Generally, when most people think of organized crime, they immediate associate the term with narcotics, human trafficking, illegal arms sales and the like. A key part of this portfolio, it turns out, is illegal fishing. Using the most environmentally damaging gear and employing unsustainable fishing practices, these poachers rake in huge profits while causing incredible damage to some of the world’s most important and fragile fishing grounds. Into this lawless milieu has stepped Sea Shepherd, a salty group of conservationists who, aboard a small flotilla of ships, have made it their mission to stop these criminal fishing operations down by any means necessary. In the documentary Ocean Warriors: Chasing Thunder the filmmakers take us on thrilling high seas adventure as the crew of two Sea Shepherd ships sail across three oceans and travel over 10,000 miles in a mammoth effort to shut down one of the most notorious of these illegal poaching vessels, the Thunder.
“…depicts all high stakes action and confrontation one might expect from such a documentary as well as surprising moments of humor.”
Sea Shepherd has a famous, some would say infamous, reputation. Created more than forty years ago by American conservationist Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd has its origins in Greenpeace from which Watson acrimonious split as he felt they were too docile in their tactics (which is saying something). Whereas some environmental groups use the rule of law or legislative maneuvers to effect change, the all volunteer crew of Sea Shepherd’s small navy favors direct action. They regularly place their bodies and ships between illegal whalers, harp seal hunters, and poachers of all stripes. And, like modern day eco-pirates, Sea Shepherd has rammed a number of illegal fishing and whaling vessels, sending several to the bottom of the sea. Their exploits, tailor made for television, have not gone unnoticed by the media as Animal Planet created the show Whale Wars to showcase their exploits. Never before, however, had a full fledged movie been made about the group.