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 South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a plan to protect more than 23,000 square miles of known deep-sea coral from North Carolina to Florida from destructive fishing gear. Five years in the making, the vote will restrict the footprint of bottom trawls – one of the most nonselective fishing gears currently in use, capable of destroying thousand-year-old coral reefs and moving 18-ton rocks – and help to restore the long-term productivity of commercially valuable fish that take refuge in these rare corals.Read Press Release
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council took its final step in an effort to protect threatened sea turtles from the bottom longline sector of the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery. Specifically, the Council voted to close all bottom longline fishing shoreward of 35 fathoms (approximately 210 feet) from June to August, a time when large numbers of loggerheads were caught in previous years, and to restrict longline fishing of all vessels that have a history of catching at least 40,000 lbs of reef fish each year.Read Press Release
Federal policymakers released the final regulations banning all fishing for krill in U.S. Pacific waters of California, Oregon and Washington. This action was led by Oceana and others and has had strong support from scientists, conservationists, fishermen, coastal businesses and local communities.Read Press Release
The Oregon state legislature passed a bill to establish Oregon’s first two marine reserves and a protected area in its coastal waters, and defined a two year process to evaluate and implement additional areas to build a network of protected areas and reserves. Oceana worked to identify the Important Ecological Areas off the Oregon coast and with a coalition of conservationists, scientists, and local communities, advanced a statewide proposal to protect Oregon’s coastal ocean ecosystem.Read Press Release
The federal Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to maintain a standing prohibition on a West Coast-based high seas longline fishery. The vote will prevent the opening of a new swordfish fishery that would threaten migrating loggerhead sea turtles and other marine wildlife on the high seas of the north Pacific Ocean.
After Oceana’s advocacy work, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) put in place an emergency closure of the eastern Gulf of Mexico to bottom longline fishing gear from the reef fish fishery to protect sea turtles. The closure included all waters shallower than 50 fathoms for a period of six months. NMFS took this action after the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted (10-7) to ask them to do so. Oceana was instrumental in pushing both the Agency and the Council to take these actions to protect sea turtles.
The European Court of Justice condemned France for using illegal driftnets to catch bluefin tuna. Later in March, three owners of illegal driftnetting vessels in southern Italy were arrested after Oceana provided authorities with a variety of documentation and reported more than 150 vessels using this illegal fishing gear.