Sea Shepherd History

Standing fast on the front lines of marine conservation since 1977

Sea Shepherd was founded in 1977 by Captain Paul Watson in Vancouver, Canada, with the mission to protect and conserve all marine wildlife. Incorporated in Oregon in 1981 as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, today the movement has independent entities in over 20 countries working together on direct-action campaigns around the world. In 2013 Sea Shepherd Global was established in Amsterdam to coordinate communications and logistics for the Sea Shepherd fleet on campaigns outside the USA.


July, 2019

Sea Shepherd partners with Namibia to Combat Fisheries Crime

Operation Vanguard launches in Namibia with Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) compliance officials onboard the Ocean Warrior to stop illegal factory trawlers on the Skeleton Coast.

July, 2019

Patrolling the Mediterranean for Operation Siso

Sea Shepherd returns to the Mediterranean Sea with the M/Y Sam Simon to protect Italian waters from illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Working in partnership with Italian authorities, this campaign known as Operation Siso focuses on the use of illegal drift nets and other deadly fishing gear around the Aeolian Islands in the South Tyrrhenian Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea off the west coast of Italy.

July, 2019

Sea Shepherd returns to patrol Africa’s largest Marine Protected Area

Operation Albacore launches its fourth campaign to defend Gabon’s newly established marine protected areas, to detect and deter IUU fishing activity while also monitoring legal compliance by licensed fishing operators, and to expand existing monitoring, control and surveillance measures.

May, 2019

News Sea Shepherd launches Operation Guegou with Eco-Benin and the Government of Benin

Sea Shepherd launches its partnership with the Benin government to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Gulf of Guinea, with Sea Shepherd crew and local nongovernmental organization (NGO) Eco-Benin working together with law enforcement agents representing the State Action on the Sea, the Navy of Benin and the Ministry of Fisheries on board the Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker.

April, 2019

Sixth Campaign for Operation Siracusa on the Italian Coast

Sea Shepherd voluteers return for the sixth year to protect the Plemmirio Marine Protected Area in Syracuse, Italy in partnership with the Italian Coast Guard.

March, 2019

Sea Shepherd helps clear four tons of marine debris on remote turtle nesting site

With the M/Y Bob Barker and the Jairo Mora Sandoval, Sea Shepherd and Cabo Verdean organization Biosfera partnered to clear four tons of plastic waste from a remote island in the West African island country of Cabo Verde that is also one of the world’s largest nesting areas for the vulnerable loggerhead sea turtle.

February, 2019

Sea Shepherd's M/Y Sam Simon arrives in France for Operation Dolphin ByCatch

Sea Shepherd’s campaign off the Atlantic Coast of France exposes the ongoing slaughter of dolphins by industrial fishing vessels in the Bay of Biscay. The ship joins Sea Shepherd's small boats, which had been patrolling the coast since February 11th under the direction of Sea Shepherd France.  


December, 2018

Japan announces the end of whaling in the Southern Ocean

On December 26th, 2018, the Japanese government announced that it will leave the IWC and that they will cease all whalign activities in Antarctica, a massive victory for the conservation movement that has been overshadowed in the media by the news that Japan will also “return” to commercial whaling in the waters surrounding Japan.

December, 2018

Sea Shepherd retires its flagship the Steve Irwin

After a decade of campaigns defending marine wildlife, from the Southern Ocean to the Faroe Islands, Sea Shepherd's flagship M/Y Steve Irwin was retired in Melbourne, Australia.

November, 2018

Sea Shepherd renews partnership with Liberia for Operation Sola Stella 3

In a joint operation with the Liberian Ministry of National Defense to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Republic of Liberia, West Africa, Sea Shepherd assisted the Liberian Coast Guard in the arrest of a foreign-flagged industrial trawler caught plundering artisanal fishing waters.


May, 2017

27 Members of Parliament Back Legal Action Against Denmark

With the formal support of 27 Members of the European Parliament, Sea Shepherd Netherlands submits a request to the European Commission to launch infringement proceedings against Denmark for facilitating the slaughter of pilot whales and other cetaceans in the Faroe Islands.

March, 2017

Shark Finning Investigation Revealed

Sea Shepherd Global releases findings of a three-month investigation verifying that large shipments of shark fin are still arriving in Hong Kong on airlines and shipping lines that have made ‘No Shark Fin’ carriage ban commitments.

February, 2017

Tackling IUU Fishing in Liberia

Sea Shepherd launches Operation Sola Stella in cooperation with the Liberian Ministry of National Defense to patrol Liberia’s waters to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

January, 2017

40 Years of Direct Action

Sea Shepherd celebrates its 40th anniversary with events at locations around the world including Los Angeles, Sydney, London, Paris, and Berlin.


December, 2016

11th Antarctic Anti-Whaling Campaign Begins

Operation Nemesis, Sea Shepherd’s 11th Whale Defense Campaign in the Southern Ocean is launched.

October, 2016

Great Australian Bight Saved From Oil Rig

Sea Shepherd Australia’s campaign Operation Jeedara is instrumental to stopping BP from drilling in the Great Australian Bight as part of the Great Australian Bight Alliance, a coalition of local environmental groups.

July, 2016

Custom-Built Ocean Warrior Revealed

Sea Shepherd Global launches the custom-built high-speed patrol vessel Ocean Warrior, a Dream Funds Project awarded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery. 

June, 2016

Third Mediterranean Illegal Fishing Campaign Begins

Sea Shepherd Global announces the launch of Operation Siracusa 2016; the third consecutive campaign to tackle poaching and illegal fishing in the Plemmirio Marine Reserve on the east coast of Syracuse, Italy.

June, 2016

Operation Bloody Fjords Launched

Operation Bloody Fjords is launched, focusing on judicial, economic and media pressure to bring an end to the pilot whale hunts of the Faroe Islands.

May, 2016

Operation Jeedara Launched

As part of The Great Australian Bight Alliance, Sea Shepherd Australia launches Operation Jeedara, in order to highlight the importance of the Great Australian Bight and rally community pressure to oppose BP’s deep water drilling plans.

April, 2016

Operation Albacore Commences in Gabon

Launch of Operation Albacore, in partnership with the governments of Gabon and Sao Tomé & Principe to patrol both countries' Exclusive Economic Zones for IUU fishing.

March, 2016

Operation Driftnet Shuts Down Fleet of Driftnet Poachers

Operation Driftnet launched; succeeds in shutting down entire fleet of illegal driftnet poachers.


December, 2015

Operation Icefish II Commences

Operation Icefish II commences, with the Steve Irwin departing Williamstown, Australia to shut down the remainder of the ‘Bandit 6” poaching fleet. It succeeds, culminating with the Indonesian government scuttling the Viking.

November, 2015

Sea Shepherd USA announces Operation Milagro II

Sea Shepherd USA announces Operation Milagro II to defend the critically-endangered vaquita porpoise in the Sea of Cortez (Mexico)

July, 2015

Operation Mare Nostrum Launched

Sea Shepherd France launches Operation Mare Nostrum to clean up ocean plastics and remove dangerous ghost nets from the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of France, Italy and Spain.

July, 2015

Documenting Endangered Fin Whale Meat in Norway

The Sam Simon stops in the northern port of Tromsø, Norway to document a shipment of endangered Fin whale meat being shipped to Japan. The Norwegian navy board to inspect the Sam Simon then allow it to leave.

June, 2015

IWC Rejects Whaling Program

The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) rejected Japan’s proposed NEWREP-A whaling program, demanding more information to clarify uncertainties about the program’s scientific objectives.

June, 2015

Sea Shepherd USA Acquires Two New Ships

Sea Shepherd USA acquires two decommissioned US Coast Guard Patrol Ships, naming them the Farley Mowat and the Jules Verne.

May, 2015

Second Operation Siracusa Campaign Launched in Italy

Following on from the incredibly successful 2014 campaign, Sea Shepherd Global launches Operation Siracusa 2015. Led by Sea Shepherd Italia, the campaign aims to defend the fragile ecosystem of the Plemmirio Marine Reserve, off the eastern coast of Siracusa in Sicily, against illegal fishing.

April, 2015

Operation Sleppid Grindini Kicks Off in the Faroes

Operation Sleppid Grindini sees Martin Sheen, Ross McCall, Pamela Anderson and German actress Anne Menden support Sea Shepherd’s campaign and calls for Faroe Islands to end the whale hunt.

March, 2015

Operation Milagro Launched to Protect the Vaquita

Sea Shepherd USA launches Operation Milagro to defend the critically-endangered vaquita porpoise in the Sea of Cortez (Mexico)

January, 2015

Dutch Postcode Lottery Awards €8.3m for Custom Ship

Sea Shepherd Global is awarded €8.3 million Euros from the Dutch Postcode Lottery to build a Southern Ocean Patrol Ship to protect the Antarctic whale sanctuary.


December, 2014

Record-Breaking Operation Icefish Commences

Operation Icefish is launched with the Sam Simon and Bob Barker, to shut down IUU fishing by the “Bandit 6” in the Southern Ocean, and embark on the longest chase in maritime history of 110 days following the Thunder.

June, 2014

Pamela Anderson and Ross McCall Join Sea Shepherd in the Faroes

In the Faroe Islands, Operation Grindstop commences with Pamela Anderson and Ross McCall coming to the Faroes to lend support to the campaign. Volunteers are arrested when attempting to interfere with the Grind, and several small boats are seized.

May, 2014

Operation Siracusa launched in Italy

Sea Shepherd Italia launches the first Operation Siracusa to protect sea urchins and the endangered dusky grouper from poachers in the Protected Marine Area of the Parco del Plemmirio, off the Eastern coast of Syracuse, Sicily.

April, 2014

Court Win for the Whales at the ICJ

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announce their binding decision in the landmark case of Australia v. Japan, ruling that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and ordering that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked.

March, 2014

Operation Relentless Concludes

Operation Relentless concludes, with Sea Shepherd locating the Nisshin Maru on a record four separate occasions. The whaling fleet’s operations were hampered by Sea Shepherd’s continual pursuit, which included twice exposing the whalers in the process of butchering protected Minke Whales, poached from the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

January, 2014

Jairo Mora Sandoval Unveiled for Operation Sunu Gaal

Sea Shepherd Global unveils the new vessel Jairo Mora Sandoval and launches Operation Sunu Gaal to patrol Senegal’s Exclusive Economic Zone for illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.


December, 2013

Ships Depart for Tenth Antarctic Defence Campaign

The Steve Irwin, Sam Simon and Bob Barker depart Australia for Sea Shepherd’s tenth Antarctic Defence Campaign, Operation Relentless.

September, 2013

Operation Grindstop Launched

In response to the slaughter of over 1,600 pilot whales in just 63 day in the Faroe Islands, Sea Shepherd announces Operation Grindstop 2014.

July, 2013

Sea Shepherd Global Established in The Netherlands

Based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Sea Shepherd Global is established naming Captain Alex Cornelissen as CEO.

May, 2013

Tenth Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign Announced

Sea Shepherd Australia announces Operation Relentless, the tenth Antarctic anti-whaling campaign, to take place in the Austral 2013-2014 summer.

March, 2013

Biggest Antarctic Whale Defense Success Ever

Operation Zero Tolerance comes to a close as the most successful campaign to date, with the Japanese whalers returning home with the lowest kill ever.

February, 2013

Supreme Court Application Against ICR

Sea Shepherd USA files application to the Supreme Court against the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR). The application is in response to the 9th District injunction which preliminarily enjoins Sea Shepherd U.S. from navigating “dangerously” and “physically attacking” or coming within 500 yards of ICR’s whaling vessels.

February, 2013

Bob Barker Rammed by Nisshin Maru

During a confrontation in the Southern ocean where Sea Shepherd was blocking a refueling operation by the Japanese factory vessel, Nisshin Maru, two Sea Shepherd ships are rammed, causing significant damage to the Bob Barker. The ramming of the Bob Barker between the 8,000 ton Nisshin Maru and the fuel tanker Sun Laurel resulted in a complete loss of power and mayday call from Bob Barker’s Captain Peter Hammarstedt.


December, 2012

Denmark Challenged in EC

Sea Shepherd challenges Denmark in the European Commission regarding pilot whale slaughter in the Danish Faroe Islands, citing the Bern Convention, Bonn Convention and Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas.

November, 2012

Biggest Antarctic Anti-Whaling Campaign Yet

Sea Shepherd commences Operation Zero Tolerance, the ninth Southern Ocean anti-whaling campaign featuring its biggest fleet yet: including four ships, a helicopter, eight small RHIB’s, three drones and more than one hundred international volunteers.

October, 2012

Sea Shepherd Opens Australian Base

Sea Shepherd announces the opening of the Southern Operations Base in Williamstown, Australia.

October, 2012

ICR Confirms Sea Shepherd Caused $20.5m in Losses

In a New York Times article, the Institute of Cetacean Research 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.

September, 2012

Sea Shepherd Returns to Taiji

Operation Infinite Patience 2012-2013 begins in Taiji, Japan as the first Cove Guardians arrive.

August, 2012

Namibian Cape Fur Seal Defense

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.

August, 2012

INTERPOL Red Notice Issued

An Interpol red notice is issued for Captain Watson in response to Costa Rica’s politically motivated warrant for his arrest.

July, 2012

Captain Watson Skips Bail on Extradition Attempt

Captain Watson leaves Germany, skipping bail, after learning Japan is attempting to extradite him.

June, 2012

Sam Simon Purchases Japanese Vessel for Sea Shepherd

The Simpsons co-founder Sam Simon funds the purchase of the Seifu Maru, a former vessel of the Japanese government used to collect data for Japan’s North Pacific whaling fleet. Sea Shepherd renames the ship Sam Simon in his honor.

June, 2012

Court Win For Tuna

Sea Shepherd UK wins lawsuit filed by Fish & Fish regarding Sea Shepherd’s release of 800 illegally caught Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean.

May, 2012

Captain Watson Arrested in Germany

Captain Watson is arrested in Frankfurt, Germany on a warrant issued by Costa Rica. Extradition process begins in Frankfurt.

March, 2012

768 Whales Saved in Antarctica

Operation Divine Wind comes to a successful conclusion, as Sea Shepherd saves the lives of 768 whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

February, 2012

Hong Kong Airlines Ban Transport of Dolphins

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.

January, 2012

Ninth District Court Injunction

An injunction is issued by the Ninth Circuit court in the United States that prohibits Sea Shepherd USA, Paul Watson, and all its employees from coming within 500 yards of the Japanese whale poaching vessels. In order to continue Operation Zero Tolerance, Captain Paul Watson steps down from Sea Shepherd USA and Australia, as well as his position as captain of the Steve Irwin. Captain Siddharth Chakravarty takes over the Steve Irwin, and Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director Jeff Hansen and Australian former Greens Party senator, Bob Brown take over as leaders of Operation Zero Tolerance.


December, 2011

Eighth Antarctic Anti-Whaling Campaign Begins

Operation Divine Wind, Sea Shepherd’s eighth Antarctic whale defense campaign is launched. The Brigitte Bardot is damaged by a rogue wave in the Southern Ocean and must be escorted back to Australia for repairs. Sea Shepherd receives approval from Australia to use drones to search for the whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.

November, 2011

Saving Sharks in Australia

Sea Shepherd Australia is instrumental in raising awareness to prevent a proposed shark cull in Western Australia.

September, 2011

Second Year in Taiji

Operation Infinite Patience begins its second season as Cove Guardians arrive in Taiji.

July, 2011

Steve Irwin Detained

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. The Steve Irwin is released in August after Sea Shepherd supporters raise $735,000 to free the ship.

July, 2011

Faroe Islands Whale Defense

The Faroe Islands whale defense campaign Operation Ferocious Isles is launched, and runs until August with no pilot whales slaughtered in the Faroe Islands while Sea Shepherd was present.

May, 2011

Mediterranean Tuna Defense

Operation Blue Rage 2011 commences in the Mediterranean Sea.

May, 2011

Gojira Becomes Brigitte Bardot

The Gojira is renamed Brigitte Bardot, named after the dedicated animal rights activist.

February, 2011

Another Anti-Whaling Success in Antarctica

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.


December, 2010

Seventh Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign

Sea Shepherd ships depart for Operation No Compromise, the seventh Antarctic whale defense campaign. The Bob Barker confiscates illegal poaching gear from the Southern Ocean’s Waters, including hundreds of feet of long lines, and Sea Shepherd intercepts the illegal Japanese whaling fleet before a single whale is killed.

November, 2010

New Ship Gojira Announced

Sea Shepherd welcomes fast interceptor vessel, Gojira to the fleet.

September, 2010

First Cove Guardians Stand in Taiji

 Sea Shepherd crew arrive in Taiji, Japan to stand as the first Cove Guardians and begin the first season of Operation Infinite Patience.

July, 2010

Undercover in the Faroes

Sea Shepherd sends an undercover operative to the Faroe Islands to document the cruel pilot whale slaughter known as the Grindadráp.

July, 2010

Sea Shepherd Responds to Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Operation Gulf Rescue begins in the Gulf of Mexico in response to BP’s catastrophic oil spill.

June, 2010

Steve Irwin Hunts Tuna Poachers

The Steve Irwin patrols the waters of Malta looking for illegal bluefin tuna poachers and continues to patrol the surrounding areas for the next month. Operation Blue Rage, Sea Shepherd’s first campaign to defend endangered Bluefin tuna, takes place in the Mediterranean.

January, 2010

Taiji Documentary Wins Oscar

The Cove, a documentary highlighting the dolphin massacre in Taiji and featuring Sea Shepherd, wins the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

January, 2010

Antarctic Campaign Saves 528 Whales

The Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, and Ady Gil navigate to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for Operation Waltzing Matilda to intervene against illegal whaling activities. 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. Operation Waltzing Matilda is a success, resulting in saving the lives of 528 whales and costing the Japanese whaling fleet tens of millions of dollar in losses.


December, 2009

Sixth Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign Commences

The Steve Irwin and the Ady Gil depart for Antarctica on Operation Waltzing Matilda in search of the Japanese whaling fleet while the newly-acquired Bob Barker secretly departs from Mauritius to locate and surprise the whaling fleet.

October, 2009

Bob Barker Purchases Former Norwegian Whaling Ship

Thanks to a $5,000,000 contribution from American television personality and icon Bob Barker, Sea Shepherd was able to purchase and refit a former Norwegian whaling ship, to be named Bob Barker.

October, 2009

New Ship Ady Gil Unveiled

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 who helped acquire the vessel.

September, 2009

Crew Fined for "Crime" of Witnessing Seal Slaughter

Captain Alex Cornelissen and 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt are each fined $11,607 and forbidden to enter Canada for their 2008 “crime” of witnessing a seal hunt within 926 meters.

June, 2009

6th Antarctic Anti Whaling Campaign Announced

Sea Shepherd’s 6th Antarctic whale defense campaign, Operation Waltzing Matilda, is announced.

June, 2009

Charges Dropped Against Captain Watson

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.


December, 2008

Antarctic Whale Defense Success

Operation Musashi launches to protect whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, intervenes against the illegal Japanese whaling fleet and saves the lives of 305 whales.

October, 2008

Permanent Base Established in Galapagos

Sea Shepherd Galapagos helps to establish a permanent floating base at Darwin and Wolf Islands, to guard against poachers on a continuous basis.

June, 2008

Operation Musashi Announced at IWC Meeting

Captain Watson attends the International Whaling Commission meeting in Santiago, Chile, along with former Australian Minister for the Environment and Whaling Commissioner, Sea Shepherd Advisory Board member Ian Campbell. Sea Shepherd announces Operation Musashi, the return to the Southern Ocean to once again intervene against illegal Japanese whaling in December 2008.

April, 2008

Crew Arrested in Canada for Observing Seal Slaughter

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 bail that Captain Watson posts in Canadian $2 coins. The ship is held and placed under 24 hour armed guard until the trial, which is 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.

March, 2008

Sea Shepherd's K-9 Unit Established

Sea Shepherd organizes a K-9 unit in partnership with the Ecuadorian National Police to detect smuggled shark fins and sea cucumbers at ports and airports.

February, 2008

Steve Irwin Discovers Toothfish Poachers in Antarctica

The Steve Irwin and crew discover, document and report the activities of illegal Patagonian toothfish poachers off the coast of Antarctica, inside the Australian Antarctic territorial limits.

January, 2008

Crew Arrested, yet Operation Migaloo a Success

The Steve Irwin voyages twice to the coast of Antarctica to disrupt illegal Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Two Sea Shepherd crew board a Japanese harpoon boat, are detained for three days and then released. The Japanese Coast Guard throws concussion grenades and fires upon Sea Shepherd crew. Operation Migaloo concludes with over 500 whales saved, and a large loss of profits for the Japanese fleet.


December, 2007

Robert Hunter Renamed Steve Irwin, Departs for Antarctica

The Robert Hunter is renamed the Steve Irwin, and departs Melbourne, Australia, on Operation Migaloo, to intercept and obstruct illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

June, 2007

45,000 Shark Fins Seized by Sea Shepherd

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.

February, 2007

Third Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign

The Robert Hunter joins the Farley Mowat in the Ross Sea for the third Whale Defense Campaign, locating the Japanese whaling fleet in February. Sea Shepherd chases and disrupts the activities of the Nisshin Maru, shutting down their operations. Two Sea Shepherd crew are temporarily lost when heavy fog moves in but are located and rescued 8 hours later. The Japanese vessel Kaiko Maru rams the Robert Hunter twice causing damage to the hull.


October, 2006

Purchase of the Robert Hunter

Sea Shepherd purchases a Scottish Fisheries Patrol vessel and renames it Robert Hunter in honor of the man who was a journalist, co-founder of Greenpeace, friend of Captain Watson, and Sea Shepherd Advisory Board member.

January, 2006

Ramming the Oriental Bluebird

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. Afterwards, the Farley Mowat is detained by South African authorities due to pressure by the Japanese government.


December, 2005

First Antarctic Anti-Whaling Success

The Farley Mowat leaves Melbourne, Australia en route to the Southern Ocean to search for the Japanese fleet for the second Whale Defense Campaign. On December 25th, the Farley Mowat intercepts and chases the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru for three thousand miles along the Antarctic coast. The Nisshin Maru stops whaling activities and flees.

August, 2005

Galapagos Office Opens

Sea Shepherd opens a permanent office in the Galapagos and extends the agreement with the Galapagos National Park (GNP) to assist in the patrols of the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve.

February, 2005

Violence Against Sea Shepherd in the Gulf of St Lawrence

Farley Mowat enters the Gulf of St. Lawrence to intervene against the slaughter of seal pups. A Sea Shepherd crew member 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.


January, 2004

Farley Mowat Patrols the Galapagos

The Farley Mowat patrols the Galapagos National Park, intercepting and assisting in the arrest of a Costa Rican longliner, an Ecuadorian gillnetter, and an Ecuadorian- and American-owned tuna seiner.


October, 2003

Sea Shepherd Exposes Taiji Dolphin Hunt

Sea Shepherd crew document illegal capture and slaughter of dolphins in the Solomon Islands and Taiji, Japan, bringing international media attention to the slaughter. Allison Lance and Alex Cornelissen are arrested after diving into the bay at Taiji, in order to cut the nets to release 15 dolphins awaiting slaughter. Both spend three weeks in jail before being released.


December, 2002

First Antarctic Anti-Whaling Campiagn

The Farley Mowat travels to Antarctica in an unsuccessful attempt to locate the Japanese whaling fleet on Sea Shepherd’s first Southern Ocean Whale Defense Campaign.

April, 2002

Costa Rica Orders Captain Watson Arrested

The Ocean Warrior catches the Costa Rican longliner Varadero I poaching off the coast of Guatemala. Guatemalan authorities give Captain Watson permission to escort the poacher into San Jose, Guatemala. When the Varadero I attempts to flee, the Ocean Warrior deploys fire hoses and the Varadero I accidentally strikes the hull of the Ocean Warrior, causing some damage to the poacher. The next morning, the Port Captain of San Jose informs Captain Watson that he would be arresting the Ocean Warrior for using force against the Varadero I. Captain Watson releases the Varadero I and proceeds on to Costa Rica, where he is charged with attempted murder and destruction of property based on accusations from the crew of the Varadero I. Captain Watson presents video evidence disputing the claims, the charges are dropped and Captain Watson is released. Ten days later another prosecutor and another judge have reopened the case after pressure 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, eludes police to return to his ship, and departs Costa Rican waters.

March, 2002

Sea Shepherd Given Authority to Patrol Costa Rica

Sea Shepherd signs 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.

January, 2002

Seal Wars published

Paul Watson publishes Seal Wars, Twenty-Five Years on the Front Lines with the Harp Seals


August, 2001

Ocean Warrior Apprehends Longliner

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. Found guilty, the San Jose is ordered confiscated by the courts.

August, 2001

Exposing Ecuadorian Corruption

Sea Shepherd secures evidence of corruption in the Ecuadorian Navy and releases it to the public. As a result, when the Ocean Warrior stops in the Galapagos to re-supply the Sirenian, the Ecuadorian Navy places the Ocean Warrior under guard and then orders the ship to depart from the Galapagos.

August, 2001

Sirenian Seizes Longliners in the Galapagos

The Sea Shepherd patrol vessel Sirenian seizes four longliners and two commercial shark-finning boats caught inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve, and closes down a sea cucumber poaching camp.

July, 2001

Exposing Whaling in St Lucia

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 a campaign against the Caribbean nations which vote with Japan at the IWC in exchange for "fisheries aid." St. Lucia receives more than 400 cancellations of resort bookings as a result.


July, 2000

Ocean Warrior in the Faroes

The Ocean 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 against those companies still purchasing seafood from the Faeroes, and over 20,000 European retail outlets terminated their Faeroese fish contracts at Sea Shepherd's request.

April, 2000

Anti-Poaching in Brazil

Sea Shepherd Brazil signs an agreement with the State of Rio Grande du Sol in Brazil to conduct anti-poaching patrols along the nation's southern coast.


May, 1999

Sirenian Siezed Over Makah Whaling

Sea Shepherd returns to Neah Bay, Washington, in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the Makah from killing gray whales. Numerous activists are arrested and the Sirenian is seized by the U.S. Coast Guard.


September, 1998

A Win for the Whales Over "Cultural" Whaling.

At the urging of the commercial whaling industries of Norway and Japan, the Makah Indian tribe claims a right to resume whale hunting guaranteed in their 1855 treaty with the U.S., which is granted an exception to the worldwide moratorium on whaling 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, arrests, and 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.

March, 1998

Sea Shepherd III Protects Seals in Canada

With mortalities from the Canadian sealing industry reaching 500,000, the Sea Shepherd III makes the voyage to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as the first conservation vessel at Canada's annual wildlife slaughter since 1983. The visit attracts international journalists to the hunt, and wards sealers off from the main seal nursery.


October, 1997

Opposing Indigenous Whaling at the IWC

Sea Shepherd attends the International Whaling Commission in Monaco with U.S. Congressman Jack Metcalf (R-WA) and a delegation of Makah tribal elders, to give voice to the strong opposition to the Makah's request for permission to start hunting Gray whales.

September, 1997

Sea Shepherd III Stops Italian Driftnetting

The Sea Shepherd III makes her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean to intervene against ongoing illegal driftnetting there. Italy's driftnetters, the primary offenders, immediately announce they will halt the practice.

March, 1997

Captain Watson Arrested for Scuttling Whaling Ship

Captain Watson is arrested on a Norwegian Interpol warrant for a conviction in absentia for the sinking of the outlaw whaler Nybraena in 1992. He is held for one day and released by the Bremen prosecutor who rules that the warrant contains contradictory information. Concerned that the Norwegian warrant would hinder his travel in Europe, Captain Watson turns himself in for arrest in the Netherlands on April 2nd. Supporters protest at Norwegian and Dutch embassies worldwide. Following a hearing, Norway's extradition request is denied, and Captain Watson is freed after spending 90 days in jail.


January, 1996

Non-Lethal Seal Fur, Sea Shepherd III

Sea Shepherd returns to the Gulf of St. Lawrence one year after the sealer’s attack with a bedding company interested in commercializing baby seal fur. They successfully gather baby harp seal fur without incident. Canada kills 250,000 seals.

Sea Shepherd purchases a British-registered, Norwegian-built trawler, renaming it Sea Shepherd III and repairs and refit work begin in Edinburgh, Scotland. In December, the British Ministry of Fisheries hires Sea Shepherd crew to guard their patrol boats over the holidays.


August, 1995

Protecting California Gray Whales From Death By "Cultural Values"

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." 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.

January, 1995

Sea Lions of San Francisco Saved

Sea Shepherd negotiates an agreement with the City of San Francisco, preventing the cull of Californian sea lions.


July, 1994

Whales Forever Attacked by Norwegian Navy

Whales Forever confronts illegal whaling operations off the northern coast of Norway, provoking extensive media coverage in Europe. The Norwegian Naval vessel Andenes intercepts and attacks the Whales Forever and causes considerable damage to the ship. After a fundraising tour in Germany, Whales Forever is sold in Florida, with funds set aside for the purchase of a new ship

January, 1994

Ocean Warrior Published

Paul Watson's book Ocean Warrior, My Battle to End the Illegal Slaughter on the High Seas is published.

January, 1994

Scuttling the Senet

A Sea Shepherd team scuttles the illegally operated Norwegian whaling vessel Senet in southern Norway. An investigation revealed that the vessel had just returned from smuggling a new engine in from Denmark, and the owner was fined accordingly. There were no charges brought against Sea Shepherd by Norway for the sinking.


January, 1993

Earthforce! Published

Paul Watson's book Earthforce! An Earth Warrior's Guide to Strategy is published.


December, 1992

Scuttling Illegal Norwegian Whalers

After months of surveillance, Captain Watson leads a team to Norway to search for illegal Norwegian whaling vessels. Dwight Worker engineers the scuttling of the Norwegian whaler Nybraena at dockside in the Lofoten Islands on December 26th.

September, 1992

Sea Shepherd II Retires

After ten years of service, the Sea Shepherd II has become too costly to maintain and is retired on Vancouver Island. Sea Shepherd purchases a Japanese-built, Taiwanese-registered driftnetter to be outfitted as a decoy to infiltrate driftnetting fleets.

February, 1992

Evicting Poachers in Costa Rica

The Sea Shepherd II and the Edward Abbey evict poachers in Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica. The ships then intervene against tuna seiners killing dolphins in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, and cut and confiscate the nets of a Japanese driftnet fleet in the mid-Northern Pacific Ocean.


December, 1991

Intercepting the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria for the First Nations

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, with the objective is to intercept the Quincentennial voyage of Christopher Columbus’ fleet, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. En route the crew stops at San Salvador Island to reclaim it for the First Nations. 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.

July, 1991

Sea Shepherd II joins Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard

Sea Shepherd II is given a reception and made an official auxiliary to the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard for its efforts against illegal Taiwanese longliners. After assisting in investigating and exposing the bribery of Trinidadian government officials by the Taiwanese fishing industry, the politicians taking the bribes are arrested.

January, 1991

Rescuing Dolphins from Tuna Seiner in Guatemala

Off the coast of Guatemala, the Sea Shepherd II discovers the Mexican tuna seiner Tungui with its 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.


August, 1990

Battling Driftnetters in North Pacific

Sea Shepherd works with a marine biologist and a physicist to find a method for sinking driftnet without ecological damage. The Sea Shepherd II departs from Seattle to search for driftnet fleets in the North Pacific, and rams two Japanese driftnet vessels and sinks sixty miles of monofilament driftnet, costing the Japanese in excess of two million dollars. Despite Sea Shepherd video documentation of the action shown worldwide, the official Japanese response is that "nothing happened”.


August, 1989

Protecting Dolphins in Central America

Sea Shepherd II intercepts Venezuelan tuna seiners Puntarenas, Costa Rica with evidence of dolphin killing, and chases numerous Mexican tuna boats away from pods of dolphins in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.


November, 1988

The Divine Wind is sold to pay for a complete overhaul of the Sea Shepherd II

March, 1988

Evidence of US Vessel Killing Dolphins

When a Sea Shepherd agent documents the killing of dolphins by a United States tuna seiner, the footage is released to the public in addition to film taken by the Earth Island Institute on board a Panamanian tuna seiner. The footage scandalizes the tuna industry and contributes to the ban on dolphin killing by U.S. tuna companies.


August, 1987

Sea Shepherd Acquires Divine Wind

With the Sea Shepherd II in Britain and in need of repairs, in June Sea Shepherd acquires a Japanese skip-jack tuna vessel renamed Divine Wind, for anti-driftnet campaigns in the North Pacific Aleutian Islands. They document "ghost nets" in Amchitka and Attu, and removes many miles of driftnet material on the expedition.


November, 1986

Shutting Down Icelandic Whaling

Sea Shepherd activists take action against illegal Icelandic whaling operations by sinking of two of Iceland's four whaling ships in Reykjavik harbor. They also destroy the whale processing station at Hvalfjörður, effectively shutting down Icelandic commercial whaling activities for the next 16 years.

July, 1986

Anti-whaling Campaign in Faroe Islands

After attending the June meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Malmo, Sweden, the Sea Shepherd II departs for the Danish Faroe Islands to document and obstruct the Faroese pilot whale hunt. Captain Watson sends in a team of five crewmembers to meet with the government, who are arrested and held without charges. The Sea Shepherd II refuses to depart from Faroese waters until the crew is released. The Faroese respond by attacking with rifle fire and tear gas. Captain Watson defends the ship with water cannons and cannons loaded with chocolate and lemon pie-filling. The Faroese attackers are humiliatingly slimed with goo and the Sea Shepherd II escapes with documentation of whaling activities and a dramatic confrontation filmed and aired in a BBC produced award-winning documentary Black Harvest.


February, 1984

Confronting Aerial Wolf Hunters in Canada

Without a ship, Captain Watson and his crew launch a high-profile land-based campaign 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 national news. Captain Watson and Robert Hunter publish "Cry Wolf!" exposing the corruption behind the government's wolf eradication programs. The publicity forces the resignation of the British Columbian Minister of the Environment, Anthony Brummett.


March, 1983

Sea Shepherd II Confiscated in Canada

Sea Shepherd II blockades the harbor at St. John's, Newfoundland, and prevents the Canadian sealing fleet from leaving for two weeks, then moves to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and escorts sealing ships away from the harp seal nursery. RCMP and Canadian Coast Guard units ram and board the Sea Shepherd II in a tear-gas assault, arresting Captain Watson and nineteen crewmembers. The Sea Shepherd II is confiscated and Captain Watson is fined $75,000 and sentenced to 15 months in prison for conspiracy to violate the Seal Protection Act, and another 6 months for approaching within a half a nautical mile of a seal hunt. Captain Watson is ordered to not communicate in any manner, with any journalist, anywhere in the world, on any subject for a period of three years, and 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. However, the Quebec Court of Appeal releases both men nine days later and in January 1984 rules in favor of Captain Watson and the crew of the Sea Shepherd II, dropping all charges. The Canadian government appeals the decision and maintains possession of the Sea Shepherd II.


September, 1982

Confronting Soviet Whalers

Captain Jet Johnson (a former Canadian Air Force fighter) pilots a plane for Paul Watson and Carroll Vogel to drop sixteen large light bulbs full of red paint -- and a message in Russian protesting the illegal kill of whales by the Soviets -- onto the deck of a Soviet spy ship off the coast of Washington State. Paul Watson was the only one arrested and charged with the dangerous operation of an aircraft despite not being the pilot, but the charges were dismissed when the Russians failed to appear as witnesses.

March, 1982

Saving Dolphins at Iki Island

Sea Shepherd II prepares for a campaign to stop the slaughter of dolphins at Iki Island, Japan. To avoid a confrontation, the Japanese government invites Captain Watson to Iki Island for three days of negotiations with the local fishermen, who eventually agree to end the slaughter of dolphins at Iki Island.


April, 1981

Official Charity Registration of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Portland, Oregon

March, 1981

Return to Canadian Seal Hunt

Despite a court order from 1980 barring Captain Watson from going near the Canadian sea hunt, he leads a crew with three ocean kayaks to the Gulf of St. Lawrence to spray hundreds of seals with harmless blue dye. After Captain Watson defies Canada to arrest him, his conviction of 1980 is overturned on appeal.


October, 1980

The Purchase of Sea Shepherd II

Captain Watson options the movie rights to the Sea Shepherd and Sierra story to Warner Brothers and raises enough money to purchase another Yorkshire trawler in Britain which would become Sea Shepherd II.

September, 1980

The End of Illegal Whaling in the Atlantic

In response to the worldwide publicity of the sinking 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, and all illegal whaling operations in the Atlantic cease.

April, 1980

Sea Shepherd Goes After More Pirates

Sea Shepherd is responsible for the sinking of two Spanish pirate whalers which had been violating whaling quotas, the Ibsa I and Ibsa II, in Vigo, Spain. After Sea Shepherd posts reward posters all over the waterfront of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands offering a $25,000 bounty on the outlaw whaler Astrid, the pirate ship’s owners are unable to trust their own crew and retire the vessel.
February, 1980

The Sinking of the Sierra

After the Sierra Trading Company spends over one million dollars to repair the Sierra, the whaling ship is scuttled in port by members of Sea Shepherd without injuries to her crew, thus permanently ending the career of the world's most ruthless illegal whaling ship.


July, 1979

Hunting Down a Pirate Whaling Ship

Sea Shepherd hunts down one of the world’s most notorious pirate whalers, the Sierra in Leixoes, Portugal. After ramming and disabling it, Captain Watson surrenders to the Portuguese Navy. The story makes headlines worldwide and exposes the operations of the pirate whalers and their Japanese and Norwegian connections. The Port Captain rules that there will be no charges against the Sea Shepherd crew, but the ship is seized and held until Captain Watson and Chief Engineer Peter Woof scuttle the ship on New Year's Eve in Leixoes harbor to prevent it from being handed over to the whalers’ Sierra Trading Company.

March, 1979

The First Sea Campaign

In March, the Sea Shepherd becomes the first ship to go to the ice for the purpose of protecting seals on the Eastern Coast of Canada. Before Captain Watson and his crew are arrested, they save over a thousand baby seals by spraying their white pelts with an indelible organic dye to render them commercially worthless.


November, 1978

Sea Shepherd acquires its first ship

Cleveland Amory of the Fund for Animals and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) provide funds to purchase the British trawler Westella, renamed Sea Shepherd, to be used on the first campaign opposing the Canadian Seal Hunt.

February, 1978

The first campaign

The first Earthforce campaign is launched to protect elephants from poachers in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Uganda, and the Sudan).


June, 1977

Captain Watson Establishes Sea Shepherd

After parting ways with Greenpeace, where he was one of the founding members in 1971, Paul Watson establishes the precursor to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, called the Earthforce Environmental Society, in Vancouver, Canada.