At international delegation passed new conservation measures that will protect more than 16.1 million square miles of seafloor habitat in the North Pacific Ocean from bottom trawling and other bottom contact gear. Participating nations, including the U.S., Canada, Japan, Russia, China, Korea and Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), acted on a commitment they made at the United Nations General Assembly to enact interim conservation measures to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems, like seamounts, deep-sea corals and hydrothermal vents, in international waters. Oceana and others have been working to advance these measures since 2006.
The Belizean government announced that all forms of trawling were banned in the country's waters. Oceana in Belize collaborated with Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s administration to negotiate the buy-out of the two shrimp trawlers. With this ban, Belize has become one of the first countries in the world to institute a complete and permanent ban on trawling in all its waters.
U.S. Protects America’s Arctic from Industrial Fishing
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) voted to prevent the expansion of industrial fishing into all U.S. waters north of the Bering Strait for the foreseeable future to limit stress on ocean ecosystems in light of the dramatic impacts of global climate change in the Arctic. With no large-scale commercial fishing in the U.S. Arctic at present, this decision establishes one of the largest preventative and precautionary measures in fisheries management history.
Freezing the Bering Sea’s Footprint
The National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it will adopt Oceana’s “freeze-the-footprint” approach by closing nearly 180,000 square miles of the Bering Sea to destructive bottom trawlingto protect important seafloor habitats and marine life.
New Magnuson-Stevens Act Passed
Oceana helped campaign for new legislation that significantly improves the protection of deep-sea coralsand sponges from bottom trawlingand other destructive fishing gear. This bill as passed makes marginal improvements to the existing Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Protecting Essential Fish Habitat from Bottom Trawling
Along with a coalition of environmental and recreational fishing groups, Oceana developed a comprehensive, collaborative proposal to protect important undersea habitats, while maintaining vibrant fisheries off the U.S. West Coast. With the help of 19,373 Oceana Wavemaker comments, the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted unanimously to adopt the Oceana proposal, which was mostly approved by NOAA on March 8, 2006, protecting 140,000 square miles of ocean habitat from bottom trawling.
Limiting Destructive Trawling in Europe
After two years of intensive lobbying by Oceana staff in Brussels and Madrid, the European Union prohibited destructive fishing practices, including bottom trawling, in over 500,000 square miles around the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands.
America's oceans won a major victory when the New England Fishery Management Council voted to protect deep-sea coral communities in New England and mid-Atlantic offshore submarine canyons from destructive monkfish bottom trawlinggear. The council adopted an Oceana-supported amendment to the monkfish management plan that bans fishing for monkfish by bottom trawling in the Oceanographer and Lydonia canyons where marine scientists have identified and studied large deep-sea coral communities.
Ocean around Aleutian Islands Protected from Bottom Trawling
In an historic victory for protecting our oceans, and the largest such action taken anywhere in the world, U.S. authorities closed to destructive commercial fishing nearly one million square kilometers of north Pacific Ocean surrounding the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, an area equal to Texas and California combined.
Mid-Atlantic Council Decision to Ban Bottom Trawling in Ocean Canyons Follows Trend Begun by New England Panel
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to accept the recent New England councildecision to protect deep-sea coral communities in New England and Mid-Atlantic sub-marine canyons from destructive monkfishbottom trawling gear. These decisions are the first indication that fishery managers are using new scientific research to protect invaluable marine life, such as deep-sea corals.