(Fixes nationality of Watson in headline)
BERLIN May 21 Renowned marine conservationist
Paul Watson, who is fighting extradition from Germany to Costa
Rica over a 2002 campaign against shark finning, vowed on Monday
that his fleet would head to the Antarctic without him to fight
Watson, who was arrested eight days ago at Frankfurt
airport, was freed on bail in Germany of 250,000 euros
($319,200)but must not leave the country.
His arrest, on a warrant from Costa Rican authorities, took
his Sea Shepherd campaign group, famous for its disruption of
whaling, by surprise.
"This is not about me at all", Watson told Reuters
television on Monday.
"This is about the millions of sharks killed every year
illegally and I am here because we saved hundreds of them 10
The charges stem from a confrontation on the high seas in
2002 between Watson's ship and a ship involved in illegal shark
The practice involves catching sharks, slicing off their
fins and throwing them back into the sea, sometimes barely
alive, where they face almost certain death.
Watson dismissed the case as an "inconvenience" and said
his ships would soon "stop the illegal activities of
whale-hunting fleets once again".
Costa Rican authorities have three months to formalise their
extradition request to Germany. The final decision lies with the
German Ministry of Justice, as there is no extradition treaty
between Germany and Costa Rica.
A legal official said the German government might decide not
to extradite the marine conservationist for political reasons.
Costa Rican President Laura Chincilla is due to visit
Germany on Tuesday and hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
($1 = 0.7832 euros)
(Reporting By Elisa Oddone; Editing by Michael Roddy)