In fewer than ten years, 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.
Under pressure from scientists and conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) denied a proposal to allow drift gillnet vessels to operate in an area off the California and Oregon coasts where such fishing is seasonally banned to protect the critically endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle. The drift gillnet fishery, which targets swordfish, tuna and sharks, also kills not just endangered sea turtles, but humpback, fin, gray and sperm whales, several species of dolphins and other marine mammals.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted the nation’s first comprehensive ecosystem-based management measure when it approved the Aleutian Islands Fishery Ecosystem Plan. This Fishery Ecosystem Plan is a blueprint for considering all aspects of the marine ecosystem, including biological diversity, abundant populations of fish, food needs of top predators, and healthy intact habitats, when making decisions on managing healthy and sustainable fisheries in the Aleutian Islands.
This is an important new tool in managing Aleutian Islands fisheries from a more holistic, ecosystem-based perspective, and sets a remarkable precedent for ecosystem-based management measures in other fisheries around the nation.
Pioneer announced that it would switch its St. Gabriel, Louisiana plant to membrane-cell technology (this factory is now owned by Olin Corp). This switch eliminated the largest source of mercury air pollution in the state.
Oceana helped campaign for new legislation that significantly improves the protection of deep-sea corals and sponges from bottom trawling and other destructive fishing gear. This bill as passed makes marginal improvements to the existing Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Oceana receives correspondence that SuperValu, the parent company to grocery stores like Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s and others, plans on posting the FDA advice at seafood counters. SuperValu is the country’s fourth largest grocery company and added nearly 1,400 grocery stores to Oceana’s Green List.
Oceana and other members of the Shark Alliance scored a major victory for sharks in the European Parliament when the Parliament decided to reject a recommendation from its own Fisheries Committee to increase the allowable ratio of shark fins to bodies from 5 percent to 6.5 percent.
Trader Joe’s responds to inform Oceana it will post the FDA warning signs in all stores. VP for Marketing sends Oceana a copy of an email sent to all stores saying it’s required and that Regional VPs will be checking for signs. Oceana adds Trader Joe’s to the Green List. This was the same day that Clean Air Council, once again, held an event outside of a Trader Joe’s in Philadelphia. Trader Joe’s has over 300 grocery stores.