ISSUED FROM AUCKLAND, New Zealand and FRIDAY HARBOR, Washington State
Pete Bethune, founder of Earthrace Conservation, and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, have reached an agreement following arbitration in their long-running legal dispute. The agreement, which involved a financial settlement to Bethune, also provided that he will assist Sea Shepherd to help ensure Paul Watson is not extradited to Japan.
The dispute between Sea Shepherd and Bethune arose after the Ady Gil vessel was damaged in the 2010 Sea Shepherd campaign, while trying to stop Japanese whaling in Antarctica. The Ady Gil was deliberately rammed by the Shonan Maru #2, a Japanese security vessel, and after a period of towing, the Ady Gil was abandoned.
Under agreements signed between Bethune and Sea Shepherd in 2009, if the vessel was lost or destroyed, Sea Shepherd would be required to make certain payments to Bethune. The arbitration was regarding the payment and its amount.
Bethune said, “I am happy that the case has reached its conclusion and am pleased with the result. Fighting between individuals and organisations that are fundamentally working towards the same goals is a waste of time, money and effort that could be better spent protecting marine life and environments.
“This settlement means that I will be able to repay all those who have been so generous in helping me keep my head above water, as well as all those who have steadfastly supported me throughout this whole episode, especially all the Earthrace volunteers. Without that support, I would have been sunk, much like the Ady Gil.”
Bethune and Sea Shepherd are both now focused on working together for the good of the oceans and as part of that endeavour, Bethune has been helping Watson in his efforts to avoid extradition to Japan pursuant to an Interpol red notice that was issued against Watson at the request of Japan.
Sea Shepherd contends that the red notice is politically motivated and that its allegations are false. Bethune, who was convicted of five offenses by a court in Japan following Sea Shepherd’s 2010 campaign, says that Japan’s allegations against Watson are essentially false or misleading, and his goal is to see the red notice against Watson lifted.
“Sea Shepherd has honored the agreement we made with Pete Bethune,” said Susan Hartland, Sea Shepherd Administrative Director. “Now both of our organizations can close this chapter in our history and move forward to support marine wildlife worldwide,” she added.
Sea Shepherd will continue its various campaigns to protect endangered and threatened marine mammals and fish. The organization would like the red notice against Paul Watson lifted before the sixth season of Sea Shepherd’s hit docu-reality TV show, “Whale Wars,” airs later this year.
Bethune and Earthrace Conservation are about to deploy their tactical unit to Africa where they are filming a reality TV series documenting illegal fishing by foreign vessels. Two episodes of the show have already been filmed, and another six will be filmed from July to October this year.