THE HISTORY OF SEA SHEPHERD
On the front lines of direct action marine conservation
A Brief Overview
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was formally incorporated in the United States in 1981 in the state of Oregon. Previous to this, the idea of Sea Shepherd was formed when Captain Paul Watson founded the Earth Force Society in 1977 in Vancouver BC, Canada. The original mandate of both organizations was marine mammal protection and conservation with an immediate goal of shutting down illegal whaling and sealing operations, but Sea Shepherd later expanded its mission to include all marine wildlife.
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.
April: Paul Watson and Greenpeace part ways.
June: Watson establishes the Earthforce Environmental Society in Vancouver, Canada. The co-founders of Earthforce are Starlet Lum, Ron Precious, and Captain Al "Jet" Johnson (co-founder of Greenpeace). The Earthforce Environmental Society is the precursor to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
February: Paul Watson leads the first Earthforce Campaign to Protect Elephants from Poachers in East Africa to investigate the ivory trade and elephant poaching. This campaign covers Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Uganda, and the Sudan. The crew of six including Jet Johnson, Dr. Bruce Bunting, and Cliff Ward participate in anti-poaching patrols and interview wardens and rangers. Earthforce prepares and presents a report on the investigation to the United States Congress to back legislation to ban elephant poaching.
September: Watson meets with Cleveland Amory of the Fund for Animals. Cleveland agrees to sponsor the purchase of a ship for a campaign to oppose the Canadian Seal Hunt.
November - December 1978: With financial support from the Fund for Animals and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Watson takes possession of the British trawler Westella,and renames the vessel the Sea Shepherd. Paul and a small group of volunteers spend two months repairing, outfitting, and painting the ship in preparation for a delivery voyage to the United States.
January: The maiden voyage of the Sea Shepherd under the command of Watson is a journey across the Atlantic accomplished in two weeks and the ship arrives at the Port of Boston in mid-January. Two fishermen who had been hired to help deliver the ship attempt to sabotage the vessel. Both men are arrested and escorted from the ship. The crew then begins the task of preparing the ship for the first Sea Shepherd campaign.
March: The Sea Shepherd is the first ship to go to the ice for the purpose of protecting seals. Sea Shepherd crewmembers save over a thousand baby seals on the Eastern Coast of Canada by spraying their white pelts with an indelible organic dye to render them commercially worthless. Watson and his crew spray red dye on over a thousand seals before being arrested.
For more pictures from this campaign go to the Sea Shepherd Seal Campaign History page.
April: The Sea Shepherd departs from Boston to Bermuda to prepare for a campaign to hunt down the pirate whaler Sierra. In the early 1970's, this killing ship was credited with nearly destroying the humpback population in the Caribbean (despite an international ban on commercial whaling).
June: The Sea Shepherd returns to Boston from Bermuda to recruit crew for the campaign to hunt down the Sierra.
July: After infiltrating the international criminal operation bankrolling the activities of the pirate whaler Sierra, Captain Paul Watson takes the Sea Shepherd to sea to hunt down the pirate whaler Sierra. He finds the notorious whaling ship in Portuguese waters. On July 16, he rams the pirate twice and disables it. The Sierra limps into dock at Leixoes, Portugal, and the Sea Shepherd surrenders to the Portuguese Navy. The story makes headlines worldwide and exposes the operations of the world's pirate whalers and the Japanese and Norwegian connections to these illegal activities. The Port Captain rules that there will be no charges against Captain Watson and his crew for the attack on the pirate whaler.
November: Captain Watson travels to Lisbon to discover the Sierra being repaired at dockside. He also discovers that the Sea Shepherd has been ordered confiscated without charges, a court hearing, or a defense allowed. This was a decision by a Portuguese judge who had been bribed by the Sierra Trading Company. Attempts to appeal are denied.
For more pictures from this campaign go to the Sea Shepherd Whale Campaign History page.
December: Captain Watson and his crew board the Sea Shepherd on Christmas day and discover that Portuguese authorities had looted the ship. To prevent the ship from being handed over to the Sierra Trading Company, Captain Watson and Chief Engineer Peter Woof scuttle the Sea Shepherd on New Year's Eve in Leixoes harbor.
February: The Sierra Trading Company spends over one million dollars to repair the Sierra. Owner Andrew Behr makes plans to resume whaling in mid-February. His plans are thwarted when two men and a woman enter the black waters of Lisbon Harbor during the dead of night of February 6. The Sierra is scuttled without injuries to her crew and the career of the world's most ruthless illegal whaling ship is permanently brought to an end.
March: To prevent the Sea Shepherd crew from returning to the seal hunt in 1980, Captain Watson is ordered into prison on the first day of the seal hunt for a sentence of 10 days for violating the Canadian Seal Hunt in 1979 by approaching a seal hunt without permission of the government. Captain Watson is also banned from the ice fields and the sealing areas for three years.
April: On April 28th, the pirate whalers Ibsa I and Ibsa II are sunk in Vigo, Spain. The sinkings enforce the quota violations that the Spanish whaling fleet had committed. The same month, Sea Shepherd agent Jet Johnson posts reward posters all over the waterfront of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Sea Shepherd offers a $25,000 bounty on the outlaw whaler Astrid. The Astrid's owners are unable to trust their own crew and retire the vessel.
September: In response to the worldwide publicity of the sinkings of the pirate whalers in Spain and Portugal, the South African Navy sink the Susan and the Theresa after seizing them from the owners of the Sierra. All illegal whaling operations in the Atlantic cease.
October: Captain Watson optioned the movie rights to the Sea Shepherd and Sierra story to Warner Brothers and raised enough money to purchase another Yorkshire trawler in Britain. The fishing trawler St. Giles is renamed Sea Shepherd II. The vessel is moved from Hull to Greenock, Scotland for repairs and refit.
March: Captain Watson leads a crew with three ocean kayaks to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in violation of his parole order. Hundreds of seals are sprayed with harmless blue dye. Watson defies Canada to arrest him. His conviction of 1980 is later overturned on appeal.
April 6, 1981: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is registered as a charitable organization in the State of Oregon.
May: The Sea Shepherd II departs on her first voyage - a trans-Atlantic delivery to Alexandria, Virginia, to prepare for a campaign to Soviet Siberia to protect Gray whales.
June: The Sea Shepherd II transits the Panama Canal for the first time en route to Los Angeles and Vancouver to publicize the illegal hunting of gray whales.
July - August: The Sea Shepherd II documents illegal Soviet whaling activities off the coast of Siberia and is pursued by the Soviet Navy. Captain Watson returns to the U.S. with the evidence of Soviet violations, which is turned over to Congress.
September - December: The Sea Shepherd II is berthed at Pier 70 in Seattle for promotion and fundraising activities. In December, the ship moves to Los Angeles.
January: The Sea Shepherd departs Los Angeles for Honolulu, Hawaii, to prepare for a campaign to stop the slaughter of dolphins at Iki Island, Japan.
March: To avoid a confrontation with the Sea Shepherd II crew, the Japanese government invites Captain Watson to Iki Island to negotiate with the fishermen. Captain Watson is joined by American Airlines Captain Jet Johnson, Air France flight attendant Mina Fukuda as interpreter, and filmmaker Peter Brown. After three days of negotiations, the Iki Island fishermen agreed to end the slaughter of dolphins at Iki Island.
May: Captain Watson's book Sea Shepherd, My Fight for Whales and Seals is published by W.W. Norton. It was written with famed journalist Warren Rogers with an introduction by Cleveland Amory.
May: Sea Shepherd crewmembers from Ireland camp on Iniskea Island in the Irish Sea to interfere with the killing of grey seals by Irish fishermen. The crew sleeps amongst the seals and successfully disrupts all attempts to kill the seals.
June: The Sea Shepherd II returns to Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, Canada to prepare for a campaign to protect seals on the East Coast of Canada.
September: Captain Watson and crewmember Tate Landis successfully swim the Georgia Straight from Naniamo on Vancouver Island to Jericho Beach in Vancouver. The 56 kilometer swim had never been completed before. The swim was organized to focus attention on the Canadian seal hunt.
September: Captain Jet Johnson (a former Canadian Air Force fighter pilot) pilots the plane for Paul Watson and Carroll Vogel to drop sixteen large light bulbs full of red paint onto the deck of a Soviet spy ship off the coast of Washington State. Each light bulb is attached to a message in the Russian language protesting the illegal kill of whales by the Soviets. A U.S. fighter plane pursues the Sea Shepherd plane but Captain Johnson eludes pursuit flying over the wave-tops back into Canadian airspace. Paul Watson was the only one of the three arrested. He is charged with the dangerous operation of an aircraft despite not being the pilot. The charges are dismissed when the Russians failed to appear as witnesses.
October: The Irish seal hunt is ended. The government of Ireland rules to shut down the grey seal hunt in the Irish Sea. It is a clear victory for Sea Shepherd campaigners.
November: Sea Shepherd crew in Scotland completely disrupts the killing of grey seals in the Scottish Orkney Islands. Sea Shepherd crew snatch rifles from the hands of the hunters and physically prevent the landing of boats on the seal rookeries. The Sea Shepherd Islands Trust is set up to purchase the Orkney Island of Little Green Holm. Once purchased the island is made into a permanent sanctuary for the grey seals.
December: The Sea Shepherd departs from Vancouver for a voyage to Grenada to deliver library, agricultural, and medical supplies to Grenada. The ship stops en route at Coos Bay, Oregon, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Laguna Beach.
January: The Sea Shepherd II transits the Panama Canal for the second time, now en route to Grenada. The ship delivers a cargo of relief supplies to St. George's Grenada before the ship departs for Portland, Maine.
January: The crew of the Sea Shepherd II, having witnessed the deplorable conditions in the St. George's zoo, raids the zoo at night and released all the primates. Each monkey is sedated and released in the jungle on the island. Captain Watson responds to criticism of the release by saying Sea Shepherd did not bring the monkeys to Grenada and his crew would not sit by and watch the animals abused without doing what was needed to alleviate their suffering. "Besides," he said, "these primates cannot possibly do more damage than the primate Homo sapiens already has to this island."
February: The Sea Shepherd II undergoes final preparations for a seal campaign in Portland, Maine. Captain Watson appears on the Today Show and debates Jim Winters of the Canadian government.
March: The Sea Shepherd II blockades the harbor at St. John's, Newfoundland, and prevents the Canadian sealing fleet from leaving for two weeks. The Sea Shepherd II then moves to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and escorts four sealing ships away from the harp seal nursery.
April: The Sea Shepherd II moves into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and escorts three sealing ships out of the harp seal nursery. RCMP and Canadian Coast Guard units ram and board the Sea Shepherd II in a tear-gas assault on the ice north of Nova Scotia.
Captain Watson and nineteen crewmembers are arrested on the Sea Shepherd II and are charged with conspiracy to violate the Seal Protection Act - i.e., approaching within a half a mile of a seal hunt and interfering with seal-killing.
June: The Sea Shepherd crew are tried in Perce, Quebec, and convicted of violating the Seal Protection Act. The political agenda protecting the seal hunt is reflected in severity of the sentences imposed. Captain Watson is sentenced to 15 months in prison for conspiracy to violate the Seal Protection Act and another 6 months for violating the Seal Protection Act by approaching within a half a nautical mile of a seal hunt. In addition to a 21-month prison term, Captain Watson is fined $75,000 and the Sea Shepherd II is ordered confiscated. Captain Watson is also ordered to not communicate in any manner, with any journalist, anywhere in the world, on any subject for a period of three years. Captain Watson is also ordered banned from the five Eastern Canadian provinces for three years. Engineer Paul Pezwick is given a 7-month prison term and fined $7,000. All other crewmembers are fined $3,000 each.
December: Captain Watson and Engineer Paul Pezwick are ordered into prison on December 20 in Quebec to begin their sentences. The Quebec Court of Appeal releases both men nine days later pending appeal of the sentences.
January: In 1984, the Quebec Court of Appeals rules in favor of Captain Watson and the crew of the Sea Shepherd II. The convictions of the lower court are reversed and the charges quashed. The Canadian government appeals the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada. This results in the continued seizure of the Sea Shepherd II. The vessel is moved from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and placed under guard at the Canadian Naval base.
February: Without a ship, Captain Watson and his crew are confined to the beach. Undeterred Captain Watson launches a land-based campaign on behalf of wolves. He founds the group Friends of the Wolf and organizes a high profile intervention against the aerial shooting of wolves in Northern British Columbia. In the hostile town of Fort Nelson, Captain Watson holds a press conference and debates four hundred hunters and trappers in heated arguments that make the National News.
A trapper came into the press conference room and
threw two dead wolves onto the floor. He said to Watson,
"What ya think of this a**hole"? Watson answered,
“I think you just lost the war, you idiot.”
When Watson landed in Fort Nelson, the media
(Moira Farrow of the Vancouver Sun) was
there to greet him.
Captain Watson and Robert Hunter publish Cry Wolf!. The book about the anti-wolf hunting campaigns exposes the corruption behind the B.C. Government's wolf eradication programs. The former British Columbian Minister of the Environment Rafe Mair writes the forward for the book.
The publicity generated by the wolf campaign forces the resignation of the British Columbian Minister of the Environment Anthony Brummett after Captain Watson publicly denounces the Minister for corruption.
April: The Canadian Supreme Court upholds the ruling of the Quebec Court of Appeal. The Court orders the return of the Sea Shepherd II to Sea Shepherd. Captain Watson recruits a crew of volunteers to repair the ship and prepare her for a trans-Atlantic voyage to Europe.
May: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society files a damage suit against the Canadian government for damage caused to the Sea Shepherd II while held in "protective" custody for twenty-two months.
July: The Sea Shepherd II departs Halifax and stops in St. Pierre and Miquelon for additional repairs before departing for Iceland. In Iceland, the Sea Shepherd II delivers a warning to the Icelandic government to stop illegal whaling activities and to abide by International Whaling Commission regulations. When asked by an Icelandic newspaper what Sea Shepherd would do if Iceland did not comply, Captain Watson says that Sea Shepherd would "sink the Icelandic fleet." The Sea Shepherd II is placed under police guard. The visit to Reykjavik is, however, a diversion, and the Sea Shepherd II crew is engaged in mapping out the harbor and locating the whale-processing factory at Hvalfjordur.
August: The Sea Shepherd II departs Iceland for the Danish protectorate of the Faeroe Islands to intervene against the slaughter of pilot whales. Captain Watson and his crew meet with the Prime Minister of the Faeroes and warn them that Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be launching a campaign to oppose the illegal slaughter of pilot whales by the Faeroese.
September thru December: The Sea Shepherd II departs the Faeroe Islands for London, England. The ship is prepared for a relief voyage to Ethiopia in association with Band Aid. Captain Watson and Bob Geldof had worked together years before for the same alternative newspaper the Georgia Straight. With permission from the Board of Trade, the Sea Shepherd II is loaded with a cargo of barrels of diesel fuel to deliver to the relief trucks in Ethiopia.
December: After departing London, the Sea Shepherd II is ordered into the port of Brest, France, by the U.K. Board of Trade. The Board of Trade had changed its bureaucratic mind and a new ruling states that the Sea Shepherd II is not a registered cargo vessel and thus can not transport relief supplies. The ship is ordered to Plymouth to discharge the cargo. When Captain Watson asks the Board of Trade to make an exception for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid, the bureaucrat responsible said that exceptions were never granted. Captain Watson reminds the bureaucrat that the soldiers that were picked up at Dieppe during World War Two were taken back to Britain on vessels not registered to carry passengers. The bureaucrat answers that if he had been in charge, they would not have been allowed to transport passengers without the proper registration.
June: The Sea Shepherd II departs from Plymouth for Malmo, Sweden, to attend the meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
July: The Sea Shepherd II departs Malmo for the Danish Faeroe Islands to document and obstruct the Faeroese pilot whale sport hunt. Captain Watson sends in a team of five crewmembers to meet with the government. All five are arrested and held without charges. The Sea Shepherd II refuses to depart from Faeroese waters until the crew is released. The Faeroese respond by attacking with rifle fire and tear gas. Captain Watson has a bullet strike the ship an inch from his head, and immediately he orders the crew of the Sea Shepherd II to defend the ship with water cannons and cannons loaded with chocolate and lemon pie-filling. The Faeroese attackers are humiliatingly slimed with goo and the Sea Shepherd II escapes with documentation of whaling activities and a dramatic confrontation. The incident is filmed and aired in a BBC produced award-winning documentary entitled Black Harvest.
September: The Sea Shepherd II returns to Bristol, England, for repairs and maintenance.
November: Sea Shepherd activists return to Iceland and take action against illegal Icelandic whaling operations. Sea Shepherd engineers Rod Coronado and David Howitt engineer the sinking of two of Iceland's four whaling ships in Reykjavik harbor. They also destroy the whale processing station at Hvalfjodur. This mission shuts down Icelandic commercial whaling activities for the next 16 years. The attack becomes a headline story worldwide.
May & June: With the Sea Shepherd II in Britain and in need of repairs, the Society needs a vessel to oppose escalating driftnet activities in the North Pacific. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society purchases a tuna seiner from a bank repossession sale called the Bold Venture. The vessel is not suitable for the campaign but the Society is able to trade the ship for a Japanese skip-jack tuna vessel called the Gratitude. The Gratitude is renamed the Divine Wind and is made ready for a voyage to the North Pacific.
July & August: The Divine Wind sets forth to the Aleutians, stopping in Amchitka and Attu, documenting "ghost nets." On the return trip, the ship stops in the Pribilof Islands to investigate the status of the Northern fur seals. The expedition discovers and removes many miles of drifting net material.
January: Captain Watson, Activist/Dr. Joanna Forwell, and Sea Shepherd Sweden Director Sten Borg travel to Iceland. Captain Watson demands that Iceland lay charges against Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and himself for sinking half of Iceland's whaling fleet. Iceland refuses. Captain Watson announces to the Icelandic media that the actions of Sea Shepherd agents against Icelandic whaling activities are justified as a legitimate policing action because Iceland refused to defend illegal whaling activities by charging the Sea Shepherd for sabotage. Sea Shepherd then announces that any accusations of criminality against Sea Shepherd are unwarranted as Sea Shepherd had not been charged, let alone convicted of any crime in Iceland.
March: A Sea Shepherd agent documents the killing of dolphins by a United States tuna seiner named the Sea King. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society grants the use of this footage to Sam LaBudde of Earth Island Institute. Sea Shepherd footage is shown in addition to the film taken by Sam LaBudde on board a Panamanian tuna seiner. The film edited by Sea Shepherd director Peter Brown is released and scandalizes the tuna industry and contributes to the ban on dolphin killing by U.S. tuna companies.
November: The Sea Shepherd ship Divine Wind is sold and the Sea Shepherd Society uses the funds from the sale to overhaul theSea Shepherd II.
July: After lengthy repairs in the Netherlands and Britain, the Sea Shepherd II crosses the Atlantic to Key West, Florida, to take on crew and supplies for a transit of the Panama Canal and up to Puntarenas, Costa Rica. In Puntarenas, the Sea Shepherd II intercepts two Venezuelan tuna seiners. The vessels are not permitted to leave until they allow Captain Watson and his officers to inspect their logbooks and their fishhold for evidence of dolphin killing. In addition to the evidence obtained, the log book of the seiner Pan Pacific reveals the locations of fishing activities where dolphins have been killed.
August: The Sea Shepherd II intercepts and chases numerous Mexican tuna boats away from pods of dolphins in the Eastern tropical Pacific.
March: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society consults with a marine biologist and a physicist to find a method for sinking driftnet without ecological damage. A successful method is found, tested, and prepared.
January - July: The Sea Shepherd II is prepared and outfitted for a campaign to the North Pacific to hunt for driftnetters. In June, the ship's engines are sabotaged and the campaign is delayed by almost two months.
August: The Sea Shepherd II departs from Seattle to search for driftnet fleets in the North Pacific. A Japanese fleet is located some 1400 miles north of Hawaii. The Sea Shepherd II rams two Japanese driftnet vessels and sinks some sixty miles of monofilament driftnet. The cost of damages to the Japanese is in excess of two million dollars. Sea Shepherd video documentation of the action is shown worldwide including Japanese television. The official Japanese response was that "nothing happened."
January: The Sea Shepherd II departs from San Diego on a voyage to Key West, Florida, via the Panama Canal. Off of Guatemala, the Sea Shepherd II discovers the Mexican tuna seiner Tungui with her nets in the water and dolphins struggling to escape. Despite the darkness of night, Captain Watson orders the Mexicans to release the dolphins. When they refuse, he rams and damages the Tungui and turns a high-pressure hose on her onboard helicopter. The dolphins are released. Guatemala officially thanks Sea Shepherd for the intervention.
July: The Sea Shepherd II departs for Trinidad to patrol for Taiwanese driftnetters. Near Barbados, a Taiwanese driftnet boat is discovered. The Taiwanese attempt to intimidate the Sea Shepherd II by coming alongside and colliding with her. The collision crushes the starboard gunwale of the Sea Shepherd II. Captain Watson retaliates by falling back and coming up fast on the starboard side of the driftnetter. The Sea Shepherd II rams the Taiwanese vessel hard on her midship section.
In Trinidad, the Sea Shepherd crew is given a wonderful reception by the Trinidad Coast Guard. Sea Shepherd is made an official auxiliary to the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard. Sea Shepherd crew assist the Coast Guard in investigating and exposing the bribery of Trinidadian government officials by the Taiwanese fishing industry. Sea Shepherd calls a press conference in Trinidad and exposes Taiwanese bribes to Trinidad government officials in exchange for fuel subsidies and non-interference with poaching in Trinidad and Tobago waters. The politicians taking the bribes are arrested. Sea Shepherd delivers and donates four assault rifles to the Coast Guard to assist them with policing against illegal driftnet operations.
November: Sea Shepherd purchases the former U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessel Cape Knox. The ship is renamed the Edward Abbey in honor of the author, friend of Captain Watson, and Sea Shepherd Advisory Board member. The ship is bought in Charleston, South Carolina and moved to Norfolk, Virginia to be refitted.
December: The Sea Shepherd II departs from the Bahamas with a crew that includes fourteen members of the Gitk'san Wet'su'e'ten nation of British Columbia. For the voyage the name of the ship is changed to Aligat meaning Warrior. Captain Watson funds the campaign personally and the objective is to intercept the Quincentennial voyage of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. En route the crew stops at San Salvador Island to reclaim it for the First Nations. The Columbus caravels are found approaching Puerto Rico. The Santa Maria is seized and held until the Spanish Consul in Puerto Rico signs a letter of apology for five hundred years of injustice to the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
December 20th, 1991: The United Nations General Assembly approves Resolution 46/215 banning driftnet fishing worldwide as of January 1993.
February: The Sea Shepherd II and the Edward Abbey depart from Key West, Florida, via the Panama Canal and bound for Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica. Upon arrival at the island, a number of poachers are discovered. The Sea Shepherd II, under the command of Captain John Huntermer, and the Edward Abby, under the command of Captain Watson, evict the poachers with water cannons, pie cannons, stink bombs, and paintball guns. Video of the poachers is sent to the authorities in Costa Rica.
March: The Sea Shepherd II and the Edward Abbey intervene against tuna seiners killing dolphins in the Eastern Tropical Pacific and chase them from the area. The Edward Abbey is forced into Acapulco for repairs. Because of the attack on the Mexican tuna seiner Tungui the previous year, the Mexican authorities would have seized the ship. Because of this, Captain Watson entered without a declaration on a Sunday. The repairs were done over the next three days without Mexican detection. Upon discovery by the authorities, the Edward Abbey let the lines go and sped from the harbor faster than any of the Mexican Navy pursuit vessels.
May: A Sea Shepherd crewmember boards the illegal driftnetting vessel Jiang Hai in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The ship is scuttled at dockside for violating the U.N. Resolution banning driftnetting.
June: Captain Watson attends the meeting of the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development in Brazil. Captain Watson informs the Scandinavian media that Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will target any whaling operations by any nation that do not abide by the regulations of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
July: The Sea Shepherd II and the Edward Abbey depart from Santa Cruz, California, for a voyage to the mid-Northern Pacific Ocean. Both ships encounter a Japanese driftnet fleet North of Hawaii. The crewmembers cut and confiscate the nets, ram one of the vessels, and chase the others away from the area. The abandoned nets are confiscated. The Japanese government officially complains to the U.S. State Department. Returning to the mainland, the Edward Abbeyis boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard. Captain Watson welcomes the investigation and gives the Coast Guard officers complete video documentation of the action. Japan withdraws the official complaint.
September: The Sea Shepherd II is retired at Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. After years of service, the ship has too many mechanical and structural problems and becomes too costly to maintain. The Sea Shepherd II is not retired meekly. The ship becomes a center of debate after the Canadian Pilotage Association attempts to extort excessive fees to harass Sea Shepherd. Captain Watson strips the Sea Shepherd II of all valuable gear and equipment and then sells her.
September: Sea Shepherd crew continues to monitor and document illegal driftnetting operations out of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Sea Shepherd discovers that 43 new vessels are being outfitted with over 65,000 miles of driftnet. The documentation is forwarded to the United Nations as evidence to support the proposed ban on Driftnets.
October: The United States government passes Bill H.R. 2152 that authorize U.S. government intervention against high seas driftnetting.
November: Sea Shepherd purchases a Japanese-built, Taiwanese-registered driftnetter from a United States Marshall's sale in Honolulu. The ship is purchased to be outfitted as a decoy to infiltrate driftnetting fleets.
December 26th: After months of surveillance, Captain Watson leads a team to Northern Norway to search for illegal Norwegian whaling vessels. Dwight Worker engineers the scuttling of the Norwegian whaler Nybraena in Reine on the Lofoten Islands at dockside the day after Christmas. Sea Shepherd issues a press release describing the sinking as a "Christmas gift to the Whales."
January: Sea Shepherd challenges the government of Norway to prosecute the Sea Shepherd crew responsible for sinking the Norwegian whaler Nybraena. Norway refuses to respond.
Paul Watson's book Earthforce! An Earth Warrior's Guide to Strategy is published
March: A Sea Shepherd supporter documents the illegal killing of an orca whale in the Bering Sea by the U.S.-registered fishing factory vessel the Northern Hawk. The documentation is turned over to U.S. authorities.
March: The Edward Abbey is re-registered as a Canadian research vessel and given the name Sirenian.
April: The Sirenian travels to Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island to open a summer of controversial protest against the clear-cutting of the magnificent Clayoquot valley.
May: Captain Watson purchases the retired Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker the Thomas Carletonin Halifax, Nova Scotia. The ship is renamed the Cleveland Amory. The ship requires three months to make ready for sea.
July: The Cleveland Amory departs Halifax for a voyage to the Grand Banks off Newfoundland for the purpose of obstructing illegal fishing activities. Upon arrival on the Tail of the Banks outside of Canadian waters, the Cleveland Amory is met by Canadian government vessels and police and shadowed closely. Captain Watson is very much aware that he and his crew are under surveillance when he orders the Cuban drag trawler Rio Las Casas to pull up her nets and return to Havana. The Cuban complies but is informed by the Canadian Department of Fisheries that the Cleveland Amory has no authority to give such an order. Captain Watson retaliates by pulling alongside the Cuban trawler and instructing his crew to toss stink bombs onto the deck of the Rio Las Casas. Captain Watson then cuts the trawl. The Cubans retreat from the Banks. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police inform Captain Watson that he is under arrest. He ignores the order and makes a course to the Nose of the Banks where he orders a Spanish dragger off the Banks. The political controversy results in ten Cuban drag trawlers departing the Banks and returning to Cuba. Their reported losses exceed thirty five million dollars. The Mounted Police respond by boarding the Cleveland Amory and arresting Captain Watson outside the two-hundred mile limit. Captain Watson is charged with three counts of criminal mischief and the Cleveland Amory is brought into St. John's Newfoundland under guard.
August: To avoid the harassment and bureaucratic obstacles involved in getting the Cleveland Amory released, Captain Watson sells the ship to a private buyer. In this manner, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society avoids the payment of $30,000 in fines imposed by the Canadian government and walks away with more money than originally invested.
January: A Sea Shepherd team scuttles the illegally operated Norwegian whaling vessel Senet in southern Norway. The investigation of the sinking revealed to Norwegian authorities that the vessel had just returned from smuggling a new engine in from Denmark.. There were no charges brought against Sea Shepherd by Norway for the sinking. The owner of the Senet is fined for smuggling.
Paul Watson's book Ocean Warrior, My Battle to End the Illegal Slaughter on the High Seas ispublished.
January: Sea Shepherd office in Santa Monica receives extensive damage from the Northridge earthquake.
March: Sea Shepherd purchases the British ship Switzer Mercator and renames the vessel the Whales Forever. The ship is moved to the Netherlands for repairs and refitting.
March: Sea Shepherd proposes the creation of an industry that can replace the cruel, lethal, and wasteful seal hunt. Captain Watson leads an expedition onto the ice floes off the Magdalen Islands and successfully proves the practicality of creating an alternative industry for non-lethal utilization of harp seals by collecting their hair fibers while they are molting. He proposes that the hairs can be spun into yarn to be used for making sweaters or fill for sleeping bags or bed comforters - an alternative to eiderdown. Captain Watson recruits two Magdalen Island sealers to participate in the seal brushing.
June: Two sabotage attacks are directed against the Sea Shepherd ship Whales Forever. Both are arsonist attacks. The first attack causes minor damage. The second attack deliberately causes an explosion and fire in the ship's engine room that causes substantial damage. Repairs take a month.
July: The Whales Forever departs the Netherlands to confront illegal whaling operations off the Northern Coast of Norway. The voyage provokes extensive media coverage in Europe. The Norwegian Naval vessel Andenes intercepts the Whales Forever. The Andenes attempts to foul the propellers of the Whales Forever but Captain Watson outmaneuvers the Norwegians each time. Frustrated, the Captain of the Andenes misjudges his next attempt and rams the Whales Forever. The impact shatters the bow of the Whales Forever and rips open the gasoline holding tank, spilling a hundred gallons of gasoline onto the deck of the Whales Forever and soaking three of her crew. The collision also causes the prop to be fouled with the rope towed by the Andenes. The Sea Shepherd crew acts fast to remove the gasoline and the threat of explosion. At the same time, Sea Shepherd divers go over the side to cut the line from the propeller. Despite the Andenes firing twice at the Whales Forever with her deck-gun and detonating four depth charges beneath her hull, the Whales Forever successfully prevents boarding by the Norwegian Navy and returns to the Scottish Shetland Islands.
September: The Whales Forever completes a successful fundraising tour of Germany and receives extensive media coverage for the whales. Captain Watson debates the Norwegian Ambassador on German television. The Whales Forever is drydocked in Bremerhaven and is discovered to have received extensive damage by the Norwegian depth charges.
October: The Whales Forever crosses the Atlantic to Bermuda and onto Florida where Captain Watson sells the ship a few months later for more than Sea Shepherd had paid for her. The funds are set aside for the purchase of a new ship
January: The National Marine Fisheries Service announces its decision to exterminate the California sea lions that frequent the Ballard Locks of Seattle, Washington, to feed on steelhead trout. Sea Shepherd negotiates an agreement with the City of San Francisco that will allow the captured sea lions to be released into the San Francisco Bay. Sea Shepherd also presents a plan to construct a hydraulic barrier to prevent sea lions from preying upon fish entering the fish ladder at Ballard locks.
March: The German bedding company Kirchhoff Bettwarenfabrik expresses to Sea Shepherd their interest in the possibility of marketing cruelty-free baby harp seal products. Actor/activist Martin Sheen agrees to support Sea Shepherd efforts in seal conservation. Captain Watson, Martin Sheen, and a crew travel to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Before they could fly out to the seals on the ice floes, a mob of angry sealers invades the Magdalen Islands hotel where the Sea Shepherd contingent is staying. They break doors down to enter Captain Watson's room and beat him. The Police intervene only to forcibly expel Captain Watson from the Magdalens. The campaign receives international media coverage.
Martin Sheen (left) with Sea Shepherd volunteer Chuck Swift.
July: The Sea Shepherd vessel Sirenian goes to British Columbia to document the opening of the salmon fishing season, the lack of fish, and ongoing dispute between commercial, sport, and native fishing interests over who was at fault. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police follow the Sirenian with two fast catamaran patrol boats for the entire campaign. Captain Watson warns that the Coho salmon are in imminent danger of extinction and calls for an immediate shutdown of the fishery. The Canadian government declares a salmon fishing moratorium in B.C. but reverses the moratorium after receiving pressure from the fishing industry.
August: The Makah Indian tribe of Neah Bay, Washington, claims the right to hunt California Gray whales under an 1855 treaty with the U.S., which they wanted revived in the name of "cultural and spiritual values." The Makah also said they believed they had the right to resume a commercial whale hunt. Over a dozen tribes along the coast of British Columbia assert that they would press for an extension of their fishing rights to include whales should the Makah's petition be approved. Thanks to two visits from the Sirenian in Neah Bay, Sea Shepherd's ongoing presence, media campaign, and work with US Congressman Jack Metcalf (R-WA), the U.S. Administration withdraws support of the Makah's formal petition before the International Whaling Commission meeting in Scotland.
August: Sea Shepherd field agents meet with Irish government representatives and present reasons to disallow driftnetting in Irish waters. The government of Ireland rules to ban driftnetting.
September - October: Captain Watson is put on trial before the Newfoundland Supreme Court on three counts of criminal mischief brought by the government in retaliation for the 1993 cod protection campaign off the Grand Banks. Before a judge and jury, Captain Watson cites the World Charter for Nature as his authority to intervene. The jury accepts the argument, and Captain Watson is acquitted on all the felony mischief charges by reason of color of right. He is convicted of the minor charge of aiding and abetting an act of mischief by crewmember Brad Ryan for throwing stink bombs, who had not been identified or charged. Captain Watson is sentenced to thirty days. He is released after one week pending the appeal.
October: Paul Watson is voted to receive the 1995 Eugene Rogers Award by the United Nations Association of Canada for his work in defense of the salmon in British Columbia. The Award was denied after the Western Canada Wilderness Society protested. Captain Watson replies that, "It appears we have not lost our capacity to generate controversy. It is difficult to receive awards when you are actually doing something to deserve one."
March: Sea Shepherd returns to the Gulf of St. Lawrence along with company principals of Kirchhoff Bettwarenfabrik, one year after the sealer riot. Baby harp seal fur is successfully gathered without incident. The company makes plans to hire people to gather enough seal hair for commercial production in 1997. Canada kills 250,000 seals.
July: Sea Shepherd purchases a British-registered, Norwegian-built trawler named the Skandi Ocean. The ship is renamed the Sea Shepherd III and repairs and refit work begin in Edinburgh, Scotland.
December: The British Ministry of Fisheries hires Sea Shepherd crew to guard their patrol boats over the holidays.
March: The Sea Shepherd III makes a test run from Scotland to Bremerhaven, Germany. In Bremerhaven, the ship is berthed for further repairs.
March: Captain Watson is arrested in Bremerhaven by German police on a Norwegian Interpol warrant. He is held for one day and released by the Bremen prosecutor who rules that the warrant contains contradictory information. Captain Watson is free to travel in Germany.
April - June: Concerned that the Norwegian warrant would hinder his travel in Europe, Captain Watson turns himself in for arrest in the Netherlands on April 2nd. The warrant issued by Norway demands that Captain Watson serve jail time for a conviction in absentia for the sinking of the outlaw whaler Nybraena in 1992. An international storm of protest follows, including protests at Norwegian and Dutch embassies worldwide. Following a hearing, Norway's extradition request is denied, and Watson is freed after spending 90 days in jail.
From Left: Volunteer Scott Sheckman, female Dutch government rep, male Dutch government rep,
Volunteer Cathy Ritter, Martin Sheen, and Sea Shepherd Board Member Kurt Lieber.
This Sea Shepherd team met with the Dutch embassy in Los Angeles
to urge them to end Norway’s request to extradite Paul Watson.
September: Sea Shepherd Pacific Northwest Director Michael Kundu covertly enters Siberia with a media crew to document the killing of whales by Siberian natives. Although his life is threatened, he returns to report to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Monaco. The film crew brings back evidence of the illegal commercial whale hunt, including footage of butchered whales being processed into feed for fox fur farms. Russia continues to claim the slaughter as a "subsistence" hunt, exempt from the moratorium whaling.
October: The Sea Shepherd III makes her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean, announcing the Society's intention to intervene against ongoing illegal driftnetting there. Italy's driftnetters, the primary offenders, immediately announce they will halt the practice. The Sea Shepherd III brings U.S. Congressman Jack Metcalf (R-WA) and a delegation of Makah tribal elders to the meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Monaco to give voice to the strong opposition to the Makah's request for permission to start hunting Gray whales. The Sea Shepherd III is given a free berth in Monte Carlo harbor and Prince Albert presents Captain Watson with an invitation to the official reception for the delegates of the International Whaling Commission. When Captain Watson walks into the reception, the Icelandic, Norwegian, Japanese, and Caribbean delegations walk out of the reception in protest.
November - December: The Sea Shepherd III departs from France stopping at Gibraltar and Madeira en route to Key West, Florida. Between Gibraltar and Madeira, the ship weathers a hurricane without any ill effect.
January: The Sea Shepherd III moves to Wilmington, North Carolina, to prepare the ship for a campaign to protect harp seals in the Canadian Gulf of St. Lawrence.
January: Sea Shepherd participates in a major fundraising event in Anchorage, Alaska hosted by Pierce Brosnan and attended by numerous celebrities including William Shatner, Alexandra Paul, Michelle Yeoh, and John Paul and Eloise DeJoria.
Paul Watson with Michelle Yeoh and Pierce Brosnan.
March: With actual mortalities from the seal hunt rising to a species-threatening 500,000 a year, the Canadian government continues to stonewall the permits necessary to initiate a non-lethal sealing industry based on brushing the molted fur of baby harp seals. Regardless, the Sea Shepherd III makes the voyage to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the first conservation vessel at Canada's annual wildlife slaughter since 1983. The ship brings international journalists to the hunt, wards off sealers from the main seal nursery. Celebrity guests brought to the seal hunt include Farley Mowat, John Paul DeJoria and his daughter Alexis, and Bronwen Booth, the sister of British first lady Shirley Blair. Brigitte Bardot was scheduled to join the campaign, however, her plane broke down en route.
John Paul Mitchell Systems CEO,
John Paul DeJoria and his daughter Alexis.
Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd
International Chairman Farley Mowat.
March: Captain Watson is awarded the Genesis Award for Lifetime Achievement in Los Angeles. The award is presented by Pierce Brosnan and Martin Sheen.
September - November: At the urging of the commercial whaling industries of Norway and Japan, with promises of lucrative future trade, the Makah Indian tribe claims a right to resume whale hunting pursuant to a guarantee in their 1855 treaty with the U.S., but in contravention of subsequent international conservation law. To avoid a lawsuit, the U.S. aided the Makah in perpetrating the falsehood that the Makah had been granted an exception to the worldwide moratorium on whaling and may commence killing Gray whales for purely "cultural" purposes. Because this would give every nation on earth a new category for whaling, Sea Shepherd sends two ships to Neah Bay, Washington, where they are joined on the water by local citizens and other anti-whaling activists. Despite mob violence, arrest, and official harassment, the coalition of activists shields the local whales and succeeds in focusing enough media attention to the hunt to make the Makah stand down without taking a single whale.
Protest by government officials: Republican
Jack Metcalf makes a plea via the media
to try to stop the whale hunt.
Protest at sea: Sea Shepherd and local citizens
form a flotilla to protect the gray whales
from the hunters.
Protest on land: Local citizens exercise their
freedom of speech and expression.
A Makah man pushed Sea Shepherd Director
Lisa Distefano off the pier and into the water
(you can see her walking up the ramp
and out of the water).
A group of Makah men aggressively steal
the Sea Shepherd Zodiac.
Makah police threw Sea Shepherd crewmember
Ken Nichols to the ground and arrested him.
Ken Nichols (after being released by the police)
with Sea Shepherd Director Lisa Distefano,
and several Makah elders who were in support
of Sea Shepherd’s efforts to save whales.
Makah Whaling crew; Captain Wayne Johnson
holds the “traditional” 50-caliber rifle
which is to be used to kill the whale.
October: The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans introduce Regulatory Review Proposals governing the seal hunt. There is an addition of Sea Shepherd's non-lethal seal hair harvesting concept to the proposed annex to the regulations of the Canadian seal hunt. The non-lethal harvest of seal hair gains official declarations of support from Canadian fishing industry groups, conservation, animal rights, and academic organizations, and the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
February: Sea Shepherd provides funds to international sturgeon expert Dr.Vadim Birstein and the Sturgeon Society in a research program to determine the extent of the illegal Russian caviar trade and its effects on endangered sturgeon in the Caspian Sea.
March: A Sea Shepherd volunteer persuades the major dive outfitters based in La Paz, Mexico, a primary feeding grounds for whale sharks, to adapt a "no harassment" policy for all tourists and divers with regard to the whale sharks that feed off Baja California every summer. Tourists are no longer allowed to grab, touch, or ride the whale sharks off La Paz.
March 20: Captain Watson receives the Earth Trustee environmental award in a United Nations Earth Day ceremony at U.N. Plaza.
April: Sea Shepherd in Germany persuades Aldi's, one of the largest food distributors in Europe, to terminate its contracts with the Faeroe Islands until the Faeroes agreed to cease the practice of slaughtering pilot whales in the name of "tradition."
May: Sea Shepherd returns to Neah Bay, Washington, with the Sirenian, as the gray whales return to the Bering Sea on their northward migration. Due to numerous arrests of our activists and vessel seizures by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Makah were able to kill a whale on May 19th. Sea Shepherd continues to work with citizens' groups in Washington state to persuade the U.S. Administration to withdraw its unilateral permission for the Makah to take whales, modify the whaling clause in the Makah treaty, or both, and prevail upon the International Whaling Commission to formally vote on the Makah's qualifications or lack thereof for an aboriginal exemption to the global ban on whaling.
The Sirenian is joined by concerned citizens on the water of Neah Bay.
Captain Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd Director Lisa Distefano with Makah elders
who wanted the whales to be saved.
Far right of picture: Volunteer
Allison Lance and Sea Shepherd Director Lisa Distefano use a zodiac to harass
and stop the Makah from hunting whales. Both women are arrested.
June: Veteran Sea Shepherd crewmember Daniel Vairo and his cousin Alexander Castro found Instituto Sea Shepherd Brasil (ISSB) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, dedicated to the protection of the marine ecosystem in South America's largest country.
December: The oil tanker Erika breaks up in heavy seas off the coast of France, and the Russian tanker Volgoneft 247 breaks up in the Bosporus Strait off Turkey. Sea Shepherd Europe volunteers travel to both countries and assemble international volunteer teams to rescue and transport oiled seabirds from the Erika spill to care centers. Cooperative training programs are established with Pieterburen Wildlife Rescue Center in the Netherlands. The Turkish government agrees to work with Sea Shepherd on oil spill disaster response issues.
January: A Petrobras Oil Company pipeline ruptures near Rio de Janeiro and spills over 300,000 gallons of crude oil into the bay and marshes. Sea Shepherd volunteers coordinate wildlife rescue efforts. The Rio Grande do Sul state government contracts with Sea Shepherd Brasil to develop an oiled wildlife rescue plan.
February: The Sea Shepherd III is struck from Belize registry after Captain Watson refuses to pay a bribe to Belize officials. The ship is re-registered under the Cayman Islands and renamed the Ocean Warrior.
March: The Ocean Warrior goes to the Galapagos Islands. Sea Shepherd enters into negotiations with park authorities to provide a conservation vessel and crew for joint conservation patrols to afford greater protection for the biologically unique Galapagos National Park. The Ocean Warrior then transits the Panama Canal to Miami, Florida.
April: Paul Watson signs an agreement with the State of Rio Grande du Sol in Brazil, giving Instituto Sea Shepherd Brasil authority to conduct anti-poaching patrols along the nation's southern coast. Captain Watson accompanies Sea Shepherd Brazil President Alexander Castro on the first flight to patrol the coastline.
June: Sea Shepherd joins the coalition supporting the establishment of the Gulf of Maine International Ocean Wilderness. The Ocean Wilderness protects a unique part of the ecological heritage of North America, starting about 12 miles offshore and extending to the end of the Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 miles, encompassing ten miles on each side of the United States and Canadian borders. By extending this protected area perpendicular from the coast to the boundary all the way to the Atlantic Abyss, a wide diversity of habitats and marine life can be protected.
July: The Ocean Warrior crosses the Atlantic Ocean to the Netherlands to prepare for a campaign to the Danish Faeroe islands to protect pilot whales.
July: TheOcean Warrior sails to the Faeroe Islands to intervene against the annual slaughter of pilot whales. Once again, the issue of the hunt is brought to the front pages of the European media. Sea Shepherd brings economic pressure to bear against those companies still purchasing seafood from the Faeroes - representing 90% of their economy - most prominently Dutch-based giant Unilever. Over 20,000 European retail outlets terminated their Faeroese fish contracts at Sea Shepherd's request.
Faeroe police board the Ocean Warrior.
September: Work begin to prepare the Sirenian for delivery to the Galapagos Islands under the terms of a five-year agreement with the Ecuadorian National Park Service and Navy, responsible for patrolling a 50,000-acre marine reserve but currently only has one boat dedicated to patrols. The Darwin Research Center is also actively involved in this cooperative effort. The Sirenian is contracted to conduct conservation patrols of the Galapagos Islands Marine Reserve - the first ever to be permitted in the waters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site by a foreign-registered vessel - to clamp down on commercial fishing operations undertaken within 40 miles of the baseline of the biologically unique islands. The Galapagos are a prime target for Asian vessels poaching shark fins and pulling in illegal hauls of the abundant but fragile sea life around the archipelago.
November: Sea Shepherd sponsors the work of the Seal Alert-SA in South Africa, helping to purchase an inflatable for their work in saving and rehabilitating Cape fur seals.
December: Sea Shepherd files suit in Washington State Superior Court charging that the state has ignored its own environmental regulations by failing to protect a small, local aggregation of Eastern Pacific gray whales whose numbers were dramatically less than the oft-cited 22,000+ of the main gray whale population. Sea Shepherd demands that the state fulfill its legal obligation to restrict and regulate the Makah whale hunt in order to protect the local whale population.
December: Captain Watson delivers the Sirenian to the Galapagos from Seattle. Actor Aiden Quinn joins the crew from Costa Rica to the Galapagos.
Captain Watson is joined by celebrities to send-off the Sirenian: Actress Linda Blair (left picture)
and John Paul Mitchell Systems CEO John Paul DeJoria and Actor David Carradine.
January: The oil tanker Jessica runs aground off San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos, spilling 160,000 gallons of diesel and 80,000 gallons of bunker fuel. Sirenian is the first vessel on the scene, and proceeds to spend three weeks assisting the Galapagos National Park and a special U.S. Coast Guard team in oil spill clean up and wildlife rescue.
February: Sea Shepherd testifies at a public hearing in Seattle, Washington, on the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Makah whale hunt by the U.S. government, and delivers comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service finding the process by which the EA was produced to be deficient, tainted, and thoroughly biased in favor of a hunt. The result is that the release of the final EA is postponed.
March: The Sea Shepherd patrol vessel Sirenian seizes four longliners caught inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Incidents of poaching begin to decline in the area of Sirenian's patrols.
Captain Watson (middle) and Sea Shepherd’s
Galapagos Director Sean O’Hearn (far right)
with the Galapagos National Park Rangers.
A happy Sea Shepherd crewmember coils up
A Sea Shepherd crewmember displays some of the
shark fins that were found aboard an longlining vessel.
Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director gathers up
dead sharks left on an illegal longliner.
March: The Sirenian secures evidence of corruption in the Ecuadorian Navy and releases it to the public.
July: During the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Ocean Warrior sails to St. Lucia in the West Indies and films a fisherman bringing in a slain pilot whale on the same day the government denies that St. Lucia hunts whales. Sea Shepherd coordinates an international e-mail campaign against the Caribbean nations voting with Japan at the IWC in exchange for "fisheries aid." St. Lucia receives more than 400 cancellations of resort bookings as a result.
Sea Shepherd obtains evidence of illegal
whale killing - see the cut-off whale flukes in the boat.
July - August: The Ocean Warrior crew patrol threatened nesting beaches of endangered sea turtles in Tobago and support a local conservation group in calling for stricter enforcement of turtle conservation laws.
July - August: The Sirenianapprehends two more commercial shark-finning boats inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve, and close down a sea cucumber poaching camp. Sea Shepherd posts a reward for the arrest of those responsible for the sexual mutilation slaying of 15 Galapagos sea lions. The fishermen are identified but flee to the mainland.
August: With Cocos National Park rangers on board, Ocean Warrior apprehends the large Ecuadorian longliner San Jose caught poaching off Cocos Island, Costa Rica, and confiscates 30 miles of longline and their illegal catch of sharks, turtles, sailfish, and dolphins.
August: The Ocean Warrior stops in the Galapagos to re-supply the Sirenian. Because of the exposure of Naval corruption in March, the Ecuadorian Navy places the Ocean Warrior under guard and then orders the ship to depart from the Galapagos and to take Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director Sean O'Hearn on board. Sean refuses to leave the Galapagos and is arrested by the Navy. The Mayor of Puerto Ayora secures O'Hearn's release. O'Hearn goes to Ecuador to speak with the media and to appeal the Navy's decision to deport him.
Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director Sean O’Hearn.
The Ocean Warrior in drydock.
September: The Ocean Warrior enters drydock in Seattle, Washington for major repairs, re-fitting, and paint job.
January 31: The Ecuadorian longliner San Jose I which was arrested by the Ocean Warrior in August of 2001 and is found guilty of illegally fishing inside the boundaries of the Cocos Island National Park Marine Reserve. The ship is ordered confiscated by the courts.
Watson's book published Seal Wars, Twenty-five Years on the Front Lines with the Harp Seals
February: The Sea Shepherd patrol boat, Sirenian intercepts poachers in the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve. Sea Shepherd crew on the Sirenian along with the Park Rangers raid an illegal sea cucumber poaching camp and seized 8,850 sea cucumbers.
March: The Ocean Warrior departs Seattle, Washington for Costa Rica to sign an agreement with the government of Costa Rica and the Cocos Island Foundation, giving Sea Shepherd the authority to intervene in all illegal fishing operations around the Cocos Island.
Vats of sea cucumbers confiscated
April - May: The Ocean Warrior catches the Costa Rican longliner Varadero I poaching off the coast of Guatemala. Captain Watson contacts the Guatemalan authorities and asks for advice. He is given permission to escort the poacher into San Jose, Guatemala. The longliner is ordered to pull in over twenty miles of long line and to release any sharks and fish on the hooks. The Varadero I agrees to comply but attempts to flee. The Ocean Warrior deploys fire hoses to force the poacher to comply. The Varadero I accidentally strikes the hull of the Ocean Warrior causing some damage to the poacher and none to the Ocean Warrior. The next morning, the Ocean Warrior is escorting the Varadero I when the Port Captain of San Jose informed Captain Watson that he would be arresting the Ocean Warrior for using force against the Varadero I. The owner of the Costa Rican vessel had bribed the San Jose Port Captain. Captain Watson releases the Varadero I and proceeds on to Costa Rica. When the Ocean Warrior arrives in Costa Rica, Captain Watson is charged with attempted murder and destruction of property based on accusations from the crew of the Varadero I. Captain Watson presents video evidence of the confrontation with the Varadero I
The Varadero I fleeing from
the Ocean Warrior.
to prove that there had been no violence directed at the crew of the poacher and that the Ocean Warrior had been acting on instructions from the Guatemalan government. The charges are dropped and Captain Watson is released. The Ocean Warrior then proceeds to Cocos Island National Park to deliver a donation of a generator, a radar surveillance system, and other equipment to the park rangers. Ten days later the Ocean Warrior returns to the mainland to discover that another prosecutor and another judge have reopened the case after pressure comes from the Costa Rican fishing industry. There are no charges because of insufficient evidence but the court orders that Captain Watson be arrested and held indefinitely without bail until a determination on charges could be made. Captain Watson replies that he will not comply with any arrest order unless there were official charges. Captain Watson then eludes the police and returns to his ship and departs Costa Rican waters bound for Panama City.
April 19: Sea Shepherd changes the name of the Ocean Warrior to Farley Mowat in honor of Canadian writer and Sea Shepherd international chairman Farley Mowat. The Cayman Island Registry is struck and replaced with the Canadian flag. The Farley Mowat refuels in Panama and departs on May 31 to cooperate with a request by the Galapagos National Park to hunt for the escaped Costa Rican poacher Maria Canella II.
June: The Farley Mowat searches for two weeks for the Maria Canella II but fails to locate the poacher. The ship anchors at Santa Cruz island in the Galapagos to deliver supplies to the Sea Shepherd patrol vessel Sirenian.
The Maria Canella II.
Sea Shepherd crewmembers organize
July: The Farley Mowat seizes twelve miles of illegally set long line in the Galapagos National Park and turns it over to the rangers and crew on the Sirenian to bring back to the Galapagos National Park headquarters.
July - August: The Farley Mowat crosses the South Pacific from the Galapagos to refuel in Tahiti en route to Auckland, New Zealand to prepare for a campaign to oppose the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica.
December: The Farley Mowat departs from Auckland, stops in Hobart and proceeds on to Antarctica to search for the Japanese whaling fleet.
January - December: The Sea Shepherd patrol vessel Sirenianenters and completes her third year of service in partnership with the Galapagos National Park.
January: The Farley Mowat stays in Antarctica until the end of January. The campaign is unsuccessful in locating the Japanese whaling fleet. The Japanese being aware of the Sea Shepherd campaign changed their operating schedule and plans to avoid the Farley Mowat.
January: Captain Watson is invited to meet with Conservation International in the Dominican Republic to discuss strategies for protecting the Galapagos Corridor.
March: Captain Watson leads a helicopter investigation of the escalated seal hunt on the East coast of Canada.
April: Captain Watson is elected to the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club USA.
April: The Farley Mowat crosses the Pacific from Auckland to Victoria, British Columbia, on a search and destroy mission for longlines. Hundreds of miles of longlines were intercepted and destroyed.
August: A Sea Shepherd crew from New Zealand travels to the Solomon Islands to document the illegal capture of dolphins.
October: A Sea Shepherd crew arrives in Taiji, Japan. Sea Shepherd documentation of the slaughter of dolphins is carried worldwide as front page photos in international newspapers and on television.
November - December: Allison Lance and Alex Cornelissen dive into the bay at Taiji to cut the nets to release 15 dolphins awaiting slaughter. Both Sea Shepherd crewmembers are arrested and spend three weeks in jail before being released. To watch a video of Allison fighting the dolphin killers, click here.
January - December: The Sea Shepherd patrol vessel Sirenian enters and completes her fourth year of service in partnership with the Galapagos National Park.
March: The Farley Mowat departs from Seattle for a voyage to the Galapagos.
April - June: The Farley Mowat patrols the Galapagos National Park to intercept poachers. The crew of the Farley Mowat intercept and assist in the arrest of a Costa Rican longliner, an Ecuadorian gillnetter, and an Ecuadorian- and American-owned tuna seiner. Sea Shepherd crew slash open the purse seine net to release the illegal catch of some ten tons of tuna.
Crewmember amidst piles of confiscated longlines.
Sea Shepherd crew places vessel under arrest.
June: The Farley Mowat travels to Malpelo Island off the coast of Colombia. The crew of the Farley Mowat arrives in time to set the broken leg of a Colombian ranger and to begin negotiations to secure a deliver a patrol boat for Malpelo National Park.
July: The Farley Mowat berths in Curacao to prepare for a campaign to the coast of Brazil..
August: The Farley Mowatdeparts Curacao for Sao Luis, Brazil.
September - October: The Farley Mowat patrols the coast of Brazil. Working with Instituto Sea Shepherd Brazil, a working relationship is developed with the rangers of San Fernando de Noronha National Park.
Volunteers from Sea Shepherd Brasil join Captain Watson and Sea Shepherd for the campaign.
Dutch artist, Geert Von Jon, paints a whale and dolphin mural on the Farley Mowat.
November: The Farley Mowat returns to Curacao where Dutch artist Geert Von Jon paints the ship with a whale and dolphin mural in preparation for a campaign to protect seals in 2005. A Sea Shepherd crew goes to Taiji, Japan, to protect dolphins and Sea Shepherd organized an international Day of protest against the dolphin kills in Japan on November 19.
December: The Farley Mowat departs Curacao for Bermuda for final preparations for the campaign to protect seals in Eastern Canada.
February - April: The Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat departs from Bermuda, refuels in Portland, Maine, battles bureaucrats in Halifax, and enters the Gulf of St. Lawrence to intervene against the slaughter of seal pups. A Sea Shepherd crew is attacked and violently assaulted on the ice. Eleven crewmembers are arrested and charged with documenting the killing of seals. The police refuse to lay charges against the sealers for assault. The ship then refuels in the French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon and then heads north to Labrador marking the first time a ship has gone to the Labrador Front to oppose the seal slaughter. The crew battle heavy storms and harass sealers.
A crewmember enjoys a peaceful moment with
a baby harp seal (the Sea Shepherd flagship
Farley Mowat in the background).
Canadian Coast Guard gets between
Sea Shepherd and the sealers.
A captain of a sealing vessel attacks Sea Shepherd
volunteers–pictured here swinging his hakapik.
Crewmembers are arrested by the RCMP
and transferred their government vessel.
April: The crew of the Farley Mowat drop 16 net rippers on the Tail of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to deter drag trawl operations. The ship returns to Bermuda.
June - July: The Farley Mowat enters drydock in Jacksonville, Florida, for repairs suffered during the seal campaign.
July: The Farley Mowat transits the Panama Canal and drops supplies to the rangers at Colombia's Malpelo Island National Park.
August - September: The Farley Mowat drops off supplies for the Sea Shepherd ship Sirenian in the Galapagos. Sea Shepherd opens a permanent office in the Galapagos and extends an agreement with the Galapagos National Park (GNP) to assist in the patrols of the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve.
Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director Sean O’Hearn with Captain Watson in front of the new office.
Captain Watson meets with the GNP to extend patrolling agreement.
October - November: The Farley Mowat crosses the South Pacific bound for Melbourne, Australia. The ship searches for and confiscates illegal longlines enroute. The crew inspect the remote Henderson Island for evidence of illegal fishing activities and stop at Pitcairn Island. The Farley Mowat agrees to take Pitcairn Islands mail to New Zealand. After refueling in New Zealand the ship continues on to Melbourne.
Captains Cornelissen and Watson meet with Australian celebrity
and whale watch advocate Mimi McPherson.
December: The Farley Mowat departs Melbourne and picks up a helicopter purchased by Sea Shepherd.
The ship then heads south to search for the Japanese fleet. The fleet is located on December 22 and then flees as Sea Shepherd approaches. On December 25th, the Farley Mowat intercepts the course line of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru and attempts to foul her props. The Nisshin Maru begins to run and once again the Farley Mowat pursues.
January: The Farley Mowat chases the Nisshin Maru for three thousand miles along the Antarctic coast. On January 8, the Farley Mowat once again approaches the Nisshin Maru and deploys propeller foulers. The Nisshin Maru stops whaling activities and flees. On January 9, the Farley Mowat intercepts and rams the whaling fleet supply vessel Oriental Bluebird. The supply ship is ordered out of the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary and complies. The Oriental Bluebird does not return.
Farley Mowat intercepts the Oriental Bluebird.
Ramming the side of the Oriental Bluebird.
The Farley Mowat completes a 50 day voyage covering 8500 miles between Melbourne and Cape Town. The Japanese fleet was disrupted for 15 days and prevented from achieving their quota. (Because of pressure from the Japanese government, the Farley Mowat is detained by South African authorities.)
March/April: Sea Shepherd holds a press conference in Ottawa, Canada with Brigitte Bardot to oppose the slaughter of seals. Sea Shepherd convinces Costco to remove seal oil capsules from their store in Newfoundland creating a major controversy in Eastern Canada.
Captain Paul Watson and Brigitte Bardot.
Sea Shepherd Board Member Persia White,
Captain Paul Watson, and Brigitte Bardot.
May/June: The Farley Mowat escapes from Cape Town, South Africa and the crew are welcomed as heroes upon arrival in Fremantle, Australia.
October: Sea Shepherd purchases the Scottish Fisheries Patrol vessel Westra in Rosyth, Scotland. The vessel is renamed Robert Hunter in honor of the man who was a journalist, co-found of Greenpeace, friend of Captain Watson and Sea Shepherd Advisory Board member.
The Farley Mowat in Cape Town.
The Robert Hunter departing Rosyth.
Bob Hunter on Sea Shepherd’s
1998 Makah Campaign.
December: The Robert Hunter departs from Scotland and voyages down the middle of the North and South Atlantic. The Farley Mowat departs from Melbourne, Australia to Hobart, Tasmania.
January : The Robert Hunter refuels in Puntarenas, Chile, and then heads to the Ross Sea to search for the Japanese whaling fleet. The Farley Mowat departs from Tasmania for the Ross Sea on the same mission.
February: The Robert Hunter and the Farley Mowat locate the whaling fleet. The harpoon ships flee to the north. A pod of whales flees to the West and the Nisshin Maru flees to the East. Sea Shepherd chases and disrupts the activities of the Nisshin Maru shutting down their operations. Two Sea Shepherd crew are temporarily loss when heavy fog moves in but are located and rescued 8 hours later.
February: The Robert Hunter and the Farley Mowat find the Japanese vessel Kaiko Maru chasing whales. Both ships intervene. The whales escape. The Kaiko Maru rams the Robert Hunter twice causing damage to the hull.
The Robert Hunter returns to Melbourne on February 19th and the Farley Mowat returns to Melbourne on February 21st.
March: The film Sharkwater directed by Rob Stewart and co-produced by Sea Shepherd opens in Canadian theatres to rave reviews. Stewart's film uses extensive footage that he took when he accompanied Sea Shepherd on the 2002 Costa Rica/Galapagos Campaign.
May to August: The Farley Mowat sails from Melbourne to Bermuda via Pitcairn Island, the Galapagos, and the Panama Canal. During the voyage the ship seizes illegal longlines in the Galapagos National Park and patrols off the Ecuadorian and Colombian coasts for shark fin poachers.
June and July: Sea Shepherd's Galapagos Director Sean O'Hearn leads raids on the mainland of Ecuador that seizes 45,000 shark fins and 92,000 sea cucumbers, arresting more than a dozen poachers and exposing the operations of the Ecuadorian Shark Fin Mafia.
The crew reels in miles of longline.
On June 13, Sea Shepherd and
the Environmental Police seized
19,018 shark fins.
Shark fins drying on roof top.
Sean O’Hearn and police officers display some of the confiscated shark fins.
August: The arrest of ringleaders with political connections creates a scandal in Ecuador and an embarrassed President Correa orders Sean O'Hearn deported but then rescinds the order at the last minute just before O'Hearn boards a plane.
September: Captain Watson delivers the Robert Hunter from Melbourne to Tasmania for repairs and preparations for the 2007/2008 campaign to intervene against illegal Japanese whaling operations.
October: Sea Shepherd hosts a star-studded 30th Anniversary benefit in Santa Monica called Breaking the Ice.
October: Sea Shepherd works with world class surfers Kelly Slater and Dave Rastovich to oppose the horrific annual slaughter of dolphins at Taiji, Japan.
December: The Robert Hunter is renamed the Steve Irwin departs Melbourne, Australia, headed for the Ross Sea to intercept and obstruct illegal Japanese whaling efforts to kill humpbacks, fin, and piked whales.
January - March: The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin voyages twice to the coast of Antarctica to disrupt illegal Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale. Two Sea Shepherd crew board a Japanese harpoon boat and are detained for three days and then released. Japanese Coast Guard throws concussion grenades and fires on Sea Shepherd crew. The end result is over 500 whales saved and losses of profits for the Japanese fleet.
The Japanese crew ties up Sea Shepherd volunteers.
Two Sea Shepherd crewmembers board the
Japanese research vessel to hand deliver
a message to the captain because he refused
to answer radio communication.
Japanese Coast Guard throwing concussion grenades.
Captain Watson pulls a bullet out of his protective vest.
February: The Planktos Inc. scheme to dump 100 tons of iron dust in the waters off the Galapagos is stopped. The company cites Sea Shepherd interference as the reason they have gone out of business. The scheme was condemned by the USA EPA. Sea Shepherd harassed Planktos in the Galapagos, Miami, Bermuda, and the Canary Islands. Planktos was trying to artificially stimulate plankton blooms to make money on carbon credits. The scheme had no scientific credibility.
February: The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin and crew discover, document and report the activities of illegal Patagonia tooth fish poachers off the coast of Antarctica inside the Australian Antarctic territorial limits.
March: Sea Shepherd organizes a K-9 unit in partnership with the Ecuadorian National Police to sniff our smuggled shark fins and sea cucumbers at ports and airports.
Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director Alex Cornelissen
(back row, white shirt) with the entire team
on the Detection Dogs for Poached Fauna Project.
The Farley Mowat departs Bermuda.
March: Captain Paul Watson receives the Steve Irwin Wildlife Warrior of the Year Award from Terri Irwin
March and April: The Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat departs from Bermuda for the ice floes of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to document illegal sealing operations. Although the ship never enters Canadian territorial waters, the Canadian government sends a swat team to board and seize the ship and to confiscate all video and photos taken of the seal slaughter. Dutch Captain Alex Cornelissen and Swedish First Officer Peter Hammarstedt are arrested and charged for approaching too close to a seal hunt. They are released on $10,000 that Captain Watson posts with doubloons (Canadian $2 coins). The ship is held and placed under 24 hour armed guard until the trial - scheduled for April 2009. The timely voyage focuses international attention on the Canadian seal slaughter and contributes to the European Parliament adopting a proposal to ban all seal products.
Coast Guard ramming
the Farley Mowat.
Captain Watson deliver a sack of
doubloons to pay bail.
The Farley Mowat in custody.
April: Sea Shepherd Brazil wins legal battle against illegal fishing operations in Brazil. Court fines the companies based on evidence gathered by Sea Shepherd crew.
June: Captain Watson attends the International Whaling Commission meeting in Santiago, Chile, along with Sea Shepherd Advisory Board member Ian Campbell who is a former Australian Minister for the Environment and former Australian Whaling Commissioner. Sea Shepherd announces Operation Musashi the return to the Southern Ocean to once again intervene against illegal Japanese whaling in December 2008.
June: Sea Shepherd UK convinces Hakkasan in London, one of the world's most famous restaurants to drop shark fin from the menu.
July: The European Parliament votes in favor of a proposal to ban all seal products from inhumane hunting into Europe.
August: Sea Shepherd teams up with Lush Cosmetics to launch a worldwide campaign to protect sharks. Captain Paul Watson and Lush hold a media conference in Sydney, Australia, to focus opposition on plans in Queensland to open a dedicated shark fin fishery.
Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd and
Andrew Butler, the Global Campaigns
Director for LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics,
launch the campaign to protect
the sharks of the ocean.
Sea Shepherd Volunteer Tod Emko, Captain
Rene Freire of the Sea Mar 2
(one of the launches of the Tiburon Martillo),
engineer Colon Jimenez and Sea Shepherd
Galapagos Director Alex Cornelissen.
August: The film biography about Captain Watson entitled Pirate for the Sea by Ronald Colby premieres at the Telluride Film Festival.
September: Lush Cosmetics and Sea Shepherd generate international headlines when performance artist Alice Newstead is hung from shark hooks in the window of Lush's store in central London. The global anti-shark-finning campaign raises awareness about the crime of shark finning.
September 2008: The film At the Edge of the World by Tim Gorski and Dan and Craig Stone premieres at the Toronto Film Festival. This film documents the 2006/2007 Operation Leviathan to protect whales in Antarctica.
September 2008: Sea Shepherd calls for a 20 year closure of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland to ensure the survival of the cod and other threatened fish species.
October 2008: Sea Shepherd Galapagos helps to establish a permanent floating base at Darwin and Wolf guard against poachers at the remote northern islands on a continuous basis.
November 7th, 2008: Animal Planet Begins airing the first of the seven-part series entitled Whale Wars at 9:00 PM ET/PT. Animal Planet Canada will begin airing the series on November 9th at 8PM ET / 9PM PT.
December 2008 – February 2009: The2008-2009 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign,Operation Musashi, launches with Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin travels to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, intervenes against the illegal Japanese whaling fleet and saves the lives of 305 whales during.
February: At theGoed Geld Gala in the Netherlands, the Dutch Postcode Lottery "Postcodeloterij" awards Sea Shepherd a grant for 2009 funding which included a check for €500,000.
April: Skarbakk, an outlaw whaling vessel, was scuttled in the Norwegian Lofoten Islands by the conservation commandos from Agenda 21.
April: Sea Shepherd and members of ARK II persuade Holista Health Inc. who sell health supplements in stores across Canada and the United States, including Costco, Shoppers Drug Mart, and WalMart to cease purchasing shark cartilage raw materials and will no longer be producing shark cartilage products.
April: At the2nd Annual Award Ceremony hosted by the Academy of Television Arts and Science, Tippi Hedren presents Animal Planets President Marjorie Kaplan with a Television Academy Award for Whale Wars.
May: The European Parliament votes 550 to 49 to ban seal product imports.
May: The Resorts World at Sentosa, Singapore, opts out of plans to install a major aquarium exhibit designed to display captive whale sharks. This victory is thanks in part to Sea Shepherd and other conservation-oriented groups who actively opposed the development in Singapore for months via an international whale shark petition that resulted in over 9,000 signatures.
May: Sea Shepherd and LUSH Handmade Cosmetics team up and hand Canadian Senator Mac Harb to get 38,015 postcard petitions and 9,681 online petitions by supporters opposing the Canadian commercial seal hunt with the assurance that each petition will be delivered directly to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the nation's capitol in Ottawa, Ontario. Supporters also buy First Swim bubble bars and Charity Pot lotions which result in LUSH donating US $36,894.02 to Sea Shepherd in order to oppose the seal hunt.
May: The Peruvian navy training ship the Mollendo runs aground in Academy Bay, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos landing near a reef where white tip sharks are known to congregate. Thanks to the National Park together with the Ecuadorian navy, environmental police and the cargo ship Angelina, the ship was accessed for damages and luckily no fuel was leaked.
June: Whale Wars Season 2 premiere draws in 1.2 million viewers; Airing in the US on Friday, June 5th on Animal Planet and Premiering in Canada on Wednesday, June 10th on Animal Planet.
June: All charges are dropped in a Canadian court against Captain Watson for allegedly operating a Canadian-registered ship without a commercial license. Defense attorney Terry La Liberte was able to prove that Captain Watson upholds the law and furthermore keeps an unblemished record of never having a single criminal felony conviction or a conviction for a maritime related offense.
June: The tourist boat Evolution runs aground near Española in the south of Galápagos spilling an unknown amount of diesel into the frail waters.
June: Captain Paul Watson attends the 61st annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Madeira, Portugal, and announces our 6th Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign, Operation Waltzing Matilda.
June: The Ecuadorian Environmental Police, supported by the Galapagos National Park Service and the K9 Police Unit (which is supported by Sea Shepherd), raid a fisherman’s house on Santa Cruz Island and find 52 large shark fins. The same week, Environmental Police bust a lobster poacher and confiscate 176 illegally caught red and green lobsters on Isabela Island.
June: The commercial tuna boat Don Mario is caught illegally fishing inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The vessel was detected by the new satellite monitoring system which Sea Shepherd raised funding for, and the Don Mario was caught with tuna as well as sea turtles in its nets.
July: Performance artist Alice Newstead is hung from shark hooks in the window of Lush's store on Avenue General du LeClerc in Paris to raise awareness about the crime of shark finning.
July: A Sea Shepherd supporter offers officially-recognized geocaching coins, whose funds are donated to present and future wildlife conservation campaigns.
August: Modest Mouse releases music video for “King Rat,” directed by Heath Ledger (a Sea Shepherd Advisory Board Member), to support Sea Shepherd and to bring awareness to illegal whaling in Antarctica.
August: Captain Paul Watson presents the Environmentalist of the Year Award to freesurfer and activist David Rastovich at the 20th Annual SIMA Waterman's Ball held in Laguna Niguel, CA.
August: Charity Navigator awards Sea Shepherd with the coveted 4-start charity rating in recognition of outperforming 75% of US charities and for sound fiscal management.
September: Captain Alex Cornelissen and 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt are each fined $11,607 and forbidden to enter Canada for the “crime” of witnessing a seal hunt within 926 meters back in the spring of 2008.
September: The final phase of the Sea Shepherd-supported K-9 project is completed with all three islands of the Galapagos financed and the construction of the dog kennel on Isabela. Guides and dogs have been transported to the island and will commence their inspection on Isabela, which has the highest level of poaching in the Galapagos. Inspections are being carried out on all three islands at airports, in harbors, and during random checks in order to stop illegal poaching activities within this UN World Heritage Site.
October: Sea Shepherd unveils their newest ocean defense vessel: the Ady Gil, a trimaran that holds the world record for global circumnavigation and who is named after its benefactor, Mr. Ady Gil of Los Angeles, CA, who helped acquire the vessel.
October: Sea Shepherd is featured in a satirical South Park episode titled “Whale Whores”which aired on Comedy Central October 28, 2009.
November: With generous donations from ECWF, Marcel Wensveen, and LUSH Handmade Cosmetics, Sea Shepherd Galapagos has officially handed over a large amount of radio communication equipment to the National Police in Galapagos, making inter island communication possible which in turn will help protect the people and animals of the fragile Galapagos Islands.
December: Mayor Brad Pettitt of Fremantle presents our ship Steve Irwin with a plaque of the Fremantle Coat of Arms and the flag of Fremantle with a request that the Steve Irwin fly the city’s colors in the Southern Ocean which Captain Watson proudly agrees to do.
December: Our ships Steve Irwin and the Ady Gil depart for Antarctica in search of the Japanese whaling fleet while our newly-acquired ship Bob Barker secretly departs from Mauritius to locate and surprise the whaling fleet.
January – March: Three Sea Shepherd ships (Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, Ady Gil) navigate to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to intervene against illegal whaling activities by the Japanese. The Shonan Maru No. 2 deliberately rams and sinks the Ady Gil. Captain Peter Bethune boards the Shonan Maru No. 2 to deliver an invoice for the loss of his sunken boat which results in his transport to a Japanese prison. For three weeks straight, not a single whale is killed while the Sea Shepherd ships follow the whaling fleet. Operation Waltzing Matilda is a success resulting in saving the lives of 528 whales and costing the Japanese tens of millions of dollar in losses.
January: The Cove, a documentary highlighting the dolphin massacre in Taiji and featuring Sea Shepherd, wins the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
February: Sea Shepherd receives an additional €1 Million Euros from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery to support ongoing project to protect the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
February: The crew of the Bob Barker remove buoys and confiscates illegal gill nets in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
March: SeaShepherd Outreach Coordinator Zoli Teglas organizes a sting operation, recruiting Charles Hambleton from the Academy Award winning film “The Cove”, helping organize the covert purchase of a plate of sei whale meat. The Santa Monica restaurant, The Hump, closes its doors as a result of Sea Shepherd protests and the resulting public pressure.
April: Our vessel Steve Irwin recovers a FAD (Fish Aggregating Device) 3m x 2m wrapped in a black 12 meter long fishing net 400nm southeast of the Galapagos Islands World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.
April: Captain Watson speaks at the TED Conference in San Francisco where some of the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about.
May: A generous donation from LUSH Handmade Cosmetics enables Sea Shepherd to put a full-page ad in the local newspaper el Colono and run radio station ads raising awareness to the protection of sharks in the Galapagos Islands. Guidebooks for teachers are also being made in order to educate the local schoolchildren.
May: In Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands, Sea Shepherd organizes the conference titled “Criminal Environmental Law as a Conservation Tool in Galapagos and the Region”, where the Attorney General of Ecuador announces the designation of the first-ever prosecutor specialized in environmental law for the province of Galapagos. The Attorney General championed the signing the “Declaration of Galapagos,” in which the judicial authorities, army, and police agreed to initiatives aimed to strengthen the application of criminal environmental law in protected areas in Galapagos.
May: Captain Watson speaks at the ABC Courage Forum in NYC along with Richard Branson and Philippe Petit.
May: Scott West, former EPA investigator who was a whistleblower during the BP oil pipeline leak in Alaska’s North Slope and now lead investigator for Sea Shepherd, speaks to the media about how the Gulf Oil Spill could have been avoided.
June: The Steve Irwin patrols the waters of Malta looking for any illegal bluefin tuna poachers and continues to patrol the surrounding areas for the next month.
June: Animal Planet airs Whale Wars Season 3 in the United States on June 4th and in Canada on June 9th.
June:Sea Shepherd Galapagos launches an educational campaign to create awareness among local children and youth on the importance of sharks in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
June: Operation Blue Rage, Sea Shepherd’s first campaign to defend endangered Bluefin tuna, takes place in the Mediterranean.
June: Sea Shepherd frees 800 illegally caught Bluefin tuna from floating cages below Libya’s infamous line of death.
July: Operation Gulf Rescue begins in the Gulf of Mexico after the horrific BP oil spill
July: Whale Wars nominated for two Emmy Awards
July: Sea Shepherd sends an undercover operative to the Faeroe Islands to document the cruel Pilot whale slaughter known as the Grind.
September: Scott West along with his daughter Elora arrive in Taiji, Japan to stand as the first Cove Guardians and begin the first season of Operation Infinite Patience.
September: Sea Shepherd calls for the creation of a specialized judiciary on rights of nature in Galapagos
November: Sea Shepherd Challenges Pro-whaling nations to debate.
November: Sea Shepherd welcomes fast interceptor vessel, Gojira to the fleet. The Mayor of Fremantle, Brad Pettitt, christens the vessel.
December: Sea Shepherd ships depart for Operation No Compromise, the seventh Antarctic whale defense campaign.
December: Sea Shepherd Germany website launched.
December: The Bob Barker confiscates illegal poaching gear from the Southern Ocean’s Waters. Pulling up hundreds of feet of long lines.
December: Sea Shepherd intercepts the illegal Japanese whaling fleet before a single whale is killed.
January: Captain Watson’s offer to purchase enslaved dolphin Misty from Dolphin Base in Taiji, is rejected.
January: Through a classified U.S. State Department document quoting the Japanese Fisheries Agency, Wikileaks reveals that Sea Shepherd is a considered a serious threat by the illegal Japanese whaling fleet.
January: Gojira deploys weather balloons equipped with cameras and radar detection to track the Japanese whaling fleet.
January: Sea Shepherd ships intercept the Sun Laurel, the supply vessel for the Japanese whaling fleet
February: Sea Shepherd’s first outdoor advertising campaign is launched in Times Square in NYC. A large graphic depicting a breaching whale and a harpoon exploding into a whale’s back are featured on the CBS spectacular screen.
February: In what will become an on-going contribution, the Dutch Postcode Lottery donates one million Euros to Sea Shepherd.
February: After being tailed by the Bob Barker for nine days, the Japanese whaling fleet flees the Southern Ocean; Operation No Compromise is declared a victory.
February: The Steve Irwin assists in the search for missing Norwegian vessel Berserk. Sea Shepherd recovers the vessel’s life raft, however the Berserk is never found.
March: Gojira and crew are welcomed to Tahiti by the Minister for the Environment.
March: Members of Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian campaign witness the Tsunami in Japan. Campaign leader Scott West guides the crew to safety in Otsuchi.
April: Sea Shepherd awarded 4-star rating for the third consecutive year by Charity Navigator
May: The Steve Irwin is tailed by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden
May: Sea Shepherd Galapagos launches environmental law manual
May: Sea Shepherd vessel Gojira becomes the Brigitte Bardot, named after the dedicated animal rights activist.
May: Operation Blue Rage 2011 commences in the Mediterranean Sea.
June: Tunisian fishing vessels become hostile towards Sea Shepherd vessels throwing stones and steel chain links at the crew on deck. A French naval jet flies over several times to document the incident.
July: The Steve Irwin is detained in the Shetland Island after Maltese fishing company, Fish & Fish files a suit against Sea Shepherd in civil court for alleged damage to fishing gear caused during Operation Blue Rage.
July: The industrial fishing vessel Fer Mary is caught longlining in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. It is discovered to have the bodies of over 300 sharks onboard in what will become the biggest case of shark killing so far in the GMR.
July: The crew aboard the Brigitte Bardot discover a massive Pilot Whale graveyard in the Faeroe Islands where the whales are discarded after mass slaughters called grinds.
July: Operation Desert Seal begins in Namibia. Crews attempt to document and expose the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world, Cape Fur Seals. Crewmembers are robbed, harassed, and chased.
August: The Steve Irwin is released after Sea Shepherd supporters raise $735,000 to free the ship.
August: Sea Shepherd celebrates 25 years of being banned from International Whaling Commission Meetings.
August: Operation Ferocious Isles, Sea Shepherd’s Pilot whale defense campaign in the Faeroe Islands comes to an end with no Pilot Whales slaughtered while Sea Shepherd was present.
September: Operation Infinite Patience begins its second season as Cove Guardian arrive in Taiji.
September: Sea Shepherd representatives meet with Namibia’s Ombudsman to discuss the county’s annual seal slaughter at Cape Cross Seal Reserve
September: Sea Shepherd Galapagos participates in the apprehension of longliner Reina del Cisne inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
October: Sea Shepherd offers an $11,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of a Pilot Whale killer in New Jersey.
October: Sea Shepherd Galapagos completes the installation of AIS sites to help track fishing vessels in the marine reserve.
November: Cove Guardian Rosie Kunneke is harassed in Taiji. Police believe it was an attempted kidnapping.
November: Sea Shepherd Australia is instrumental in raising awareness to prevent a proposed shark cull in Western Australia.
November: Sea Shepherd launches skateboard line with Sector 9.
December: Sea Shepherd welcomes Sean Connery, pro surfer Stephanie Gilmore, and Simpson’s co-creator Sam Simon to the Board of Directors.
December: Armed with $30 million dollars in tsunami relief funds, the ICR files a lawsuit against Sea Shepherd in U.S. court. The goal is to keep Sea Shepherd ships from harassing the illegal whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.
December: Cellist Michael Goldschlager joins the Sea Shepherd Board of Advisors
December: Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen is arrested in Taiji for allegedly pushing a dolphin trainer. Erwin is later aquitted.
December: Operation Divine Wind, Sea Shepherd’s eighth Antarctic whale defense campaign kicks off as crews use drones to intercept the illegal Japanese whaling fleet.
December: The Brigitte Bardot is damaged by a rogue wave in the Southern Ocean and must be escorted back to Australia for repairs.
December: A Galapagos judge annuls the Fer Mary case, allowing the vessel and the defendants to go free.
January: Sea Shepherd receives approval from Australia to use drones to search for the whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.
January: Sea Shepherd assists Forest Rescue Australia in a complex and daring move to board the Shonan Maru #2 in the waters off Bunbury, Western Australia. The Australian government is slow to respond, forcing the activist to spend nearly a week onboard the Japanese security vessel.
January: Three crewmembers are injured in a skirmish with the Japanese whaling fleet when the illegal whalers toss a grappling hook at one of Sea Shepherd’s small boats.
January: The judge who annulled the Fer Mary case in the Galapagos is suspended.
January: After 40 days in jail, the trial for Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen begins in Wakayama, Japan.
January: Sea Shepherd offers $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of sea lion killers in Puget Sound.
January:The two-way radios used by Cove Guardians in Taiji are confiscated and banned by the Japanese Police. Cove Guardians are informed they are only allowed to use Japanese-made radios, which would allow the authorities to tap all radio transmissions.
February: Crewmember Beck Straussner is knocked from a jet ski into frigid Antarctic waters by a Japanese water canon.
February: U.S. District Court judge denies the ICR’s request for a temporary injunction against Sea Shepherd’s activities in the Southern Ocean.
February: After being held for 60 days and undergoing trial for false accusations of assault, Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen is found not guilty. The acquittal is considered unprecedented.
February: Sea Shepherd receives 900,000 Euro from the Dutch Postcode Lottery.
February: Led by Gary Stokes, Sea Shepherd visits the corporate headquarters of Hong Kong Airlines to confront the airline for transporting live dolphins to captive facilities. Shortly after airline officials ban the transport of wild animals.
February: After keeping the whaling fleet on the run for two months, the Bob Barker finds the Nisshin Maru.
March: Under the cover of darkness, the Japanese whaling ships the Yushin Maru 2 and 3 aggressively engage in an attack on the Bob Barker. Luckily no one is injured in the confrontation.
March: The illegal Japanese Whalers head home. Operation Divine Wind is a success as Sea Shepherd saves the lives of 768 whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
March: Cove Guardians are harassed and chased in vehicles by a group of Japanese Nationalists in Taiji.
March: U.S. District Court ruling allows state wildlife agencies in Oregon and Washington to kill 460 federally protected California Sea Lions.
March: Sea Shepherd Switzerland is instrumental in the banning of dolphin imports to the country.
April: Sea Shepherd France gathers with French citizens to oppose oil drilling in the south of France.
April: Sea Shepherd launches the first Dam Guardian campaign to defend California Sea Lions on the Columbia River. The campaign is in response to a court ruling allowing state wildlife agencies in Oregon and Washington to kill 460 federally protected California Sea Lions.
May: Captain Watson is arrested in Frankfurt, Germany on a warrant issued by Costa Rica.
May: Extradition process begins in Frankfurt for Captain Watson.
June: Sea Shepherd officially hands over the completed AIS system to Galapagos National Park.
June: Sea Shepherd UK wins lawsuit filed by Fish and Fish regarding the release of 800 illegally caught Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean.
July: Operation Requiem, Sea Shepherd’s campaign to defend sharks in the South Pacific begins. The campaign will focus on patrolling the waters for illegal activity and bringing awareness to local communities about the importance of shark conservation.
July: Bob Brown and Sea Shepherd Australia launch Operation Kimberley Miinimbi to oppose the construction of a large gas hub amidst the largest Humpback whale nursery in the world.
July: Captain Watson leaves Germany, skipping bail, after learning Japan is attempting to extradite him.
July: Sea Shepherd is invited to join Aerosmith on the west coast leg of their “Global Warming Tour”.
August: An Interpol red notice is issued for Captain Watson in response to Costa Rica’s politically motivated warrant for his arrest.
August: Operation Desert Seal II, Sea Shepherd’s covert campaign to end the slaughter of Cape Fur Seals at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve in Namibia, begins.
September: Sea Shepherd partners with the nation of Kiribati to patrol the Phoenix Islands to protect the South Pacific shark population.
September: Operation Infinite Patience 2012-2013 begins in Taiji, Japan as the first Cove Guardians arrive.
October: In a New York Times article, the ICR confirms that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society cost the illegal Japanese whalers $20.5 million in losses for the 2010-2011 whaling season in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
October: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal in Seattle, Washington hears appeal from the ICR. The Japanese whalers seek to keep Sea Shepherd ships from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The appeal comes as a result of ICR’s loss of a preliminary injunction they brought against Sea Shepherd in February of this year to try and prevent the organization’s whale defense fleet from protecting whales in Antarctica.
October: Six Bottlenose dolphins are taken from the waters around Taiji and placed in airline transport containers. The dolphins are believed to have landed or passed through Heathrow Airport in London. A stark reminder of the direct connection between the captive trade and the dolphin slaughter.
October: Captain Paul Watson becomes only the second person, after Captain Jacques Cousteau, to be honored with the Jules Verne Award, dedicated to environmentalists and adventurers.
October: Sea Shepherd announces the opening of the Southern Operations Base at Seaworks in Williamstown, Australia. The base will serve to prepare our ships and crew for vital marine conservation work.
October: The Dutch Postcode Lottery chooses to prolong their annual contribution to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for another five years.