Sea Shepherd


A Safe Harbor for Sea Shepherd

The origins of Portofino are deeply intertwined with dolphins, earning its name from Pliny the Elder’s (AD 23 – AD 79) term “Portus Delphini” (Port of the Dolphins). He described it as a bay between Genoa and the Gulf of Tigullio, teeming with these aquatic beings. Dolphins, for us, are sources of joy and pride, free to roam in our bay. However, a wider, urgent call exists for the protection of dolphins and all sea life in the oceans.

Stepping up to this monumental challenge is Sea Shepherd Italy, an organization that tirelessly fights for marine conservation. Led by President Andrea Morello, Media Coordinator Eugenio Fogli, and Ligurian Head Marina Fenestrelli, the Sea Shepherd team is a daily fixture in Portofino.

From battling the horrifying Grindadrap (whale slaughter) in the Faroe Islands to challenging illegal Japanese whaling, the brave Sea Shepherd crew often risks their lives for marine life. In Syracuse, Italy, their volunteers sleep on the beach during summer to ensure the Caretta Caretta (Mediterranean turtles) safely reach the sea.

These dedicated defenders of the sea tirelessly work across the globe, extending their care to all ocean-dwelling creatures. Portofino is deeply indebted to their efforts. Without Sea Shepherd, we may have lost the dolphins that fill our hearts with joy, the majestic whales off San Fruttuoso, the fascinating Moon Fish around the lighthouse, and the precious sightings of the Caretta Caretta turtles in our waters. Their absence would be a profound loss.

Recognizing their crucial role, we have committed to supporting this extraordinary organization. The Sea Shepherd has earned a special place in the heart of Portofino, just like the dolphins in our bay. They deserve our unwavering support!

I Delfini di Portofino 🐬



Sea Shepherd’s Mission Statementportofino-sea-shepherd

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our 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.

Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.

In 1978, with financial support from Cleveland Amory of the Fund for Animals, the Society purchased its first ship (a British sea trawler Westella) and renamed it the Sea Shepherd. Its first mission was to sail to the ice floes of Eastern Canada to interfere with the annual killing of baby harp seals known as whitecoats. In the same year, the Sea Shepherd hunted down and rammed the notorious prolific pirate whaler the Sierra in a Portugal harbor ending its infamous career as the scourge of the seas.

Since those early days, Sea Shepherd has embarked on over 200 voyages covering many of the world’s oceans and defending and saving defenseless marine life all along the way.

Our Mission



Captain Paul Watson

Paul Watson was born in Toronto, Canada, on December 2, 1950. At six years old, he and his family moved to the lobster fishing town of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea in New Brunswick. The eldest of seven children, Watson lived there until January 1964 when his mother died and his father returned the family to Toronto. His father was Anthony Joseph Watson, a French-Canadian born in New Brunswick, Canada. His mother was Annamarie Larsen, the daughter of Danish artist Otto Larsen, and Canadian Doris Phoebe Clark.

I have been honored to serve the whales, dolphins, seals – and all the other creatures on this Earth. Their beauty, intelligence, strength, and spirit have inspired me. These beings have spoken to me and touched me, and I have been rewarded by friendship with many members of different species. If the whales survive and flourish, if the seals continue to live and give birth, and if I can contribute to ensuring their future prosperity, I will be forever happy.

more about Captain Watson



CEO Alex Cornelissen


(Alex Cornelissen, on the left) –“I was working for a publishing house in Amsterdam when I first heard about Sea Shepherd. A friend of mine joined the crew to make a documentary about their work. I was so impressed by the organization that a year later I quit my job, sold my apartment, and joined the crew for what was supposed to be a sabbatical. That was 2002 and I am still here”.

You are currently a Captain and CEO at Sea Shepherd. How did your career path evolve within the company?

I first joined the crew in the Galapagos and started as chief cook. In that position, I served on our first-ever campaign against Japanese whaling in the Antarctic. In 2003 I worked my way up to the bridge as the second mate and was promoted the first mate in 2004. After the second Antarctica campaign that ended in February 2006, Captain Watson gave me command of the Farley Mowat, our flagship at the time. Unfortunately, the vessel was held for four months in Capetown under politically motivated detention. My first act as captain was to sail out of the harbor without permission under cover of darkness. Since then I have commanded nearly all vessels in our fleet. At the end of 2007, I moved to the Galapagos Islands where I was in charge of our ongoing campaign for six years. At the end of 2013, I took the role of CEO. I still try to go on the campaign as captain but obviously, that is more difficult these days.

How does a day at work look like at Sea Shepherd?

When I am in Amsterdam, it is non-stop emailing, meetings, and calls. When Europe slows down, the US starts, and then Australia. Things never really come to a stop for Sea Shepherd Global. Furthermore, I need to make frequent trips all over the world. Having the office in Amsterdam is a lot of fun, we have a great team. Also having the Sea Shepherd Shop is a great way to reach new people that are interested in supporting us.

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