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History Defending Fish

 

 

1987
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.

 

1988
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.

 

1989
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.

 

1990
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: TheSea 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."

 

1991
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.

December 20th, 1991: The United Nations General Assembly approves Resolution 46/215 banning driftnet fishing worldwide as of January 1993.

 

1992
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.

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 Abbey is 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: 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.

 

1993
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 Cuban. 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.

 

1995
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.

July: The Sea Shepherd vessel Sireniangoes 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.

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."

 

1997
October: The Sea Shepherd III makes her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean, announcing the Society's intention to intervene against ongoing illegal driftnet ting there. Italy's driftnetters, the primary offenders, immediately announce they will halt the practice.

 

1999
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.

 

2000
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.

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.

 

2001
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.

March: The Sirenian secures evidence of corruption in the Ecuadorian Navy and releases it to the public.

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.

 

2002
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.

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 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.

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.

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.

 

2003
January - December: The Sea Shepherd patrol vessel Sirenianenters and completes her third year of service in partnership with the Galapagos National Park.

January: Captain Watson is invited to meet with Conservation International in the Dominican Republic to discuss strategies for protecting the Galapagos Corridor.

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.

 

2004
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.

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.

 

2005
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.

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.

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.

 

2007
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

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.

 

2008
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.

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: Sea Shepherd UK convinces Hakkasan in London, one of the world's most famous restaurants to drop shark fin from the menu.

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.

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: 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.