Watson doubles reward

Terry Roberts
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Describes claim seals eat cod bellies as 'more silliness from Newfoundland'

Paul Watson has doubled the amount of money he's willing to pay for video or film evidence showing seals indiscriminately eating the bellies out of codfish and discarding the carcass.

The man at the helm of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - an opponent of the annual seal hunt - acknowledges seals eat cod, but describes the cod-belly theory as nothing more than silliness.

Paul Watson

Paul Watson has doubled the amount of money he's willing to pay for video or film evidence showing seals indiscriminately eating the bellies out of codfish and discarding the carcass.

The man at the helm of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - an opponent of the annual seal hunt - acknowledges seals eat cod, but describes the cod-belly theory as nothing more than silliness.

"I will offer $50,000 for video evidence of seals in the wild eating only the bellies out of cod and discarding the bodies," Watson wrote on www.seashepherd.org.

The controversial debate about the dining habits of seals is an old one. Former fisheries minister John Efford suggested such a theory in the 1990s. Efford released a film showing hundreds of disemboweled cod at the bottom of a bay, and blamed harp seals for the carnage. He suggested a cull might be necessary to contain the population of seals and save the cod stocks, which have been in serious decline.

"I would like to see the six million seals, or whatever number is out there, killed and sold, or destroyed or burned. I do not care what happens to them. ... The more they kill, the better I will love it," Efford said in the House of Assembly on May 4, 1998.

Watson challenged the theory, and said he would pay $25,000 for video evidence.

No one has ever answered that challenge, at least not to Watson's satisfaction.

The debate made headlines again this month when a St. John's blogger and supporter of the seal hunt, Darren Fancey, called on Watson to pay the $25,000.

Fancey said a photo taken last spring by Don Noble of Lewisporte and published in The Telegram was proof enough. The photo shows a seal biting into what appears to be a disemboweled codfish. Noble stated at the time the seal had cleaned out the belly and then started nibbling away at the rest of the fish.

Fancey is the creator of seashepherd.blogspot.com, a pro-sealing website .

Watson dismissed Fancey, saying he wanted video or film evidence, and not just a photo.

"A photograph doesn't mean anything. I need video evidence of it," Watson told The Telegram.

Fancey claimed Watson was raising the burden of proof in order to avoid paying the money.

"To me, it's the proof he was asking for," Fancey said.

Watson posted the article on the society's website, along with some comments of his own. He described the article as "more silliness from Newfoundland."

"I never asked for a photograph of a seal eating a fish. I've got hundreds of such photographs myself. I demanded video evidence of harp seals eating the bellies out of seals and discarding the carcasses. Big difference," Watson wrote.

Watson believes no one has ever provided video evidence because it doesn't happen.

But Newfoundland's current fisheries minister, Clyde Jackman, said he's seen it with his own eyes. Jackman once worked on a fishing dragger for two summers.

"Because you see one or two you can't make a blanket statement, but they do," Jackman said.

Jackman said some of his close relatives who work in the fishery "often comment that it's, in fact, something that they've seen."

John Efford, reached this week in Florida, scoffed at the new challenge issued by his old nemesis. Efford said it's another ploy by Watson to create headlines and tug at the heartstrings of those ignorant of the true facts about the seal hunt.

"They have one thing in mind; it's a money-making affair," Efford said.

Efford is just as convinced as ever that seals indiscriminately rip the bellies out of large codfish, and said there's no video proof because it's difficult to capture.

"In 99 per cent of the cases, that's what the seals do," Efford said.

Efford said he may have the proof, and will check his video collection when he returns to Newfoundland in the coming days.

"I'll see what I got at home," he said.

But until the video proof surfaces, it appears the debate will go on, and Watson won't be making a cheque presentation anytime soon.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, The Telegram

Geographic location: Newfoundland, St. John's, Florida

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • H
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    When that man has to live off of the money generated from seal pelts, ONLY, rather than his millions he gets every year for being a world class a**, then he can preach to us. For some people, this is their only means of survival. He needs to get over himself and get a life. I'd like to see him going out in boat when it's snowing and below 0 degrees to earn his living....HA right!

  • Ed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    More Paul Wilson BS.
    What has this wanted video have to do with the seal hunt?
    Ignore the moron and increase the quota this year.
    I love flippers....

  • Edmund
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    A great way for Watson to find out if seals eat the guts first is to go to the seal hunt and jump in the water with a bunch of hungry seals. Only if he had the guts to do it. I think a lot of people would pay enough money to see that and when Watson ends up gutless, as he continues to be, the money can be sent to the sealers who earn every cent they make. How is that for a challenge Watson?

  • chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    What difference does it make if the seal eats the belly or the whole friggin cod, the point is that seals eat cod and when you have 6 million seals out there doing this multiple times t/o the day then this adds up to the lost of alot of cod out of the system and cod that could have been.
    One time didn't they say that seals didn't eat cod and now they are admitting they do, so like I said what difference does it make whether it is a part or the whole cod they are still killing millions of cod every day.

    Hopefully we won't need to cull the seals that mother nature will do it for us with poor ice flows this year.

  • Barney
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    What about the caribou? You have got to be kidding me. Millions of seals and GP go mental - an endangered heard is hunted and not a word. Tell me - what is GP really all about? People who donate their hard earned money to them are being sucked in - full stop. You deserve to lose your money. GP is a farce!!!

  • Manny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck, it is most likely a duck. Watson is a idiot!

  • Get
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I love Paul Watson's photos, he looks like such a simpleton. Maybe that explains those who believe what he says.

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Paul Watson is saying he would pay $ 25,000 for a video on seeing seals ripping the bellies out of codfish and leaving the carcass for our seagulls and crows to munch on.

    Mr. Watson would do better by making a new video of baby seals massaging the stomach of a little tommy cod that wants to be an adult someday to feed billions globally. I hear there might be a commercial done sometime soon of Paul Watson ordering two seal burgers. He does dine and wine on the best meat and fish platters one could serve in Canada and globally.He just thinks, that people are not aware of his presence when he dines out and what he eats and drinks.Maybe, there should be an award of some sort to catch Paul Watson in his misleading acts of falsehood of being a protector of the seals of the Atlantic coast, when he is only doing it for his own well being and that of his scammers.

    Well a bluff is a bluff, and Paul Watson is certainly one of the biggest globally. He has to come up with some defence to show he is not just living personally on the monies he and his group are scamming from those who really don't understand what this silliness is all about.

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    My friend own's a Salmon Farm in Scotland and he said that if seals get through the nets they will just take bites out of a Salmon. Seals never eat a whole Salmon and can wipe out his whole farm very quickly.

  • Lena
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Why oh why do we keep giving media coverage to this horse's backside?

  • hmmmm
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    By the looks of Mr. Paul he's eatin he's fair share of the poor cows and chickens. Sin for for them poor cows and chickens.
    If only the moose were cute they'd be all over something else. Why is it that these bluff's only like the cute animals???

  • Die Paul Watson
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    He claims to be a vegetarian, funny, I don't think he put on all that lard by eating carrots and lettuce! LOL

  • mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    What is it with guys named Paul making uninformed statments about NL and its fishing and sealing industry.

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Looks like old Paul is starting to fatten up! Can you imagine the laugh he has when he sits down in the finest restaurants and stuffs his fat jowls full on meals that most of us can only dream of? Bought and paid for by the generosity of the gullable. Why don't the ace reporters at the Telegram do some digging into the Sea Shepherd Society and their finances rather than advertising this idiot in the paper so he can muster up more donations?

  • Oh Slow
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Seems pretty funny that someone can make a better living standing up for the rights of animals then killing them. Might be a new industry to take over when the seal industry fails.

    Bunch of jealous fishermen that can not make a living find pleasure in attacking someone that can. Nothing new here folks.

  • Seumas
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Why do we keep giving this guy press? He'll never pay but he just got his name on the front page again!

  • BredRightHere
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Mr. Watson's time could be better spent in Labrador protecting the endangered caribou from being slaughtered by the Quebec Innu.

  • Marie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    When I see Paul Watson's face I think of the big bull moose on the highway in Newfoundland. If I had screamed Paul Watson the bugger would've flipped my car all the way into the dense forest.

    The day is coming when Paul Watson and his scammers will be feeding milk to the baby moose because their mama died of starvation. The same thing is happening to the seals. I remember walking along the beaches in Cape Freels , Newfoundland and Labrador, seeing dead seals on the beach. They were as skinny as a rake!Prognosis: They all starved to death, no cod to feed them.

    IN COD WE TRUST

  • darls
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    hey Mr. IDIOT....why don't you come here with your pricey cameras and instead of using your BIG MOUTH..try using the camera to get that video....i'm sure you wouldn't have much of a problem since everyone here knows exactly what seals do to cod....oh yes what was i thinking if you got that video all your bleeding heart supporters would leave you .....one day they will wake up ...by the way supporters when are you jumping on the save the chickens or save the cows campain...just as soon as you wake up and realize just how many seals are out there..

  • Sounding
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    The return of the coward. When he demands to see ...discarding the bodies you know he's getting all murky here. No payout here folks move on to the next joke.

  • Woodsman
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    'If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?' - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tree_falls_in_a_forest

    I'd bet Paul Watson would say, 'No, it does not make a sound. I'll give $50,000 to anyone who can prove to me with video evidence, that a tree makes a sound when it falls in the forest.'

    An almost impossible task.

    I have an easier task for anyone out there. If anyone can show video evidence that Paul Watson is not a scam artist, I'll congratulate you.

  • cookie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    paul watson is like most people ....he do anything for attetion and money ....he looking for attention and we giving it to him ............if we ignore him maybe he just grow up or move on

  • Akbar
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Mark from NF, that only makes sense. Predators will take the best choices if given the chance. Even seals probably don't like to have bones stuck in their mouths and throats, just like us humans. Lions only eat the soft internals and easy meat of their prey and the scavengers take the rest. It happens all the time in the world of predators. I guess Paul What?son knows very little about wildlife. But he sure knows how to milk the unknowing big city public who are so far removed from the food chain they have no idea where it comes from.

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Oh Slow Down Skippy from St. Johns, Newfoundland Paul Watson does NOT stand up for the rights of animals then kill them. Why would he stand up for their rights then kill them afterwards ?

    But, no doubt, Paul Watson IS an idiot.

  • H
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    When that man has to live off of the money generated from seal pelts, ONLY, rather than his millions he gets every year for being a world class a**, then he can preach to us. For some people, this is their only means of survival. He needs to get over himself and get a life. I'd like to see him going out in boat when it's snowing and below 0 degrees to earn his living....HA right!

  • Ed
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    More Paul Wilson BS.
    What has this wanted video have to do with the seal hunt?
    Ignore the moron and increase the quota this year.
    I love flippers....

  • Edmund
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    A great way for Watson to find out if seals eat the guts first is to go to the seal hunt and jump in the water with a bunch of hungry seals. Only if he had the guts to do it. I think a lot of people would pay enough money to see that and when Watson ends up gutless, as he continues to be, the money can be sent to the sealers who earn every cent they make. How is that for a challenge Watson?

  • chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    What difference does it make if the seal eats the belly or the whole friggin cod, the point is that seals eat cod and when you have 6 million seals out there doing this multiple times t/o the day then this adds up to the lost of alot of cod out of the system and cod that could have been.
    One time didn't they say that seals didn't eat cod and now they are admitting they do, so like I said what difference does it make whether it is a part or the whole cod they are still killing millions of cod every day.

    Hopefully we won't need to cull the seals that mother nature will do it for us with poor ice flows this year.

  • Barney
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    What about the caribou? You have got to be kidding me. Millions of seals and GP go mental - an endangered heard is hunted and not a word. Tell me - what is GP really all about? People who donate their hard earned money to them are being sucked in - full stop. You deserve to lose your money. GP is a farce!!!

  • Manny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck, it is most likely a duck. Watson is a idiot!

  • Get
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I love Paul Watson's photos, he looks like such a simpleton. Maybe that explains those who believe what he says.

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Paul Watson is saying he would pay $ 25,000 for a video on seeing seals ripping the bellies out of codfish and leaving the carcass for our seagulls and crows to munch on.

    Mr. Watson would do better by making a new video of baby seals massaging the stomach of a little tommy cod that wants to be an adult someday to feed billions globally. I hear there might be a commercial done sometime soon of Paul Watson ordering two seal burgers. He does dine and wine on the best meat and fish platters one could serve in Canada and globally.He just thinks, that people are not aware of his presence when he dines out and what he eats and drinks.Maybe, there should be an award of some sort to catch Paul Watson in his misleading acts of falsehood of being a protector of the seals of the Atlantic coast, when he is only doing it for his own well being and that of his scammers.

    Well a bluff is a bluff, and Paul Watson is certainly one of the biggest globally. He has to come up with some defence to show he is not just living personally on the monies he and his group are scamming from those who really don't understand what this silliness is all about.

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    My friend own's a Salmon Farm in Scotland and he said that if seals get through the nets they will just take bites out of a Salmon. Seals never eat a whole Salmon and can wipe out his whole farm very quickly.

  • Lena
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Why oh why do we keep giving media coverage to this horse's backside?

  • hmmmm
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    By the looks of Mr. Paul he's eatin he's fair share of the poor cows and chickens. Sin for for them poor cows and chickens.
    If only the moose were cute they'd be all over something else. Why is it that these bluff's only like the cute animals???

  • Die Paul Watson
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    He claims to be a vegetarian, funny, I don't think he put on all that lard by eating carrots and lettuce! LOL

  • mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    What is it with guys named Paul making uninformed statments about NL and its fishing and sealing industry.

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Looks like old Paul is starting to fatten up! Can you imagine the laugh he has when he sits down in the finest restaurants and stuffs his fat jowls full on meals that most of us can only dream of? Bought and paid for by the generosity of the gullable. Why don't the ace reporters at the Telegram do some digging into the Sea Shepherd Society and their finances rather than advertising this idiot in the paper so he can muster up more donations?

  • Oh Slow
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Seems pretty funny that someone can make a better living standing up for the rights of animals then killing them. Might be a new industry to take over when the seal industry fails.

    Bunch of jealous fishermen that can not make a living find pleasure in attacking someone that can. Nothing new here folks.

  • Seumas
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Why do we keep giving this guy press? He'll never pay but he just got his name on the front page again!

  • BredRightHere
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Mr. Watson's time could be better spent in Labrador protecting the endangered caribou from being slaughtered by the Quebec Innu.

  • Marie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    When I see Paul Watson's face I think of the big bull moose on the highway in Newfoundland. If I had screamed Paul Watson the bugger would've flipped my car all the way into the dense forest.

    The day is coming when Paul Watson and his scammers will be feeding milk to the baby moose because their mama died of starvation. The same thing is happening to the seals. I remember walking along the beaches in Cape Freels , Newfoundland and Labrador, seeing dead seals on the beach. They were as skinny as a rake!Prognosis: They all starved to death, no cod to feed them.

    IN COD WE TRUST

  • darls
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    hey Mr. IDIOT....why don't you come here with your pricey cameras and instead of using your BIG MOUTH..try using the camera to get that video....i'm sure you wouldn't have much of a problem since everyone here knows exactly what seals do to cod....oh yes what was i thinking if you got that video all your bleeding heart supporters would leave you .....one day they will wake up ...by the way supporters when are you jumping on the save the chickens or save the cows campain...just as soon as you wake up and realize just how many seals are out there..

  • Sounding
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    The return of the coward. When he demands to see ...discarding the bodies you know he's getting all murky here. No payout here folks move on to the next joke.

  • Woodsman
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    'If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?' - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tree_falls_in_a_forest

    I'd bet Paul Watson would say, 'No, it does not make a sound. I'll give $50,000 to anyone who can prove to me with video evidence, that a tree makes a sound when it falls in the forest.'

    An almost impossible task.

    I have an easier task for anyone out there. If anyone can show video evidence that Paul Watson is not a scam artist, I'll congratulate you.

  • cookie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    paul watson is like most people ....he do anything for attetion and money ....he looking for attention and we giving it to him ............if we ignore him maybe he just grow up or move on

  • Akbar
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Mark from NF, that only makes sense. Predators will take the best choices if given the chance. Even seals probably don't like to have bones stuck in their mouths and throats, just like us humans. Lions only eat the soft internals and easy meat of their prey and the scavengers take the rest. It happens all the time in the world of predators. I guess Paul What?son knows very little about wildlife. But he sure knows how to milk the unknowing big city public who are so far removed from the food chain they have no idea where it comes from.

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Oh Slow Down Skippy from St. Johns, Newfoundland Paul Watson does NOT stand up for the rights of animals then kill them. Why would he stand up for their rights then kill them afterwards ?

    But, no doubt, Paul Watson IS an idiot.