Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.
Last week, the Pacific Fishery Management Council rejected a proposal to expand the use of drift gillnets off California. The decision was paired with a request to extend emergency regulations to protect sperm whales from entrapment in drift gillnets until permanent protections go into effect. The meeting in Sacramento drew unusually high numbers of public comments, including more than 40,000 written comments from Oceana supporters alone. It's a step in the right direction when it comes to getting the destructive form of fishing gear out of California waters.
Nearly one year ago, I wrote to you to announce that Chilean President Sebastián Piñera signed a monumental reform to the Chilean Fisheries Law, requiring that scientific advice guide fishing quotas for important commercial species. I’m now pleased to report back that the law is already making a difference, putting Chile on track to dramatically rebuild its fisheries, which will benefit both fishermen and ocean health.
This week, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the Economist’s Arctic Summit, held in London. The summit brought leaders from the oil and gas, shipping, and mining industries together with world leaders, academics, and others to talk about various aspects of development in the Arctic region.
Atlantic dolphins are in danger, and Miranda Cosgrove needs your help to save them. Recently, she joined Oceana in Bimini, Bahamas to swim with Atlantic spotted dolphins and film a new public service announcement (PSA) about how seismic airguns could harm Atlantic dolphins.
“When I first entered the water, the dolphins were playing with each other, swimming side by side, and they were constantly singing to each other—I could hear it! After a while they started to approach me and I could feel them look me in the eye. It was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Cosgrove.
Late last year, I wrote to you about how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration took actions that placed state shark fin bans in jeopardy. These bans, which close down the market for imported shark fins, are incredibly important to halting the finning and capture of tens of millions of sharks each year.
Today in the nation’s capital, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released the final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) on allowing seismic airgun testing in the Mid- and South Atlantic. While it promises a few protections here and there for marine life in the Atlantic, we can’t support the idea at the crux of the review: a plan to move forward with the use of seismic airgun testing for oil and gas drilling.
For the past five years, the oil industry has kept up a relentless campaign to drill in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean. Oil exploration and drilling would put this exceptional ecosystem at great risk from a disastrous (and inevitable) oil spill, greatly harming marine life, fish species, and coastal communities.