Sea Shepherd Founder Arrested
Paul Watson faces charges in decade-old incident
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 14, 2012 5:58 AM CDT
Canadian animal rights and environmental activist Paul Watson.   (AP Photo/Patrick Gherdoussi)

(Newser) – A leading anti-whaling activist has been arrested in Germany. Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd, was busted on Saturday over a 2002 clash with a Costa Rican "illegal shark finning operation" off Guatemala, the group says in a statement. The group says the warrant is tied to an "alleged violation of ships traffic"; other reports say Watson is also wanted for attempted murder in the showdown, the BBC notes.

The group outlines the decade-old incident: It says that while working under Guatemalan authority, it ordered a Costa Rican vessel to return to port for prosecution after discovering that it was shark finning—catching sharks, removing their fins, and putting the creatures back in the water; the animals rarely survive. But while the activists were "escorting the Varadero back to port, the tables were turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd crew," the statement says. The Costa Rican crew "accused the Sea Shepherd of trying to kill them, while the video evidence proves this to be a fallacy," the statement continues. "To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat, Sea Shepherd then set sail for Costa Rica, where they uncovered even more illegal shark finning activities."