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.
Fishery managers reduced the catch level for the Bering Sea pollock fishery, the largest fishery in North America, by 18 percent to around 815,000 metric tons for the 2009 season. The new limit was put in place due to declining pollock numbers, and a recognition of the importance of pollock to the ecosystems of the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. Pollock are a central food source for endangered Steller sea lions, salmon, fur seals, halibut, seabirds and other animals.
After campaigning by Oceana, the Chilean government recommended ending the excessive use of antibiotics in salmon farms. This will stop the overuse of antibiotics created for human health, end the overpopulation of salmon pens, lessen the amount of waste and salmon released into the marine environment and slow down the expansion of the industry to the heretofore pristine fjords of Patagonia.
The federal government has begun implementation of a “risk assessment” for the Aleutian Islands, the critical first step towards getting meaningful spill response capabilities in place for the region. The risk assessment will help policy makers and the Coast Guard in designing and implementing a spill response plan for the Aleutians that includes adequate funding for the complete monitoring of all ship traffic and ensuring necessary training, resources and equipment in place locally for the Aleutians.
President Bush established a U.S. policy to engage other Arctic nations and prevent the expansion of industrial fishing throughout international Arctic waters until further information is gathered about impacts. The policy in part states that "the decline of several commercially valuable fish stocks throughout the world's oceans highlights the need for fishing nations to conserve fish stocks and develop management systems that promote fisheries sustainability," and also states that until international agreement for managing Arctic fishing are in place, "...the United States should support international efforts to halt the expansion of commercial fishing activities in the high seas of the Arctic Ocean."
The world’s largest fishery took the first step toward reducing wasteful king salmon bycatch. After pressure from Oceana and its allies, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council moved forward on capping salmon bycatch in the Alaska pollock fishery.
In June 2008, Following advocacy from Oceana, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) finalized a regulation requiring the landing of sharks with their fins still attached in the federal waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, also after Oceana’s urging, passed similar regulations in August 2008 for the state waters along the east coast of the United States.
Oceana and the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of the Interior to uplist the loggerhead sea turtle population in the Atlantic Ocean from "threatened" to "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, the petition calls on the government to protect key habitat areas by designating them “critical habitats” under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. government announced on March 5, 2008 that our petition was sufficiently well-founded to require a detailed governmental review of the loggerhead sea turtle population in the Atlantic Ocean to decide whether it should be declared "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act.