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Victories

Since 2001, 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.

January, 2015

Spain Announces Law to Fight Pirate Fishing

Spain, which is Europe’s largest fishing country and the biggest importer and exporter of seafood products in the European Union, has become the first Member State to take action against pirate fishing. Spain introduced a new fisheries law that imposes stronger penalties on Spanish citizens found to be involved with pirate fishing anywhere around the world. The new Spanish fisheries law, 33/2014, is the translation into Spanish legislation of the EU’s illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing regulation, which requires all EU member States to take action against citizens and companies found to be involved in any IUU fishing activities anywhere in the world. Under this new law, the Spanish government will be able to act against Spanish citizens who are benefiting from illegal fishing.

January, 2015

Denmark Proposed Marine Protected Areas in Kattegat

Denmark presented plans for six new marine protected areas (MPAs) in Kattegat, which connects the Baltic and North Seas. The new MPAs will be protected from dangerous human activity, such as bottom trawling, which disturbs seafloor habitat. The new MPAs have been selected in part from Oceana’s findings of rare Haploops crustaceans and horse mussel communities during the expeditions in 2011 and 2012. Oceana first proposed protections for the area in 2011. With these new MPAs, Denmark is taking a leading role in Europe in protecting these vital soft-bottom habitat.

January, 2015

EU Moves Away from Harmful Subsidies

European Parliament and the Fisheries Council reached a political agreement on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the financial mechanism that will allow the implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy over the next seven years. Previous fisheries subsidies schemes have given priority to short-term economic interests at the expense of sustainability in fisheries, using taxpayer’s money to increase fleet capacity and fund overfishing. Oceana supports the efforts of the European Parliament and Council to stop this toxic pattern, and shift spending towards beneficial measures such as control and data collection. 

December, 2014

Presidential Task Force Releases Strong Recommendations on Seafood Fraud and Illegal Fishing

President Obama’s Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud delivered its first recommendations, and were hailed as being a strong and robust first step at tackling these issues. The recommendations included domestic and international measures that help ensure seafood sold in the United States is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled—such as strengthening enforcement and increasing collaboration between state and federal governments, industry groups and more. The president established the task force in June at the global “Our Ocean” conference hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry. Oceana has actively worked to combat seafood fraud since 2011, and has released several reports on the issue, created a map that reflects that most comprehensive literature review on seafood fraud to-date, and submitted comments to the President’s Task Force this past fall.

December, 2014

Federal Government Takes Action to Recover Western Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) finalized regulations that help recover the western Atlantic bluefin tuna population, which have declined by more than 80 percent in recent decades from overfishing and bycatch. As part of the Final Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan, NMFS will now close certain parts of the Gulf of Mexico and areas off North Carolina during the spring to protect spawning bluefin from longlines. In addition, the federal government is also implementing a strict limit on bluefin bycatch. Once fishermen reach their individual quota on bluefin bycatch, they will have to either stop fishing activity or obtain additional quota from other fishermen. Finally, NMFS will also require video cameras on longline fishing vessels to help improve data collection that currently relies solely on outside observer coverage.

November, 2014

Oceana, Google, and SkyTruth Announce Global Fishing Watch

Oceana, Google, and SkyTruth partnered to announce Global Fishing Watch, a new big-data technology platform that provides an unprecedented global view of commercial fishing and human interaction with the oceans. It draws on data from the Automatic Identification System to analyze the identity, speed, and direction of vessels, with some specific applications including identifying vessels operating illegally without a license and those that may be falsely reporting catches, as well as pinpointing areas where large numbers of vessels converge. The technology will give citizens a free and easy-to-use online platform to visualize and track fishing activity worldwide, and will have uses for every day citizens to fishery managers and advocacy groups. The trio unveiled a prototype of the technology this November at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney.

November, 2014

Oceana Kicks Off Operations in the Philippines By Hosting Fisheries Conference

Oceana kicked off its operations in the Philippines by hosting a conference, “The Road to Sustainable Fisheries Governance,” to discuss various perspectives on fisheries in the Philippines. Stakeholders from the government, the justice system, academia, and more gathered for two days to discuss challenges, impacts, and proposals on fisheries management, as well as share best practices in sustainable fisheries governance and effective law enforcement. Oceana vice president Atty. Gloria “Golly” Estenzo Ramos spoke at the conference, and will lead Oceana’s work in the Philippines to help rebuild the nation’s fisheries in partnership with native Filipinos. Other speakers at the conference included Oceana’s chief scientist and strategy officer Dr. Mike Hirshfield, Oceana board member Dr. Daniel Pauly, and The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National director Atty. Asis Perez. 

October, 2014

Federal Government to Better Monitor Amount of Wasted Catch in Southeast and Gulf Fisheries

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced it will be taking steps to more accurately analyze the amount and type of wasted catch in Gulf and Southeast region fisheries. Up until now, the fisheries managed by the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Fishery Management Councils did not have a plan to put a requirement under the Magnuson-Stevens Act in place, which calls to have a standardized way to collect and report the amount of bycatch that occurs in the fishery. Oceana recommended developing a bycatch reporting plan for the region last month, and is pleased the federal government is moving forward with a proposal to better address the amount of wasted catch in our nation’s fisheries. In addition, Oceana identified nine of the most wasteful fisheries in the United States, which included two from the Southeast and Gulf region, in a report released this past spring.

August, 2014

California Legislature Passes Seafood Labeling Bill with Bi-Partisan Support

Both the California Senate and Assembly pass seafood labeling legislation (SB 1138), authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), which will begin to tackle the complex problem of seafood fraud in California. It requires that all fish and shellfish be accurately labeled by common name, as well as wholesalers and processors label whether a species was wild-caught or farm-raised, and if it was domestically caught or imported. Oceana sponsored the bill, and in previous DNA testing found that California faired as one of the worst states in the nation for seafood mislabeling. SB 1138 is now waiting California Governor Jerry Brown’s consideration to sign into law. This bill is important to protecting human health, ocean ecosystems, and the economy.

July, 2014

Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery Restricted to Protect Loggerhead Sea Turtles

From July 25 through August 31, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued an area closure for the swordfish drift gillnet fishery off Southern California to prevent entanglements and drowning of endangered loggerhead sea turtles with these nets. During years of El Niño conditions, endangered loggerhead sea turtles move farther north than normal to the nutrient-rich waters off Southern California in search of their preferred prey, pelagic red crabs. NMFS is required by law to close the more than 25,000-square-mile Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area to protect the sea turtles during June, July, and August when an El Niño event is occurring or forecasted. The closure came after Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Turtle Island Restoration Network called upon NMFS in a letter urging them to implement this important closure. 

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