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.
The Chilean senate passed sweeping new regulations that establish a more robust, science based fisheries regulatory regimen. The new laws will close all 118 of Chile’s seamounts to bottom trawling, impose science-based fishing quotas and drastically reduce the incidental capture and discard of unwanted species by improving monitoring on Chilean fishing vessels. Oceana has been pushing for all of these changes for years, and during the passage of this historic legislation our work was acknowledged by several senators as well as the Chilean Minister of the Economy.
In response to petitions filed by Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity, Shark Stewards and WildEarth Guardians, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it would consider the West Coast population of great white sharks for listing on the federal Endangered Species Act. The announcement shows that NMFS recognizes the perils facing this unique population of great white sharks. NMFS will conduct an in depth status analysis of the population and will make a final determination of whether to add this population to the federal endangered species list by June 2013.Read Press Release
After a long battle by Oceana and allies, a planned coal-fired thermoelectric power plant in Northern Chile known as Castilla, was rejected by the Chilean Supreme Court.
The Castilla plant was planned for the Punta Cachos region, just a few kilometers from important habitats for Humboldt penguins, sea turtles and one of Chile’s few seagrass meadows. As part of its operations, the plant would have released warm water into the ocean, which could have affected the entire ecosystem.
The EU voted in favor of strictly protecting 10 threatened species of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean Sea, under the Barcelona Convention. These species, including hammerheads, tope, and shortfin mako, have declined dramatically in numbers – some by as much as 99% during the last century – while others have vanished from parts of the Mediterranean where they were once common.Read Press Release
The California Senate designated the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle as California’s official state marine reptile and declare October 15 every year as Leatherback Conservation Day. Oceana was a sponsor and supporter of the bill, and generated statewide support from thousands of California citizens and more than 30 conservation entities including the California Fish and Game Commission. The bill is intended to recognize the importance of California state waters to the survival and recovery of this ancient sea turtle species.Read Press Release
For the first time in its 60-year history, the FAO’s General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean took action for shark protection. The Commission adopted measures for the management and conservation of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean, the region of highest risk in the world for these fishes. Twenty-three Mediterranean countries endorsed a proposal from the EU that bans the unsustainable practice of shark finning, prohibits trawling in some sensitive near-shore habitats, and requires countries to collect and report data on catches of some threatened species.Read Press Release
After campaigning by Oceana, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced new regulations for the Atlantic scallop fishery that will require Turtle Deflector Devices (TDDs) in areas and during times when sea turtles are known to be present.
The scallop fishery has long been a threat to sea turtles, who get caught up and drowned in the heavy equipment. TDDs are expected to reduce sea turtle mortality by at least 56 percent when compared to former dredges that force them into heavy chain bags where they were dragged and often drowned.Read Press Release
The Chilean Government announced its intention to expand the Salas y Gómez marine reserve and to create a smaller reserve off the coast of Easter Island. The government also announced a plan to develop an assessment and status report of the main fisheries of Easter Island. The announcement follows several expeditions to the islands and years of campaigning by Oceana.
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The California Senate Committee on Health took a key step forward to combat rampant seafood fraud occurring in the Golden State by passing SB 1486, a seafood labeling bill with important ramifications for human health, environmental sustainability, and consumer protection. Oceana applauds the Senate Health Committee for taking a leadership role in confronting the appalling level of seafood fraud in California.
SB 1486 will serve as a catalyst to get to the heart of seafood mislabeling in California by requiring that chain restaurants with 19 or more locations provide consumers with key information about the seafood they are served including: the scientific common name of the seafood; the country in which the seafood was raised or caught; and whether the seafood was farm-raised or wild-caught. The Senate Health Committee was the first legislative committee to discuss the bill.Read Press Release
The State of Alaska and a Seattle-based commercial fishing industry sued to overturn new protections for Steller sea lions that limited fishing in areas important to the Steller sea lions’ survival. Oceana intervened in the lawsuit to help the government defend the new measures necessary to prevent jeopardy to Steller sea lions and to protect their critical habitat. The federal district court in Alaska rejected the industry arguments and upheld the protections, which limit bottom trawling and fishery removals of Steller sea lion prey in critical areas. The court required the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare an environmental impact statement evaluating changes to the management of the fisheries by March 2, 2014.Read Press Release