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Sea Shepherd CEO Paul Watson Returns to US After 2 Years of Exile in France

Aug 31, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's founder and CEO Paul Watsons returned to U.S. after two years exile in France for his fight against illegal fishing of sharks.
(Photo : Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's founder and CEO Paul Watsons returned to the U.S. after two years exile in France for his fight against illegal fishing of sharks, according to a press release sent to Nature World News.

Watson vs. Costa Rica

Captain Watson started his war against illegal shark fishing in 2002 when he intervened Costa Rican shipping vessel Varadero I from illegally fishing sharks off waters of Guatemala. Despite successfully bringing the case in Guatemala and securing an arrest warrant against the vessel, the poachers were able to escape and went back to Costa Rica when Watson attempted to arrest them.

To make matters worse, authorities from Costa Rica filed a criminal complaint against Watson and his crew for allegedly threatening to arrest and murder seven members of the Varadero I's crew and damaging their vessel as well. Watson and his group were able to get counsel from a local foundation but they were not informed promptly about the hearing. Fortunately, Sea Shepherd was able to take videos during the previous arrest while the other party wasn't able to provide any. With this, the case was dropped.

But new charges appeared, and throughout all of these, Watson and his group weren't able to appear to court because they weren't informed about updates or need of appearances. Due to their non-appearance, Costa Rica court declared Watson as a rebel and issued a warrant of arrest for violation of ship traffic.

Exile in France, Battle Against Japan

Watson fled to Germany but was detained in Frankfurt in connection with the Costa Rica case, where the country is seeking the extradition of Watson for allegedly "ship endangerment and aerial disaster" which is as worse as terrorism.

Captain Watson's woes did not end there. Japan also asked Germany to arrest Watson for his allegedly "conspiracy schemes" that involved in 2010 Sea Shepherd's fight against Japan's illegal whaling in Southern Ocean. Fearing for his life, Watson fled Germany to go to France. Interpol got involved as they issued a Red Notice alert against Watson for the Costa Rica incident.

Despite being a dual citizen, Watson's U.S. and Canadian passports were confiscated in Germany and were returned to both countries. The U.S. and Canada returned the said passports.

Finally, France became Watson's home for two years after the country granted him asylum. He also married his Russian girlfriend, opera singer Yanina Rusinovich. They are expecting a baby boy in October.

He has now returned to the U.S. and has resumed his duties as President of Board Directors and Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. He previously stepped down from his position in the organization and as a captain of SS Steve Irwin before he went to France.

Captain Paul Watson had his first public appearance at Vermont Comic Con last Saturday, Aug. 27. 


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