Paul Watson quote fish oceans human survival

Paul Watson doesn’t mince his words. Here are his best quotes:

On oceans:

“If we wipe out the fish, the oceans are going to die. If the oceans die, we die. We can’t live on this planet with a dead ocean.” 


On seafood:

“There is no such thing as sustainable seafood in a dying ocean.” 
“We are literally eating the oceans alive and there are simply not enough fish to continue to feed an ever-expanding population of humanity.” 
“The Polynesians used to have a system where they proclaimed a fishing area as ‘taboo.’ If any fisherman was caught fishing in a taboo area, they would be killed. The Polynesians understand that the fish had to be given a chance to recover.” 

“Sustainable fishing is a fraud. It’s a marketing term that really means ‘business as usual’.”


On his purpose: 

“I feel that we have a responsibility to try to do everything we can to protect species, and the best way to do that is to uphold international conservation law.”
“This is not just a movement to protect whales and sharks, seals and fish, it is a movement to protect humanity and all other species on this planet.”
“I have been honoured to serve the whales, dolphins, seals – and all the other creatures on this Earth. Their beauty, intelligence, strength and spirit have inspired me.”
“I did not establish the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as a protest organisation.”
“I take a biocentric point of view. I look at things from the point of view of the Earth and the laws of ecology. As opposed to the anthropocentric point of view, where everything revolves around humanity.” 
“People sometimes feel frustrated about what’s going on in our oceans and environment, and ‘Whale Wars’ shows that ordinary people can take action and make things happen.” 

“My clients are the whales and the seals.” 


On intervening:

“I find it abhorrent to sit there and watch a whale being slaughtered and do nothing but “bear witness” as they call it.” 
“Protest is very submissive. It’s like saying “please, please, please don’t kill the whales.” Then they go and kill them anyway.”
“The Sea Shepherd crew is doing what governments should be doing, but refuse to do themselves, because of the threats of trade retaliation from Japan.” 
“In Africa, the rangers shoot poachers.” 
“I never look at myself as a radical activist; I am more a conservative. I mean, the conservatives are trying to conserve; the radicals are destroying the planet.” 

“To me, extremism is targeting endangered whales in a whale sanctuary in violation of a moratorium. That, to me, is extreme.” 


On change:

“All social change comes from the passion and intervention of individuals or small groups of individuals.” 


On politics:

“I’ve had a lot of disappointments. I think my biggest disappointment is the failure of elected officials to make good on their promises in regards to the environment or anything else, really. I have very little faith in politicians.”

“I am a conservative. You can’t get more conservative than being a conservationist. Our entire raison d’etre is to conserve and protect.”  


On human nature:

“Most people can’t see the connection between their own lives and the oceans.” 
“We’re too busy feeling good, having a great time and entertaining ourselves to worry about the future.” 
“Killing a baby seal is about the easiest thing you can do if you’re inclined to be sadistic; you certainly can’t say there’s any sport in it – the animal is totally defenseless.”  
“I think the problem is that we don’t really understand what we are. In essence, we’re just a conceited, naked ape. But in our minds we’re some sort of “divine legend”, and we see ourselves as some sort of god. That we can walk around the earth deciding who will live and who will die and what will be destroyed and what will be saved. But the fact is we’re just a bunch of primates out of control.” (From the film ‘Sharkwater’.)

“Intelligence is the ability of a species to live in harmony with its environment.” 


On how he does it:

“I would just say that nobody could do what I do unless you had a big ego. It’s the only way you can really put it. You have to be arrogant enough to challenge the arrogance of the human race.” 
“I do what I do because it is the right thing to do. I am a warrior, and it is the way of the Warrior to fight superior odds.” 
“I have never suffered under any delusion that saving the whales in the Antarctic sanctuary would be easy, but the one thing I am certain of is that I and my passionate crew of international volunteers will never quit defending life in the seas from poachers, no matter what consequences we must endure to do so.” 

“I do what I do because it is the right thing to do.” 


On the law:

“Sometimes going to jail is just the price you have to pay for social reform or social change.”
“If you’re dealing with criminals, they’re not going to want to go to court.” 
“The United Nations World Charter for Nature, section 21, empowers any nongovernmental organisation or individual to uphold international conservation law in areas beyond national jurisdiction and specifically on the high seas.” 

“People are beginning to realize that we need to live in accordance with the law of ecology, the law of finite resources, and if we don’t, we’re going to go extinct.”  


On the media:

“The most powerful weapon in the world, as far as I’m concerned, is the camera.” 
“The Brer Rabbit ploy has been quite effective for me. When a country is talking about prosecuting me, I demand to be charged and put on trial and offer to pay my own airfare. They know that I’m going to bring a lot of international media with me and put their whaling programme on trial, and they decide it’s better to keep quiet and do nothing.” 

“People say I manipulate the media. Well, duh. We live in a media culture, so why on earth wouldn’t I?” 


On where it started:

“I used to swim with these beavers in a beaver pond when I was 10. I went back when I was 11 and found there were no more beavers. I found that trappers had taken them all, so I became quite angry, and that winter I began to walk the trap lines and free animals from the traps and destroy the traps.” 


On the Japanese:

“Japan is a bully nation that takes what it wants and threatens any who oppose it.” 
“The only language the Japanese whaling industry understands is economics.” 

“I’m not interested in culture; I’m interested in the law.” 


On Antarctica:

“I have led more expeditions to Antarctica than Scott, Amundsen, and Shackleton put together.” 


On nature: 

“I experienced the California Northridge Earthquake of 1994 and the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, and I have seen firsthand how terrible and awesomely devastating a force of nature can be.” 
“Ships are expendable; whales are not.” 
“No words can describe the personal liberation that heading seaward bestows upon me. In this aquatic realm, no man or woman is subject to the petty decrees of social bureaucracy.”

“No species is more important than others.” 


On commerce:

“The tragedy is that there is so much more incentive – money – to destroy the ecology than there is to preserve it.” 

“There’s money to be made by driving a species extinct.” 


On what can you do:     

“Stop eating the ocean. There is no such thing as a sustainable fishery. If people eat meat, make sure it’s organic and isn’t contributing to the destruction of the ocean because 40 percent of all fish caught out of the ocean is fed to livestock – chickens on factory farms are fed fish meal. And be cognizant of the fact that if the oceans die, we die. Our ultimate responsibility is to protect biodiversity in our world’s oceans.” 


If you’re into Paul Watson’s quotes there’s a little book of them available:

Captain Paul Watson quotes book

You can buy ‘The Philosophy of Paul Watson’ on Amazon.

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Phil Stubbs

Blogger, Podcaster, Producer at The Environment Show

Environmental Podcaster, Blogger and Producer at The Environment Show. I'm based in Sydney, Australia.

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