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.

Paul Watson meets with Marlene Lakin (Fund’s Toronto Rep) and Cleveland Amory in the Fund for Animals’ New York office (1979).

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.