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.

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.

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.

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