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  • Writer's pictureAdam La Rosa


Updated: Jun 7, 2020

I’ll admit, I know very little about the Sea Shepherd. I know various pieces of information such as the Steve Irwin (a boat named after the famed Australian conservationist) and I know that Japanese ships are in Antarctic waters every year illegally and unethically slaughtering thousands of whales. That’s pretty much where my knowledge runs dry on the subject.

I’d dare say that it would be the same or similar for many other people as well, possibly even less if they didn’t know who Steve Irwin was to begin with.

Last week I caught up with Stephen Amis, a very talented director (known for The BBQ, The 25th Reich) behind a new film which aims to document activity and educate people about Sea Shepard, who they are and what they do. 

Sea Shepherd has grown so much to the point that it is now a worldwide movement and not-for-profit organization. Established in 1977, their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. They use innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.

This is where DEFEND, CONSERVE, PROTECT comes in. Winner of the Best International Feature at the American Documentary Film Festival, it’s a feature-lengthed documentary, filmed almost entirely and exclusively at sea over a 4 month period and narrated by the great Dan Aykroyd (The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters) from the point of view of the whales. It is an enlightening, tense and gripping look behind the scenes far from leering eyes on the waters of the Antarctic.

Every year the Japanese send down “research” vessels which are nothing more than floating abattoirs, responsible for the dangerous and illegal slaughter of thousands of whales.

Although Sea Shepherd focus on many different marine causes, DEFEND, CONSERVE, PROTECT focuses solely on capturing the illegal, unethical and downright dangerous activities and tactics taken by the brazen Japanese crew and vessels in order to continue their operations.

The visuals are awe-inspiring and at times, very tense and difficult to watch. Lives are put in danger, both of whales and the brave souls who board the Sea Shepherd vessels.

As it turns out, I have a lovely connection to this film. The score was composed by Ronnie Minder, who also composed the score for The Legend of Ben Hall, a film I was Executive Producer of and had a small acting role in a couple of years back.

DEFEND, CONSERVE, PROTECT is a very important film. One that I am thankful to have seen. It’s expanded my knowledge on a subject and movement I admittedly knew very little about and managed to do so in a beautifully cinematic and impactful way. It’s a film that I feel everyone should see, as they say once you’ve seen you aren’t ever able to unsee. 

With not being able to unsee, comes a level of awareness that never existed before. Whilst this may or may not lead to your direct assistance or action with Sea Shepherd, it will undoubtedly fill you with a newly found level of respect for the brave men and women who leave their families and friends behind each year for months on end in order to stand up and make a real difference to this world.





Sea Shepherd website

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