Since 2001, 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 federal Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to maintain a standing prohibition on a West Coast-based high seas longline fishery. The vote will prevent the opening of a new swordfish fishery that would threaten migrating loggerhead sea turtles and other marine wildlife on the high seas of the north Pacific Ocean.
After Oceana’s advocacy work, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) put in place an emergency closure of the eastern Gulf of Mexico to bottom longline fishing gear from the reef fish fishery to protect sea turtles. The closure included all waters shallower than 50 fathoms for a period of six months. NMFS took this action after the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted (10-7) to ask them to do so. Oceana was instrumental in pushing both the Agency and the Council to take these actions to protect sea turtles.
The European Court of Justice condemned France for using illegal driftnets to catch bluefin tuna. Later in March, three owners of illegal driftnetting vessels in southern Italy were arrested after Oceana provided authorities with a variety of documentation and reported more than 150 vessels using this illegal fishing gear.
The government of Chile officially announced a plan for reducing the use of antibiotics in salmon aquaculture, which included four out of five relevant policy recommendations made by Oceana. The plan failed to prohibit the animal use of the quinolone family of antibiotics.
Oceana, along with other conservation organizations, helped advance legislation that would establish a national requirement to land sharks with fins attached. In March 2009, after significant advocacy by Oceana, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 81) to improve existing laws originally intended to prevent shark finning. The bill requires sharks to be landed with their fins naturally attached, which allows for better enforcement and data collection for use in stock assessments and quota monitoring.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) voted to prevent the expansion of industrial fishing into all U.S. waters north of the Bering Strait for the foreseeable future to limit stress on ocean ecosystems in light of the dramatic impacts of global climate change in the Arctic. With no large-scale commercial fishing in the U.S. Arctic at present, this decision establishes one of the largest preventative and precautionary measures in fisheries management history.