By Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson
The first Sea Shepherd Summit was a great success and Sea Shepherd has decided to hold a Second Global Summit on June 21st, 2015.
More than 250 people attended the three-and-a-half-day event at a farm in Woodstock, Vermont and it was an opportunity for people from Sea Shepherd national and regional groups around the world to meet and speak with each other.
Most importantly, the Summit established this one most imperative thing and that is the understanding that Sea Shepherd is an international movement. Sea Shepherd is no longer an organization; it is a collective of national Sea Shepherd entities under the umbrella of Sea Shepherd Global with Captain Alex Cornelissen as the Global Director.
Sea Shepherd Global, based in the Netherlands, will coordinate all communications between all Sea Shepherd national entities.
All the delegates at the Summit were in agreement that Sea Shepherd is a non-violent movement that stands fast and never backs down in defense of life and bio-diversity in the oceans.
The Summit was organized by Amber Chenoweth. Our extraordinary sea-cook Laura Dakin from Australia produced 100% vegan meals three times daily for all the participants, an epic task that deserves recognition. (Watch for the release of Laura's cookbook this year.) Thank you to Gardein and Guayaki Yerba Mate for their donations, which helped feed the attendees.
The big tent is now down, the small tents have been packed up. Thank-you to the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawks) of Kahnawake for blessing this event on their traditional lands. Thank you to Pritam Singh and Annie Johnston for hosting the Summit on their farm.
Thank you to my family who came. My daughter Lilliolani and my granddaughter Gemma. My sisters Sharyn and Rosemarie, my brother-in-law Peter Van Der Gulick, my sister-in-law Renee Watson, my nephews Alexis Lum and Shawn Watson. And to Emily Hunter, the daughter of my late good friend, Robert Hunter. Of my family who attended, Lilliolani, Shawn Watson, Alexis Lum and Emily Hunter have all served as crew.
Many past crewmembers attended that I can't list them all here. But I will mention Josephine Mussomeli, Peter Brown, Bob LeVangie, Rod Marining and Al Johnson who served in the 1980s and still remain loyal supporters.
Attending participants came from numerous nations including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Denmark, U.K., Scotland, Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Brazil, Belgium, Chile, South Africa, Hong Kong, Austria, and Spain. (My apologies if I forgot anyone.)
It was a landmark gathering of likeminded, passionate warriors for the sea. I was very pleased to see so many supporters, staff and crew gathered in one inspirational spot and hear about all the good work being done by Sea Shepherd entities around the world — from documenting dolphin slaughter in Japan to innovating ocean plastics cleanup to opposing shark finning in China to researching the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to working with the Senegalese government to stop fish poachers and the list goes on. It showed me that Sea Shepherd, the movement, is alive and well — and growing.