Costa Rica seeking extradition of oceans advocate
San José, Costa Rica
A decade-old incident at sea has controversial marine conservationist and star of Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” Paul Watson entangled in a legal mess in Costa Rica, where authorities hope to try him for attempted shipwrecking of a Costa Rican fishing vessel in 2002.
On May 13, German police arrested Watson, the 61-year-old, bushy-haired founder and president of the environmental group Sea Shepherd, in Frankfurt on an outstanding 2006 warrant stemming from a confrontation with the Costa Rican fishing boat Varadero I. Sea Shepherd contends the vessel was in Guatemalan waters, and that its crew was illegally shark finning, a practice that involves catching sharks, removing their valuable fins and dumping the carcasses back in the water. Watson faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
After spending eight days in a German jail, Watson is free on bond, but cannot leave Germany until authorities rule on a Costa Rican extradition request. He is required to check in with authorities every day.