Chile's Sala y Gomez Island, a new marine reserve. [Photo illustration by Heather Ryan]
It’s that time of year when “best of” lists abound, so what better reason to sing the ocean’s greatest hits of 2010?
Raise your eggnog glasses high for these ocean victories that we helped accomplish this year, with your generous support and enthusiasm:
The Obama Administration reinstated a ban on offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast -- and that was after months of pressure by Oceana and more than 100,000 (!) of you said it was time to Stop the Drill.
After pressure from Oceana and our allies, the Chilean government halted the construction of a coal-fired thermoelectric plant near Punta de Choros, a marine reserve home to Humboldt penguins, bottlenose dolphins, and blue whales.
Two big bottom trawling victories: the U.S. banned bottom trawling in a 23,000 square mile area off the Southeast Atlantic coast, home to the largest area of pristine area of cold-water corals in the world. And in Belize, we helped pass a ban on all trawling in the country’s waters.
Morocco and Turkey stopped the use of gillnets, a.ka. “walls of death”, which will save the lives of bluefin tuna, sharks, dolphins, and many other creatures.
The U.S. government proposed designation of a 70,000 square mile protected zone off the California coast to protect leatherback sea turtles.
After our preliminary expedition with National Geographic and the Waitt Foundation, the waters around Chile’s pristine Sala y Gomez Island were declared a no-take marine reserve, expanding Chile’s total marine protected area more than 100 times, from 0.03% to 4.41%.
Though ICCAT again failed to protect bluefin tuna (bah humbug), the commission increased protections for oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerhead sharks and shortfin mako sharks and put in place new measures to reduce sea turtle deaths.
The Olin Corporation announced that it would go mercury-free in two of its plants, including the largest remaining mercury-based chlorine plant of the four plants in the U.S. that had refused to switch to cleaner technology.