Victories | Oceana

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.

September, 2017

Peru Agrees to Publish Vessel Tracking Data Through Global Fishing Watch to Help Fight Illegal Fishing

The government of Peru followed through on its commitment to make its national vessel tracking data publicly available by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. The initial commitment, which was the result of Oceana's collaboration with the Peruvian government to increase transparency of commercial fishing in Peru's waters, was announced at the Ocean Conference hosted by the United Nations in June of 2017. The signed Memorandum will start the process to make Peru's Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch, which provides the first global view of commercial fishing activity. This commitment matters because Peru, one of the most globally significant fishing nations and home to an enormous anchovy fishery (historically the world's largest), has committed to making its fishing fleet truly transparent. Peru's VMS data will add information from thousands of vessels to Global Fishing Watch, making it easier to identify, track and stop illegal fishing in Peru's oceans and empower the government to enforce its laws effectively.

September, 2017

European Parliament Acts to End Overfishing in the North Sea

After advocacy from Oceana and its allies, members of the European Parliament voted for a robust, long-term, and sustainable management plan for the North Sea. The multiannual management plan covers fish species living near the sea bottom and accounts for nearly one-third of all fish caught in EU waters, including species such as cod, haddock, whiting, sole, plaice and Norwegian lobster. The North Sea is one of Europe’s most productive seas, making this an important step forward in restoring abundance to Europe’s oceans.

August, 2017

U.S. Court Upholds Rule Requiring Traceability for At-Risk Seafood Imports

A federal court ruled in favor of upholding the Seafood Import Monitoring Program, rejecting a lawsuit that would have invalidated the rule. The program helps to reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud by increasing seafood traceability. The Commerce Department program, also known as the Seafood Traceability Rule, was implemented by the US government following campaigning by Oceana. It requires seafood importers of species like tuna, grouper, swordfish, red snapper and blue crab to provide specific information before their products can enter the United States, including what kind of fish it is, as well as how and where it was caught or farmed. Oceana (represented by Earthjustice), the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a joint amicus brief in support of the Seafood Traceability Rule.

August, 2017

Chile Rejects Major Industrial Port Mining Project That Threatened Penguins, Whales and Fragile Habitat

Following pressure from Oceana and its allies, Chile’s Ministerial Committee made major national news by confirming the rejection of port mining project Dominga in August 2017. The Andes Iron project had already been rejected by the Environmental Assessment Commission of Coquimbo in March 2017, but the mining company appealed the decision, causing the final verdict to fall on the Ministerial Committee. Dominga’s environmental impact assessment was strongly questioned by scientists, Oceana and its allies because it didn’t include basic required scientific information and didn’t gauge the impacts that two open pit mines and a mega port would have on the marine ecosystem and the world renowned Humboldt Penguin National Reserve. 

August, 2017

Belizean Government Protects Belize Barrier Reef with Moratorium on Offshore Oil Activity

The Belizean government announced its intention to introduce critical legislation to establish an indefinite moratorium on offshore oil activity in and around the Belize Barrier Reef, a World Heritage site and rich marine habitat. In his address to the House of Representatives regarding this bill, the Belizean Prime Minister said that “in consequence of conversation with Oceana and The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, Cabinet felt that the time has come to put the policy commitment into writing.” Oceana’s Belizean team has been campaigning to ban offshore oil drilling in Belize’s ocean since 2010. Oceana has mobilized tens of thousands of Belizeans in support of its campaign and, along with its partners, organized a national referendum called "The People's Referendum." This initiative gave Belizeans an opportunity to vote on the issue, and they responded overwhelmingly. Approximately 30,000 Belizeans participated – with more than 95 percent voting against offshore oil activity. Oceana has also achieved legal milestones during its campaign. The move to stop damaging oil exploration in Belize’s territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zone marks an important step toward recognizing the concerns of Belizeans and protecting the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. The Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996, is home to almost 1,400 species and is critical to the livelihood for over half of Belize’s population due to its central role in Belizean tourism and fishing.

July, 2017

Chilean Supreme Court Forces Salmon Farming Industry to Disclose Antibiotic Use

After Oceana waged a four-year legal battle, the Chilean Supreme Court ruled that the salmon farming industry in that country must disclose information about its use of antibiotics in aquaculture. Oceana has fought for transparency in the Chilean salmon farming industry, which has used alarming amounts of antibiotics, is a major cause of habitat degradation and poses risks to human health.

June, 2017

Legal Reform Makes EU’s External Fishing Fleet More Transparent, Accountable and Sustainable

The European Commission, Parliament and Council of Fisheries Ministers announced a new regulation governing the European Union’s extensive external fishing fleet. One third of total European catches are made on the high seas and in the waters of non EU countries. Since 2008, the EU has authorized over 23,000 vessels to fish outside EU waters. The new law applies the same strict requirements to all EU vessels fishing in the waters of other nations, promoting responsible fishing around the world. The new rules also make it public for the first time which vessels fish where, including private agreements, where an EU-flagged vessel makes a direct contract with the government of a non-EU coastal state to fish in its waters. Finally, the new regulation stops so-called abusive reflagging, where a vessel repeatedly and rapidly changes its flag for the purposes of circumventing conservation measures. In total, the new law makes the EU external fleet one of the most transparent in the world. Oceana led a two-year campaign pushing for these new measures.

April, 2017

California Moves to Protect Hundreds of Forage Fish Species in State Waters

The state of California safeguarded hundreds of species of forage fish, the ocean’s smallest schooling fish, from new and directed fisheries in all ocean waters of the state unless and until it can be demonstrated these tiny but critical fish and invertebrates [or say fish, squids, and krill] can be caught without causing harm to the ecosystem and disrupting the ocean food web. With this decision, protections are now in place prohibiting directed fishing for these forage species in all U.S. ocean waters on the West Coast from shore out to 200 nautical miles. Along with Oceana’s previous victory prohibiting a West Coast fishery for krill, now roughly 70 percent of the total weight of forage species in ocean waters off the West Coast is now protected from directed fishing. Forage fish support an array of wildlife, including sea lions, whales, dolphins, birds, and even bears and wolves, in addition to important species of recreational and commercial fish like tuna, salmon, swordfish, halibut, and rockfish. These landmark protections are the result of over a decade of campaigning by Oceana and its allies which include conservation groups, businesses, fishermen and policymakers. 

April, 2017

U.S. Takes Action to Protect West Coast Sardines from Overfishing for Third Consecutive Year

The Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to keep the U.S. West Coast Pacific sardine fishery closed for the upcoming commercial season. This was because scientists estimated the sardine population in the water to be 86,586 metric tons and that there needed to be a population size equivalent to at least 150,000 metric tons necessary in order to support a commercial fishery. This was the third year in a row where the commercial fishery was closed because of low sardine populations. Three years earlier, after the crash of the sardine population, Oceana led the fight and secured an emergency closure of the fishery, and the fishery has not opened since. Ensuring that there are enough sardines in the water for fishing also ensures that there are enough sardines remaining in the sea to feed and support wildlife that depends on them for survival, including brown pelicans, humpback whales, and sea lions. These decisions will also strengthen and speed up the rebuilding of sardine populations as ocean conditions become more favorable which, at greater abundance, have the potential to provide healthy seafood meals for many people as well.

March, 2017

New Pact Commits Nations to Rebuilding a Healthy Mediterranean Sea

Ministers and high-level representatives from Mediterranean countries signed a historic declaration to address the fisheries crisis in the region. The ministerial declaration, Malta MedFish4Ever, will be the blueprint for cooperation and the sustainable development of fisheries for all coastal states in the Mediterranean over the next 10 years. For years, Oceana has campaigned for catch limits, better enforcement and habitat protections in order to rebuild depleted Mediterranean fish stocks. A recent study commissioned by Oceana revealed that Mediterranean catches could increase by 200 percent in some areas if managed effectively. The MedFish4Ever agreement is a critical political commitment to rebuilding Mediterranean fisheries.  

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