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.
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.
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.
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.
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.