Non campaign: Marine Wildlife
Many at-risk marine animals face pressure from overfishing, climate change and habitat destruction. For example, endangered sea turtles are caught as bycatch by fishing boats around the world, while threatened shark populations are plummeting, killed largely for their fins.
Oceana campaigns to protect marine creatures whose futures are at risk from irresponsible fishing, including sharks, turtles and marine mammals. Many populations are in decline because they are caught as bycatch, and because overfishing and destructive fishing decimates their food sources and habitat. The disappearance of keystone and ecologically important species, like sharks, can impact the health and future viability of marine ecosystems.
In addition to protecting marine life from dangerous fishing practices, Oceana also works to keep them safe from offshore energy exploration. For example, Oceana campaigns to keep the U.S. Atlantic Coast safe from seismic airgun blasting, which could threaten the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale and negatively impact dolphin populations. And while Oceana advocates for cleaner energy sources like offshore wind, Oceana urges that wind turbines be installed in a safe manner that minimizes harmful impacts on marine life.
Lawsuit Filed to Protected Steller Sea Lions
Documenting Biodiversity around the Canary Islands
5 Steps to Help Protect the Oceans
Drift Gillnets and Sperm Whales
What Oceana Does
Leatherback Sea Turtles and Sperm Whales Protected from Drift Gillnets
The Pacific Fishery Management Council recently voted to halt consideration of proposals to expand the use of drift gillnets into the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area, as well as other critical areas for these endangered sea turtles. Used to target swordfish and thresher sharks in waters off California, drift gillnets entangle and often drown a myriad of marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks and recreationally important fish. Between May 2007 to January 2013, the drift gillnet fishery discarded 61 percent of all marine animals caught in this gear type. Now the Council is considering cleaning up the fishery by placing hard caps on the numbers of several protected species that can be injured or killed before operations are shut down. In June the Council also set a target to require 100 percent monitoring to account for all catch and bycatch. Although this is major progress, Oceana will continue to push for transitioning to cleaner fishing gears to catch swordfish.
Shark Finning Banned in EU Waters
After campaigning by Oceana, the European Union banned shark finning by requiring that sharks caught in European waters or by European vessels have to be landed with their fins still naturally attached. The new regulation ends a nearly-long decade battle to close several enforcement loopholes that had weakened the previous EU policy against shark finning. In particular, an exemption used only by Spain and Portugal had allowed some vessels to remove shark fins at sea, which made it extremely difficult even to detect when finning had occurred.