Our Approach

Sea Shepherd takes action to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.

Sea Shepherd investigates and documents when laws to protect the world's oceans and marine wildlife are not enforced. We use innovative, direct actions to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas marine sanctuaries and in countries' sovereign waters through cooperative agreements with established law enforcement agencies.

Our Approach

Direct Action on the High Seas

Despite our relatively small size and limited resources, Sea Shepherd’s campaigns have been effective because we use direct action to achieve results, instead of billboards, petitions or protest marches. Our ships, mainly crewed by passionate volunteers, have saved over 6000 whales from the Japanese harpoon ships in the dangerous Antarctic waters. We have stood up to seal hunters, hauled in miles of illegal fishing gear, and relentlessly chased one of the world’s most notorious poaching vessels for 110 days until they scuttled their own ship in defeat.

Our Approach

Working with Law Enforcement

Some of Sea Shepherd’s most successful campaigns were conducted in cooperation with international law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL. We also regularly assist nations who are lacking the resources to defend their own coastal waters from IUU fishing, such as Liberia and Gabon in West Africa, and protecting marine sanctuaries from poachers in the Galapagos.

Our Approach

It Takes a Pirate...

Captain Paul Watson has famously said “It takes a pirate to stop a pirate,” an inspiring rally cry for many Sea Shepherd supporters. It’s true that in our history we have rammed and sunk several ships to stop their illegal activities, but our mission to defend, conserve and protect our oceans and marine life has never resulted in a single injury. We don’t break laws, we uphold them. We don’t oppose nationalities, we oppose actions that harm the oceans, regardless of race, nationality, age, sex or religion. 


"We are pirates of compassion hunting down and destroying pirates of profit." - Captain Paul Watson

Our Approach

Land-Based and National Campaigns

Sea Shepherd coordinates some of our most famous campaigns on the high seas. Still, we remain very much a grassroots movement, with many more national campaigns conducted locally by Sea Shepherd groups around the world. Our volunteers participate in land-based campaigns to clean up marine debris on beaches, protect coastal nesting habitats, and educate the public about Sea Shepherd’s mission.

Our Approach

Grassroots Resources, Global Impact

Unlike many other well-known international conservation groups, Sea Shepherd is a grassroots movement run almost entirely by dedicated, passionate volunteers, not a bureaucratic organization with corporate offices and a well-staffed fundraising department. In fact, even Sea Shepherd Global has only a handful of paid staff, and our CEO - who started out as a volunteer cook on one of our ships – still answers his own email. That’s why we’re able to make such a global impact in marine conservation with just a fraction of the budget of other groups. Our loyal supporters know that we put all of our resources – time and money - into our direct action campaigns, not into billboards and fancy office stationary. Television may have made Sea Shepherd a household name, but we still walk our talk.