endangered species act

Oceana Fires Back at Flawed Federal Decision not to list Great Whites as Endangered

Posted Mon, Dec 23, 2013 by Ashley Blacow to endangered species act, great white sharks

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island

In the ongoing fight to protect the distinct population of great white sharks off the coast of California and Mexico, Oceana submitted a critical analysis of the federal Biological Review Team’s (BRT) status report used by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as the basis for their decision not to list this West Coast population of apex predators under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).


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Future of Great Whites in the Hands of California Leaders

Posted Mon, Jul 15, 2013 by Ashley Blacow to california, endangered, endangered species act, ESA, great white, great white shark, shark

Great white sharks like this one risk extinction unless we move to award them the protections they so desperately need. Photo: Sharkdiver.com

We are alarmed by the recent decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) not to provide needed protections for U.S. West Coast great white sharks under the federal Endangered Species Act. NMFS declined protections despite current science estimates of only a few hundred sub-adult and adult white sharks at their primary aggregation sites. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) petition submitted by Oceana and its partners to NMFS met all the legal criteria and demonstrated through the best available science that this special population of great white sharks clearly warrants protections under the ESA.


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Endangered But Not Protected

Posted Wed, Jul 10, 2013 by Rachel Keylon to basking shark, endangered, endangered species act, ESA

Marine animals like this basking shark are in dire need of protections under the Endangered Species Act, and there's no time to waste. Photo: Greg Skomal l NOAA Fisheries Service

Did you know that only about 6% of all U.S. species protected under the Endangered Species Act live in the oceans?

On Monday, the conservation group WildEarth Guardians asked the federal government to grant protection for 81 additional marine species. Those currently listed are mostly “charismatic mega-fauna,” such as dolphins, whales, seals, and sea turtles. This organization seeks to add species of sharks, corals, fish, and other threatened and endangered sea life to the list of marine species protected under the Endangered Species Act.


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Sawfish Designated as Endangered Species

Posted Wed, Jun 5, 2013 by Justine Sullivan to bycatch, endangered, endangered species, endangered species act, overfishing, sawfish

The unique and magnificent sawfish gained new protections this week. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sawfish have a reason to breathe a little easier today: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has completed comprehensive status reviews under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and has determined that five foreign species of sawfish meet the definition of “endangered” under the Act. Of course, this “victory” is bittersweet: no one is celebrating the fact that sawfish species are endangered, but rather that they now will finally receive the protections they so desperately need to recover their numbers.


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Happy World Turtle Day!

Posted Thu, May 23, 2013 by Justine Sullivan to bycatch, endangered, endangered species act, leatherback turtle, loggerhead turtle, sea turtle, turtle, world turtle day


Happy World Turtle Day! While World Turtle Day celebrates turtles that roam both the land and the sea, as well as tortoises, we at Oceana would especially like to recognize the magnificent species of sea turtles that roam throughout the world’s oceans. The seven species classified as sea turtles around the world are truly incredible: most undergo incredible long migrations – some as far as 1,400 miles –between their feeding grounds and the beaches where they nest. Some loggerhead sea turtles nest in Japan and migrate to Baja del Sur, Mexico, to forage before swimming across the Pacific Ocean again to return home! Amazingly, female sea turtles even return to the exact beach where they hatched as babies to nest and lay their eggs.


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It's Endangered Species Day!

Posted Fri, May 17, 2013 by Sara Young to bycatch, driftnets, endangered, endangered species act, law, loggerhead turtles, sea turtles, sperm whales, west coast

The Endangered Species Act protects endangered and critically endangered creatures like this loggerhead sea turtle. Still, there is much work to be done. 

May 17th is the day to show your love for endangered sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and all sorts of marine creatures.  Why? Because it’s Endangered Species Day! Today is the day to learn and share information about your favorite endangered animals and rally support around the creatures that need it most.


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Victory! 739 Miles of U.S. Coastline Protected for Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Posted Fri, Mar 22, 2013 by admin to endangered species act, loggerhead sea turtles

Wikimedia Commons

This morning the government announced a decision, long in the making, to designate 739 miles of Atlantic and Gulf coastline as critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles.

Loggerheads face threats from all sides, including from pollution, degradation of foraging areas, and serious injury and death from entanglement in fishing gear. They’re also faced with the loss of their nesting habitat due to coastal development as well as sea level rise.

Loggerheads, which make some of the longest journeys of any sea turtle—across entire ocean basins—nest on beaches from Texas to Virginia, but 90 percent of U.S. loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida. This new protection means that any new beachside hotels, homes or commercial construction built on protected beaches that require federal permits would need to be reviewed to prevent harm to nesting areas.

Oceana marine scientist Amanda Keledjian explained why the protections are crucial:

 “Turtles are often caught in fishing gear, struck by moving vessels, or risk ingesting debris such as plastic bags. The National Marine Fisheries Service must follow up on this action and designate off-shore areas as well as waters directly adjacent to nesting beaches if they want these vulnerable populations to recover.”

The new protections came about as a result of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana, and Turtle Island Restoration Network, after the government failed to respond to previous petitions filed by the groups dating back to 2007. In 2011, loggerhead sea turtles worldwide were protected as nine separate populations under the Endangered Species Act, triggering the requirement to designate critical habitat.

The government will now accept public comments about the proposal and the protections are expected to take effect in 2014.  Stay tuned to hear about ways that you can help ensure that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not withdraw many of these proposed beaches when these protections are finalized.

Learn more about the loggerhead sea turtles that visit our coasts and the dangers they face.


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Great Whites Now Have Endangered Species Protections

Posted Fri, Mar 1, 2013 by Ashley Blacow to california, endangered species act, great white shark

The man in the gray suit now protected by law. Photo: Jim Agronick

It’s official; as of today, California’s great white sharks are now fully protected under the California Endangered Species Act! As new candidates for protection under this law, while the state of California considers permanent actions, the ocean’s most iconic sharks will now receive the exact same legal protections afforded to other listed endangered species, placing them in the company of the furry sea otter and the majestic blue whale.  As of today, it is now a criminal offense to pursue, catch, or kill a white shark in California. With recent population estimates of fewer than 350 adult white sharks, this action may be just in time to keep them from extinction.

The main threat to great whites is incidental capture in drift and set gillnets which together target swordfish, thresher sharks, halibut, and white seabass. Since the 1980s there has been an average of over 10 reported interactions of great white sharks in these gillnets annually, and up to 30 reports in a single year. The number of observers who go out to sea on these fishing vessels and document bycatch is currently very low, so we don’t know the full extent of this bycatch. Also of concern is what scientists call post-release mortality. While some great whites are released from gillnet capture alive, others die shortly after from severe damage inflicted to their organs and internal bleeding. Bycatch in fisheries, under-reporting, and post-release mortality, in culmination with a low population size, slow growth, and a low reproductive rate could be enough to jeopardize the recovery of the unique population of great white sharks off California.


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2012 in Review: Oceana's Top Five Victories

Posted Mon, Dec 31, 2012 by Justine Sullivan to alibaba, bycatch, chile, endangered, endangered species act, European Union, fisheries, fishing quotas, great white sharks, leatherback sea turtle, manta ray, pacific, quotas, shark, shark finning, victories, victory

Sharks, like this great white, won several major victories in 2012. Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

As 2013 rapidly approaches, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year at Oceana. Thanks to your support, we were able to achieve more than a dozen major victories for the oceans! You signed petitions to lawmakers and companies, submitted seafood samples and participated in rallies and events, and it made a difference. Here are five of the major victories we won in 2012 as a result: 

1. Alibaba.com stops selling manta ray products

When Oceana discovered that the online international marketplace Alibaba.com was selling manta ray products, we asked for your help in stopping it. Nearly 40,000 of you responded by signing our petition, and Alibaba listened, removing manta ray leather products from the website.

2. Victories for the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle

2012 was a good year for endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles. We helped establish the first permanent safe haven for leatherbacks in continental U.S. waters this year. The government designated nearly 42,000 square miles of critical habitat off the West Coast. The Pacific leatherback was also designated as California’s official state reptile following a bill sponsored and supported by Oceana with the support of thousands of California citizens and more than 30 conservation groups.


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