The Phantom Returns

The Phantom, Jean-Paul Fortom-Gouin, has emerged from the jungle.

As chronicled in The Last Whale, The Phantom took a leading role in the original Save the Whales campaign which eventually saw the end of ‘commercial’ whaling and the creation of the South Ocean Sanctuary.

The Phantom was spotted in Morocco in June 2010 where the International Whaling Commission was meeting. He told friends he was again taking an active role to stop whaling. He’d withdrawn from the world stage in the 1980s because he felt the whales were safe. This had dramatically changed with proposals which may allow commercial whaling again.

See the photograph taken by Australian Jonny Lewis. Jonny and Jean-Paul formed the Whale and Dolphin Coalition in 1977 to take action against Australia’s last whaling station in Albany, Western Australia.  They both piloted Zodiac inflatable boats to run interference against the three vessel Australian fleet.

It was Jonny Lewis who coined the nickname The Phantom after Jean-Paul’s ability to appear out of nowhere to fight evil.

Jonny Lewis and Jean-Paul Fortom-Gouin reunited in Morocco. The Phantom was particularly concered at Japan’s plans to take Cachalot (sperm whales) which have the largest and most complex brains on the planet. He regards these whales as his personal totem.

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7 Responses to “The Phantom Returns”

  1. Dennis White Says:


    Ghost who walks

    Strength of ten tigers

    Rough on roughnecks (old jungle saying)

    Also saves Whales

  2. Jenny Barnard Says:

    It’s very heartening to realise the whales have many friends willing to put their lives on the line
    to save these noble creatures from senseless slaughter. We have much to learn from them
    The Cachalot offer us further areas of study to learn.

    Thank you for the excellence of this article.

    Jenny Barnard

  3. Richard Jones Says:

    Jean-Paul is one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. It was a great privilege working with him in the seventies. Only a fraction of what he has contributed has been published. I just hope one day his whole story will be told so the world can learn just how much Jean-Paul has done for the whales, in particular his beloved cachalots. His biography should be a best-seller.

  4. Henk Manussen Says:

    Good to see you Jean-Paul the last 33 years have done you well..

    Do you think it would be in order if I harpooned Japanese tourists and took them home for scientific studies to find out whether they are humane or not ?
    Jap sushi parties spring to mind.. but take my word for it.. Cachalot meat is the fattiest and worst tasting flesh I have ever eaten..

    Boycot Jap goods now and for at least a thousand years let them eat crud..

  5. Debra Ratcliffe Says:

    Clearly petitions are not enough.

  6. sarah toa Says:

    And so he appears again … there is a narrative here and your title to this post is the first line. So lovely to see a contemporary photograph of this man. He reminds me of Rose – in that his idealism of the 70’s has remained concreted in place forty years later. Not many people can say that, about themselves.

  7. Margaret Sweetnam nee walsh Says:

    I was not at Albany but was certainly running the office at edgecliff Hello to my compatriots! Margret Sweetnam nee Walsh ,

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