Oceana Begins Campaign Against Harmful Fishing Methods | Oceana

Oceana Begins Campaign Against Harmful Fishing Methods

Press Release Date: October 6, 2009

Location: Washington


Anna Baxter | email: abaxter@oceana.org
Anna Baxter

Oceana this month launched its “Endangered Seas” campaign against scallop dredging, bottom trawling and other destructive fishing methods. The campaign, one of three Oceana is waging this year, is part of Oceana’s continuing effort to protect the world’s oceans and their habitats.

“Each year, destructive fishing practices bulldoze and strip-mine an area of the ocean floor as big as Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut combined,” said Phil Kline, Fisheries Policy and Program manager at Oceana. “These practices not only destroy fragile, essential ocean habitat, but they kill thousands of pounds of fish, sea plants and other creatures every year.”

Recent studies show that scallop dredging and other bottom trawling techniques remove nearly 80 percent of most marine species that live on the ocean bottom in just one pass of the dredge. In chronically dredged areas, virtually all seafloor life is removed in the search for scallops. Groundfish such as cod, haddock and flounder are particularly hard-hit. These fish, staples of the fishing industry, are in danger of extinction because of overfishing, scallop dredging and bottom trawling.

Within the fishing industry, scallopers are heralding especially high catches in recent months. “These high catches themselves indicate the severity of the problems on the ocean floor,” Chris Zeman, Northeast Fisheries Program counsel, explained. “Scallops are like cockroaches. They thrive in damaged habitats like those continuously pulverized by dredges and bottom trawls. Scallop populations in those areas can explode even while native populations are killed almost to commercial extinction.”

Oceana is a non-profit international advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans through policy advocacy, science, law and public education. Founded in 2001, Oceana’s constituency includes members and activists from more than 190 countries and territories who are committed to saving the world’s marine environment. In 2002, the American Oceans Campaign became part of Oceana’s international effort to protect ocean eco-systems and sustain the circle of life. Oceana, headquartered in Washington, D.C., has additional offices in key U.S. coastal areas and will open offices in Latin America and Europe in 2003. For more information, visit www.oceana.org.

The following Oceana staff members are available to assist you on issues related to destructive fisheries. Unless otherwise noted, all staff members work in Oceana’s international headquarters office in Washington, D.C., and can be reached at (877)-7-OCEANA. For further information, feel free to visit Oceana’s website at www.Oceana.org.

International Policy Expert
Pep Fuller, Senior International Representative

U.S. Policy Experts
Ted Morton, Federal Policy Director
Phil Kline, Fisheries Policy and Program Expert

North Atlantic
Christopher J. Zeman, New England Fisheries Program Counsel
+1 (201) 263-9756

North Pacific
Jim Ayers, Director of the North Pacific Region Office
Geoff Shester, Fisheries Project Coordinator
+1 (907) 586-4050

Central Pacific
Tim Eichenberg, Senior Policy Advisor
+1 (415) 386-8127

South Pacific
Jorge Valera, Senior Policy Advisor
+1 (939) 467-1939

Science Experts
Michael F. Hirshfield, Vice President for Ocean Science and Economics
Charlotte D. Gray, Marine Wildlife Scientist

Legal Experts
Eric A. Bilsky, Senior Attorney
Monica B. Goldberg, Senior Attorney
Sylvia F. Liu, Senior Attorney