Oceana campaigns in the countries that control one-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch in order to win policy victories that can increase biodiversity in our oceans and deliver more seafood to the future.
What animal protein requires no fresh water, produces little carbon dioxide, doesn’t require arable land and provides healthy protein at a cost per pound lower than beef, chicken, lamb or pork, making it accessible to the world’s poor? The answer: wild fish.
Unfortunately, studies show that irresponsible fishing has reduced many wild fish populations to historically low levels right at the moment when the world needs its oceans more than ever.
There are already 7 billion people on Earth, and this figure is expected to grow to a staggering 9 billion people by 2050. The planet must produce 70% more food to meet the coming hunger needs, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Right now, 795 million people on this planet suffer from hunger, and we don’t have enough arable land and fresh water to feed 2 billion more without incurring severe losses to the natural world.
But there is a solution. Studies show that by implementing better and proven management measures we can potentially increase the global fish catch by up to 15% from current levels. We can rebuild ocean biodiversity and abundance and be able to feed a billion people a healthy seafood meal each day.
What Oceana Does
Winning policy change that can increase ocean biodiversity and abundance
Oceana runs campaigns to win policy change proven to increase abundance and biodiversity, such as: stopping overfishing through the establishment of science-based catch limits, reducing bycatch, or the incidental catch of non-targeted animals, and protecting important marine habitat.
Oceana’s Country-by-Country Approach
International action through the United Nations and other global bureaucratic bodies is difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Instead, Oceana focuses on the countries that control the world’s fish catch. Just 29 countries and the European Union are responsible for more than 90% of the world’s fish catch. Oceana is already campaigning in countries that control about one-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch.
August 31, 2023
Philippines Requires Rebuilding of Sardine Fisheries
Following campaigning by Oceana and our allies, the Philippine government announced it will require all 12 of the country’s fisheries management areas (FMAs) to implement a national plan to rebuild sardine fisheries by March 2024. Sardines are a key resource in the Philippines, accounting for 15% of the total fish catch and the nation’s marine fisheries. They are also an affordable, nutrient-rich protein, making them a popular choice in many Filipino households. This high commercial demand, however, has led to rampant overfishing and population decline. Oceana advocated for this science-based management plan, which was approved in 2020, to help restore the health and long-term abundance of the species. The comprehensive plan includes rules for catching sardines, closed seasons, and limits on juvenile catch. It also requires measures to empower artisanal fishers, such as opportunities for fishers to generate alternative income during closed seasons. Oceana will continue to work with artisanal fishers, coastal communities, and governmental officials to ensure the plan is properly implemented across the FMAs.
May 26, 2023
Peru Passes New Law to Protect its Oceans and Artisanal Fishers
Peru’s Congress unanimously passed a new law to strengthen protections for the first five miles off the country’s coast and support Peru’s artisanal fishers. This coastal area is one of the most productive in the world, playing a fundamental role in the life cycle of the area’s marine species. The law will reinforce the ban on large-scale industrial fishing within the first five nautical miles and prohibit any gear that is harmful to the habitat and seafloor. Specifically, boats using mechanized gear like purse seines can no longer be classified as “artisanal” and are prohibited from using this destructive gear within the first three miles off the coast. Additionally, the law requires science-based fishing quotas to be established and orders new measures to recover overfished species. This victory, which was won thanks to steadfast campaigning by artisanal fishers and their allies, including Oceana, will help support ocean abundance, biodiversity, and livelihoods in Peru.
April 14, 2022
New Safeguards Set by Canadian Government Can Help Rebuild Fish Stocks
In a major turning point for the future abundance of Canada’s wild fish, the Canadian government released new rules that legally require depleted fish populations to be rebuilt. These requirements fall under the Fisheries Act, which Oceana successfully campaigned to amend in 2019. Oceana Canada and its allies advocated for robust rules to guide the recovery of Canada’s fish populations, of which less than a third are considered healthy. Thirty stocks are listed in the new safeguards, and 16 of those are in the “critical zone.” The requirements set a target, timeline, and course of action for stock rebuilding, contributing to more sustainable fisheries, healthy coastal communities, and a more abundant ocean
October 10, 2019
California Protects Small Fish Critical to Ocean Health and Abundance
The California Fish and Game Commission adopted a first-of-its-kind Fishery Management Plan for Pacific herring, a small fish critical to ocean food chains that provides nutrition to marine life, seabirds, and marine mammals. This plan comes after seven years of Oceana working with allies and government officials to create a new, sustainable fishery management framework that will protect herring as a vital food source and ensure its abundance into the future.
June 18, 2019
Canada Passes New Fisheries Act: A Historic Win for Canada’s Oceans
Canada’s new Fisheries Act, passed into law on June 18, 2019, requires, for the first time in Canada’s history, science-based rebuilding of all depleted fish populations. The passage of this modernized law puts Canada on the path to restoring its oceans to abundance.
May 23, 2019
Chile Publishes Vessel Tracking Data for Fishing Fleet, Promoting Transparency at Sea
The Chilean government signed an agreement to make its vessel tracking data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch (GFW). This means that 700 fishing vessels and more than 800 vessels serving Chile’s aquaculture industry will be visible on GFW’s website, which tracks the movements of commercial fishing vessels in near real-time. The agreement, which was made between Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service and GFW, demonstrates Chile’s commitment to greater transparency in fishing and is the result of Oceana’s collaboration with the Chilean government.
January 11, 2019
Chile Passes One of World’s Strongest Laws Against Illegal Fishing
After campaigning by Oceana and our allies, Chile passed a new law to fight illegal fishing. The new law extends criminal liability for illegal fishing to transporters, processors, vendors and other middlemen – where the most money from criminal activity is to be made – while legalizing subsistence and survival fishing. Oceana advocated for modernization of the law for three years and introduced one of its key components: mandating that the government make publicly accessible the fishing vessels tracking data it collects.
January 1, 2019
The Philippines Create Science-based Fisheries Management Areas
The Philippines government formally established Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) making Filipino fisheries management science-based, participatory, transparent, and data-driven. The policy regulation directs all coastal, local governments to conserve and sustainably manage shared fishery resources. Oceana was a driving force in the issuance of the regulation. This regulation also comes after an October 2018 Oceana lawsuit.
December 13, 2018
The Philippines Protects 266,000 Square Kilometers of Ocean from Bottom Trawling
In the Philippines, following Oceana’s campaign, the government banned bottom trawling in all municipal waters. The area protected is roughly equivalent to the landmass of the entire country. Bottom trawlers destroy habitat, which includes ocean nurseries, by dragging heavily weighted nets across the ocean floor in pursuit of fish and leaving behind damage that can last centuries.
September 12, 2018
Brazil Stops Destructive Bottom Trawling in 13,000 Square Kilometers of Ocean That Is Home To Endangered Species
After campaigning by Oceana and our allies, the government of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, passed a law to ban existing bottom trawling. These new protections extend along the entire length of the state’s 620-kilometer coast and cover a distance out to 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) from shore. The ban protects waters that are important to artisanal fishers and home to many endangered species.
May 16, 2018
Brazil Introduces First-Ever Management Rules for Tainha, Begins Science-Based Management of Fisheries
For the first time, the country’s tainha fishery (Brazil’s most important fishery) will be governed by scientific management, including stock assessments and catch limits. When Oceana first arrived, Brazil collected almost no fisheries data and had no catch limits for any ocean fish, leading to overfishing and declining stocks. Oceana successfully brought together government officials, scientists and small-scale and commercial fishers to introduce some much-needed, science-based policymaking into Brazil’s oceans.
July 7, 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.
May 20, 2015
Amended Fisheries Code Becomes Law in the Philippines
Republic Act 10654, which amends the Philippine Fisheries Code, became law in February 2015 after Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III allowed amendments to the 1998 Philippine Fisheries Code to lapse into law — a deliberate inaction in the Philippines that allows items to become law. Under RA 10654, which cracks down on illegal fishing and helps rebuild fisheries, sanctions have been raised to as high as $45 million (PHP) for commercial fishing violators and $2.4 million (PHP) for poachers. Additionally, the amendments call for the installation of a Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) system on all flagged Philippine fishing vessels that help identify commercial vessels operating illegally in Philippine waters, and call for it to be unlawful to intentionally tamper with, switch off or disable the vessel monitoring system.. By passing these amendments, the Philippines avoided penalties by the European Union for failing to meet its standards on sustainable fishing practices.
February 25, 2014
Chile Establishes Science-based Fishing Quotas
In late December, the Chilean government announced the first set of science-backed quotas for 2014. With guidance from scientific committees, the Chilean government set quotas for four critical species of fish: common hake, anchoveta, sardines, and jack mackerel. The reductions are dramatic—the government reduced the quota for common hake by 55 percent, for anchoveta by 65 percent in specific regions, and for sardines by 29 percent in specific regions. Chile’s first science-informed quotas are a tremendous step toward reforming fisheries and ensuring that the oceans remain a plentiful source of food.
February 6, 2013
Dramatic Reforms for Europe’s Fisheries
The European Parliament approved major reforms to the Common Fishery Policy, a law that manages all European fisheries. Members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a comprehensive reform policy that includes amendments – many of which were drafted by Oceana – that require member states to fish all stocks at sustainable levels by 2015 and comply with a strong EU-wide discard ban, and puts an end to the practice of “discards”, throwing dead unwanted fish back into the sea. Oceana campaigned for years to make sure that this once in a decade opportunity to reform the failed EU fisheries policy was not wasted.
November 27, 2012
Chilean Senate Passes Sweeping Fisheries Measures
The Chilean senate passed sweeping new regulations that establish a more robust, science based fisheries regulatory regimen. The new laws will close all 118 of Chile’s seamounts to bottom trawling, impose science-based fishing quotas and drastically reduce the incidental capture and discard of unwanted species by improving monitoring on Chilean fishing vessels. Oceana has been pushing for all of these changes for years, and during the passage of this historic legislation our work was acknowledged by several senators as well as the Chilean Minister of the Economy.
October 18, 2010
Chile Reduces Jack Mackerel Overfishing
The Chilean government announced a drastic reduction in the fishing quota for jack mackerel and other fisheries, starting in 2011. The decision came after Oceana sent the Minister of Economy a report analyzing the annual quota set for jack mackerel during the past 10 years.
The study, put together with data that Oceana obtained through Chile’s Freedom of Information Act, shows that between 2003 and 2010 the National Fisheries Council set the annual quota for jack mackerel at higher catch limits than was recommended by the Institute for Fisheries Development. In fact, in 2009 the quota was 87 percent higher than what was recommended by the agency.
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