Victories | Oceana

Victories

Since 2001, Oceana has achieved hundreds 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.

February, 2018

Chile Protects Juan Fernandez Islands and Wildlife Found Nowhere Else on Earth

In a huge victory for Oceana, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet protected 262,000 square kilometers of ocean surrounding the Juan Fernandez Islands. As documented by Oceana’s expeditions, these islands, among the most biodiverse and productive ocean places on the planet, are home to wildlife found nowhere else on the planet. Oceana worked closely with the local communities and small-scale fishers over several years to win protections for the sea while also preserving their own sustainable lobster and fishing efforts. Oceana also partnered with National Geographic's Pristine Seas project on this closure via joint expeditions, reports and direct advocacy. As a result of the Juan Fernandez announcement and other closures resulting from campaigns by Oceana and it allies, 25 percent of Chile's ocean is now protected as no-take marine parks. This milestone has made Chile a true global leader in ocean conservation.

February, 2018

Chile Announces Protected Area in Tortel to Preserve Pristine Habitat

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet created a protected area encompassing over 6,702 square kilometers around the southern town of Tortel. The proposal to protect Tortel was supported by Oceana over several years, and our five expeditions to the area brought the species hidden below the surface — including Chilean dolphins and colorful sponges and corals — to life. Caleta Tortel is a top destination for visitors to Chile's Patagonia. There are no streets in this small, picturesque town; all the houses are connected by wooden walkways. Two years ago, the fjords at Caleta Tortel were threatened by the installation of salmon fish farms, which often wreak havoc on marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. Now, thanks to these protections, Tortel will be protected from salmon farming and other development that could irreparably damage this unique ecosystem.

January, 2018

Belize bans offshore oil drilling, protecting the largest barrier reef in the Americas

Belize made history when it signed into law a moratorium on offshore oil exploration and drilling in the entirety of Belizean waters, which contain the second largest barrier reef system in the world (and the largest in the Western Hemisphere). This decision was the culmination of over (delete 10) years of campaigning by Oceana and its allies, and by the tens of thousands of Belizeans committed to stopping drilling in their barrier reef. The Belize Barrier Reef – a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996 – is home to nearly 1,400 species and is critical to the livelihood of more than half of Belize’s population due to its central role in Belizean tourism and fishing. 

December, 2017

21 countries and the EU protect endangered cold-water corals throughout the Mediterranean

As a result of Oceana’s advocacy, four deep-sea coral species will now be protected in the Mediterranean. The UN’s Barcelona Convention, a multi-country regional sea convention, voted in favor of adding four additional coral species – cockscomb cup coral, yellow-tree coral, yellow coral and bamboo coral – to the list of endangered or threatened species in the Mediterranean Sea. This action will protect these animals and help to ensure the survival of marine life that live and depend on these underwater coral gardens. The members of the Barcelona convention include: Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, the European Union, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

December, 2017

Chile protects ocean habitat and wildlife, bans bottom trawling in 98 percent of its seas

Liesbeth van der Meer, Oceana’s leader in Chile, sat next to Chile’s Undersecretary of Fisheries, Pablo Berazaluce, as the country announced – in a joint statement with Oceana – that the country would ban bottom trawling in 98 percent of Chile’s waters (specifically in its Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ). This decision puts Chile at the forefront of countries stopping this destructive fishing practice, in which large weighted nets are dragged across the ocean floor, clear-cutting and destroying ocean habitat while also netting tons of other life not targeted by fishermen. This win follows several others protecting Chile’s ocean habitat. In fact, the country has now made 13 percent of its waters “no take” marine areas, up from less than one percent when Oceana began campaigning on these issues.

December, 2017

Canada acts to make the status of fisheries more transparent to its citizens

After campaigning by Oceana and our partners, Fisheries and Oceans Canada released – for the first time – a comprehensive review of the status of Canadian fisheries. The federal government department also announced that it will develop and implement rebuilding plans for 19 fisheries, all to be completed by March 2021. These first steps are major leaps forward for increasing fisheries management transparency and accountability in Canada.

November, 2017

The Philippines appoints a special prosecutor to prosecute illegal commercial fishing in one of the country’s largest marine protected areas

The government of the Philippines named a special prosecutor to pursue cases related to illegal fishing in the Tañon Strait, one of the largest MPAs in the Philippines. The Tañon Strait, a 161-kilometer strip dividing the provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, is one of the largest and most productive marine regions of the Philippines. It accounts for 63 percent of the country’s coral species, plus 14 types of whale and dolphin. Despite its nearly two decades as a protected area, the Tañon Strait remained under constant pressure from illegal commercial fishing due to ineffective law enforcement. The appointment of a special prosecutor follows several other new enforcement measures for the Tañon Strait, including the use of vessel monitoring measures. The new special prosecutor has already received her first case. Oceana campaigns for responsible fisheries management throughout the Philippines and is a key force in driving protection and better management for the Tañon Strait plus other municipal waters.

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.

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