Paul Watson Has Left Germany

B. McPherson
Sharks maintain the delicate balance of life in our oceans. Shark finning threatens to make them extinct.

Paul Watson, the face of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has apparently left Germany. He was being detained in that country on a charge from Costa Rica. Watson has been out on bail, but was subject to stringent conditions. He failed to fulfill his bail conditions and his attorney now confirms that he has left the country.

The incident for which Costa Rica was requesting extradition was for an incident that occurred in 2002. The basis for the arrest and extradition request was a charge of “violation of ships’ traffic”. Watson maintains that the incident in question took place in Guatemalan waters and he acted on the request of the Guatemalan authorities to stop illegal shark finning.

Since the encounter, there are conflicting stories. For many years the Costa Rica request was ignored as it was generally accepted that it was politically motivated.

“On order of Guatemalan authorities, Sea Shepherd instructed the crew of the Varadero to cease their shark-finning activities and head back to port to be prosecuted. While escorting the Varadero back to port, the tables were turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd crew. To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat, Sea Shepherd then set sail for Costa Rica, where the crew uncovered even more illegal shark-finning activities in the form of dried shark fins by the thousands on the roofs of industrial buildings.” Sea ShepherdConservation Society

Shark finning has become an epidemic in the world’s oceans. The dried shark fins are used in shark fin soup. As the countries of Asia have become more prosperous, many more people are demanding the expensive soup. Shark hunters do not discriminate among the species of sharks but take everything they can. The fins are cut off the captured shark and it is thrown back in the ocean to die an excrutiating slow death as it is eaten alive by other ocean dwellers. The pressure on the world’s shark populations is so great that they are in danger of being driven to extinction.

It is rumoured that Japan is now getting into the act to prosecute Watson for his activities in the Southern Ocean in his attempt to stop the illegal hunting of whales in the Antarctic sanctuary.

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