The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is a non-profit, marine conservation organization based in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington in the United States.
Sea Shepherd uses direct action tactics to protect marine life. The organization was founded in 1977 under the name Earth Force Society by Paul Watson, a former member of Greenpeace, after a dispute with that organization over what Watson saw as its lack of more aggressive intervention. The group has a strong focus on public relations to spread its message via the media. In 2008, Animal Planet began filming the weekly series Whale Wars based on the group's encounters with the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean, a development which brought the group much publicity.
Sea Shepherd currently operates the vessels MY Steve Irwin, the MY Bob Barker, the MY Sam Simon (donated by the founder of The Simpsons for the 2012 campaign) and the MV Brigitte Bardot. Operations have included scuttling and disabling whaling vessels at harbor, intervening in Canadian and Namibian seal hunts, shining laser light into the eyes of whalers, throwing bottles of foul-smelling butyric acid onto vessels at sea, boarding of whaling vessels while at sea, and seizure and destruction of drift nets at sea. Sea Shepherd claims that their aggressive actions are necessary as the international community has shown itself unwilling or unable to stop species-endangering whaling and fishing practices.