MarViva Med began its maiden expedition with Oceana in May 2008. The six-month initiative, which was carried out in collaboration with the MarViva Foundation, was aimed primarily at documenting illegal fishing of the severely overfished bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean.
The expedition also set out to document the impact of bottom trawling on marine ecosystems and to identify marine areas that need protection.
During the campaign, the team recorded powerful images of bluefin tuna fattening pens and documented purse seiners illegally using spotter planes to find the fish. MarViva Med also verified that the French vessels caught in 2007 for using illegal driftnets to catch immature bluefin tuna were no longer using the gear and exposed Italian driftnetters using the banned nets.
As a result of MarViva Med’s work, the European Union ended the bluefin tuna fishing season several weeks early for most of the Mediterranean's purse seine fleet, a move which saved up to 100,000 bluefin in 2008 alone. For the first time, the Spanish Parliament considered creating a bluefin tuna reserve south of the Balearic Islands, a critical spawning area for the fish.
In addition, due in part to MarViva Med’s campaign, Morocco was set to phase out driftnets beginning January 1, 2009.