In fewer than ten years, Oceana has achieved dozens of concrete policy victories for marine life and habitats. From stopping bottom trawling in sensitive habitat areas to protecting sea turtles from commercial fishing gear, our victories represent a new hope for the world’s oceans.
The Chilean government announced a drastic reduction in the fishing quota for jack mackerel and other fisheries, starting in 2011. The decision came after Oceana sent the Minister of Economy a report analyzing the annual quota set for jack mackerel during the past 10 years.
The study, put together with data that Oceana obtained through Chile’s Freedom of Information Act, shows that between 2003 and 2010 the National Fisheries Council set the annual quota for jack mackerel at higher catch limits than was recommended by the Institute for Fisheries Development. In fact, in 2009 the quota was 87 percent higher than what was recommended by the agency.
Following intense campaign work by Oceana, Turkey announced it will stop using drifnets in 2011. Oceana estimates that more than 500 vessels had been operating illegally in the Mediterranean, some with nets up to 12 miles long. In 2009, Oceana identified at least 30 Turkish vessels using driftnets in the Aegean and Mediterranean to target swordfish and bonito, and there are an estimated 70 to 150 vessels operating in the country.Read Press Release
The Chilean Senate’s Fisheries Committee unanimously agreed that the Chilean government should establish a 200 nautical mile marine protected area around the Island of Sala y Gómez, near Easter Island. Oceana and National Geographic have been promoting the protection of this area, which still remains virtually unexplored, and which may well be one of the last pristine vulnerable marine ecosystems in the Pacific.Read Press Release
Two days after the Regional Environmental Committee of Chile's Coquimbo Region approved the construction of a coal-fired power plant, Chilean President Sebastiàn Piñera, responding to immense grassroots opposition, requested that Suez Energy relocate it. In addition, he asked his cabinet to review all the industrial projects being considered in the country to see whether they could affect protected areas. Oceana worked to prevent the approval of the thermoelectric coal-fired power plant due to its environmental impacts on nearby marine ecosystems and on the quality of life of adjacent communities.Read Press Release
Fifteen years after the UN passed an international moratorium on driftnets, and seven years after the EU instituted a ban, Morocco has passed an amendment banning the use, possession, manufacture or sale of driftnets. The penalty for breaking Morocco’s new law ranges from three months to one year in prison and fines between approximately $550 and $110,000. Oceana has been working in Europe for years to stop the use of this illegal fishing gear in the Mediterranean.
After continuous campaign work by Oceana, in early June the European Commission closed the bluefin tuna purse seine fishery early for a third year in a row, further confirming the overcapacity of the fishing fleet. The assigned quota was reached one week earlier than expected, and the Commission’s decision came despite the fleet reduction plans implemented and the absence of the Italian fleet in the seas.
Bluefin tuna stocks are nearing collapse due to overfishing and illegal fishing; stocks have decreased by 80% from existing levels before the industrial fishing era.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approved a plan to protect more than 23,000 square miles of known deep sea coral from North Carolina to Florida from destructive fishing gear. The plan, proposed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council in September 2009, will ban the use of bottom-damaging fishing gear in the largest known area of healthy deep sea coral ecosystems in the world, helping to ensure the productivity of commercial fisheries that depend on them.Read Press Release
In response to two petitions submitted in 2007 by Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Turtle Island Restoration Network, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposed rule to change the status of North Pacific and Northwest Atlantic loggerhead sea turtles from “threatened” to “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.
The government also proposed listing loggerhead sea turtles around the globe as nine separate populations, each with its own threatened or endangered status.Read Press Release
As a direct result of Oceana’s campaign work to reform the Chilean salmon aquaculture industry, the Chilean Congress passed legislation to prevent the escape of farmed salmon and further regulate the use of antibiotics in salmon aquaculture.
The reform criminalizes farmed salmon escapes and imposes hefty fines as well as prison sentences for violators. It also bans the preventive use of antibiotics, and requires companies to make public the amounts and types of antibiotics they use, in addition to their specific prescribed use. Oceana has been working since 2007 to convince Chile to restrict the use of antibiotics in salmon farming.
Belize’s Ministry of Fisheries agreed to stop issuing fishing licenses to foreign fishing fleets in the country’s waters pending consultation with local fishermen. The decision came after Jamaican trawlers entered Belize’s southern waters in December, when Oceana called on the government of Belize to suspend all plans and proposals to allow foreign fleets in territorial waters.