Capping a five-year effort, Oceana helped persuade the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to protect 59,000km2 of valuable deep-sea corals stretching from North Carolina to Florida by banning all bottom trawl activity in the area. Known as America’s largest continuous deep sea coral ecosystem, the area includes hundreds of pinnacles up to 500 feet tall and provides critical fish habitat for commercially valuable species like snapper, grouper, wreckfish, royal red shrimp and golden crab. Closing the area to bottom trawling will help ensure the long-term productivity of these species. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now must approve the plan.
Beginning November 2009, bottom trawls and dredges will be prohibited in four deepwater canyons along the US Atlantic coast – a move that will protect the Atlantic tilefish fishery but that will also preserve a rich ecosystem that supports lobster, deep sea corals and sponges living in the canyons. Oceana pushed the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to close the canyons (Oceanographer, Lydonia, Veatch and Norfolk), which range from Massachusetts to Virginia.
Spain will protect marine habitats
In honor of World Environment Day on June 5th and to implement the European Union’s commitment with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Spanish government announced the creation of ten new Marine Protected Areas in Spain’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Oceana has played a key role in identifying and proposing protections for marine areas of interest in an effort led by the Spanish government to implement the European Union’s biodiversity goals.
Future transboundary French-Spanish MPA
The Spanish Ministry of Enviroment and Rural and Marine Affairs start cooperating with France to declare a cross-border marine protected area at Creus Cap waters together with the Marine Protected Park existent at French waters. Oceana has studied this marine area and has provided to the Spanish Government this scientific information to ask for this protection.
Limiting destructive trawling in Europe
After two years of intensive lobbying by Oceana in Brussels and Madrid, the European Union prohibited destructive fishing practices, including bottom trawling, which destroys important marine habitat, in over 160 million acres around the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. The area protected covers an area larger than France.