Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian American marine-conservation activist who founded the direct-action group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977. He later became familiar to the public through Animal Planet’s popular television series Whale Wars. Sea Shepherd’s mission is to protect all ocean-dwelling marine life. Today, there are thousands of Sea Shepherd activists worldwide, working together on campaigns in more than forty countries.
Even as a boy, Watson wanted to protect animals from hunters. When he was older and had become an early member of Greenpeace, he would use daring tactics to save marine wildlife from hunters. His sailing experience was acquired through the Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. Watson has been described as “the world’s most aggressive, most determined, most active, and most effective defender of wildlife.”
He is the recipient of the Genesis Award from the Humane Society of the United States and the George H.W. Bush Daily Point of Light Award. In 2002, he was inducted into the US Animal Rights Hall of Fame. In 2012, Watson became the second person after Captain Jacques Cousteau to receive the Medaille de l'Etoile Polaire (Polar Star Medal) Jules Verne Adventures Award, dedicated to environmentalists and adventurers. In 2019, he received a commendation from Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont for fifty years as an environmental conservation activist.
A prolific writer, Watson has authored or coauthored more than one dozen books, including Dealing with Climate Change and Stress, The Haunted Mariner, and Captain Paul Watson: Interview with a Pirate. The documentary Watson is about his life.