlaw whalers and I promise you we will turn back.
On behalf of the world’s whales,
Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (1977-
Co-Founder – The Greenpeace Foundation (1972)
Co-Founder – Greenpeace International (1979)
Director of the Sierra Club USA (2003-2006)
Director – The Farley Mowat Institute
Director – Harpseals.org
Letter from Mr. Finnsson to Captain Watson:
Reykjavik, 18 May 2007
Mr. Paul Watson
P.O. Box 2616
WA 98250 (USA)
Dear Mr. Watson
Iceland Nature Conservation Association has learned that Sea Shepherd intends taking actions against whaling activities in Icelandic waters this summer. The INCA urges you not to do this as it will, at best, be meaningless. At worst, such actions will but strengthen Iceland’s resolve to carry on its whaling activities in order to maintain a dying industry.
Please, keep in mind that further hunting of fin whales appears highly unlikely as there is no market for the meat. Likewise, the scientific hunt for minke whales will be largely over at the time of Farley Mowat’s scheduled arrival.
It is our conviction that Sea Shepherd’s action of sinking the two whaling boats in Reykjavik Harbour, in November 1986, prolonged the life of a dying industry. The Icelandic people view such actions with disgust and we similarly disapprove of criminal methods.
The INCA has for several years cooperated with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to highlight the futility of Icelandic whaling operations as well as promoting whale watching in Iceland. In the four years since Iceland resumed “scientific whaling” we have commissioned scientific and independent economic analyses in order to encourage debate within Iceland about the wisdom of whaling. There is a growing public recognition that further whaling is not beneficial to Iceland.
Ultimately only the people of Iceland through its parliament and government can decide to stop whaling. Hence, it will be counterproductive if Sea Shephard takes action against Icelandic whaling under the label of Ragnarök – “doom or destruction of the powers.” The people of Iceland, as well as The Iceland Nature Conservation Association, will have no sympathy for such actions. It is not the way to promote the cause of conservation.
Árni Finnsson, chairman of INCA.