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.
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.