Former CSA president Jim Winter, wrote a letter that was published in the latest national McLean’s magazine regarding the portrayal of anti-sealing groups like Sea Shepherd and how labels like “pirates” should not be taken lightly by any media organization. Below is the letter Jim wrote and  Pirates VS Pirates that is the “edited” version.

I strongly disprove of international pirate fishery activities – something Canadian east coast fishers have suffered from for years.

I am equally opposed to a group taking vigilante actions even though their goal may be laudable: the means do not justify the goal.

Sea Shepherd, and its founder Paul Watson, has for decades taken vigilante action against a number of targets including those pursuing legitimate activities in Canada.

The targets are not chosen based upon a concern for the environment but are chosen by Paul Watson’s egotistical desire to be seen as the savior, the righteous hero.

 But courts don’t agree.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the “Ninth District,” in San Francisco labeled a U.S. charity “pirates” .

”The Sea Shepherds are pirates. Period. No district judge could fail to grasp the clarity and firmness of our opinion. …When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be. …A dangerous act, if committed often enough, will inevitably lead to harm, which could easily be irreparable. …Enjoining piracy sends no message about whaling; it sends the message that we will not tolerate piracy. Refusing the injunction sends the far more troublesome message that we condone violent vigilantism by U.S. nationals in international waters.”

Sadly the media rarely agrees with the courts’ (there are more than one negative decision relating to Sea Shepherd and Paul Watson) take and Sea Shepherd continues to benefit and prosper aided by uncritical, unquestioning, knee jerk journalism.

The result is a heroic portrayal of Watson and his group to the detriment of those legitimate Canadian workers – fishers and loggers – he attacks.

Despite media consistently referring to Watson  “captain” he has no papers /ticket. the only thing Watson is captain of is the rubber ducky in his bathtub.

Maybe the media should pay attention to Pogo: I have met the enemy and he is us.

St. John’s – NL
ex CBC journalist – ACTRA award documentary writer – founding president Canadian Sealers Association.

Click Pirates VS Pirates to view the McLean’s version.
You may need to enlarge it in Acrobat Viewer to see it clearly.