Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Granted Bail in Germany
Paul Watson, long time defender of wildlife and the face of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was arrested in Germany on a warrant issued by Costa Rica. The Costa Rican government issued the arrest warrant after asserting that Paul Watson and his crew illegally interfered with a shark finning operation in their territorial waters. The Sea Shepherd Society has a different slant on that story, alleging that they were requested to take action against the poachers by the Costa Rican government.
A quote from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society page follows:
“The fishermen were not injured and their boat was not damaged. The incident was fully documented for the film Sharkwater. Interpol originally denied this extradition order and deemed it as politically motivated. Therefore the question must be asked why Germany is now taking into account accusations made by illegal poachers.”- Captain Paul Watson
There is some credence to the Sea Shepherd version. The shark finning industry is lucrative and getting more so now that more people in the PRC can afford to buy luxuries as shark fin soup and for traditional cures. It has moved into the multi-billion dollar range as an industry that is largely unregulated and unmonitored.
According to Sharkwater an estimated 100 million sharks are “finned” every year. This particularly brutal fishery catches the sharks on longlines, cuts off their fins and throws them back into the ocean to be eaten alive. While many people are not big fans of sharks, they play an important role in helping to maintain a healthy balance of life in the oceans. They are being rapidly depleted by this “shark rush”. It is estimated that most species of shark will be extinct in a few years if this butchery continues.
There are many reasons why this unsustainable fishery should be stopped.