Sonia Horon, Global Animal

Paul Watson, the famous founder and captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany, over the weekend. The charges against him are related to an incident in Costa Rica from 2002, when Sea Shepherd protested shark finning. The outstanding warrant for his arrest was also for attempted murder, which Sea Shepherd is calling a “fallacy.”

"If the whales survive and flourish, if the seals continue to live and give birth, and if I can contribute to ensuring their future prosperity, I will be forever happy." Paul Watson. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd

The 2002 Sea Shepherd protest in question was against a Costa Rican ship called the Vardero, which was illegally hunting for shark fins. A statement on Sea Shepherd’s website reads “On order of the 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.” The Vardero crew are claiming that Sea Shepherd tried to kill them, but Sea Shepherd maintains that they steered clear of the hostile boat and headed for Costa Rica.

Captain Watson is now awaiting extradition to Costa Rica. Sea Shepherd, the subject of the Animal Planet reality show Whale Wars, is hoping that the charges against him will be dropped. “While in jail, Captain Watson is being assisted by the European Parliament Vice President Daniel Cohn Bendit and the European deputy Jose Bove. Our hope is that these two honorable gentlemen can set Captain Watson free before this nonsense goes any further.”