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'Whale Wars' TV star-activist resigns after court injunction

By Michael Martinez, CNN
January 9, 2013 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Activists hang a placard picturing conservationist Paul Watson in front of Germany's Justice Ministry in 2012.
Activists hang a placard picturing conservationist Paul Watson in front of Germany's Justice Ministry in 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 'Whale Wars' TV captain Paul Watson resigns from anti-whaling activities
  • A federal injunction forbids him and his group from approaching Japanese plaintiffs
  • Watson gained fame by disrupting Japanese whalers on the open sea

(CNN) -- "Whale Wars" TV conservationist Paul Watson quit his conservation society Tuesday because of a recent federal court injunction against him and his group's anti-whaling activities.

Last month, the Japanese research foundation Institute of Cetacean Research and the Japanese firm Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd. secured a U.S. District Court injunction against Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, according to the institute's website.

The injunction prohibits Watson and his group from coming within 500 yards of the plaintiffs on the open sea, according to a copy of the court document on the institute's website.

Watson has become renowned for his attempts to disrupt Japanese whalers on the open water through Animal Planet's "Whale Wars" TV show.

Interpol issues wanted notice for Watson

"As a United States citizen, I will respect and comply with the ruling of the United States 9th District Court and will not violate the temporary injunction granted to the Institute for Cetacean Research," Watson said in a statement Tuesday. "I will participate as an observer within the boundaries established by the 9th Circuit Court of the United States."

Watson resigned as president and executive director of the conservation society in the United States and as president of the society in Australia.

"For the 35 years since I founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, I have strived to act non-violently and within the boundaries of the law," Watson said.

"During Sea Shepherd's long history, we have never caused a single injury to any person," he said. "Although we have broken some bureaucratic regulations like Canada's so-called Seal Protection Act, we did so to challenge the validity of these regulations, which were in contradiction to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"In all other respects, we have always operated within the boundaries of the law, both international and national," he said in a statement. "I myself have never been convicted of a felony crime."

Watson skips bail, court seeks his extradition

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