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.

June, 2018

Malta Expands Habitat Protections in Mediterranean

The government of Malta has announced the designation or expansion of eight marine protected areas in the Mediterranean. This announcement is the result of Oceana efforts that began in 2013, and the protections are based on the findings of two Oceana expeditions (2015 and 2016 LIFE BaĦAR Expeditions). Oceana mapped out sandbanks, reefs and more than 89 marine caves through use of a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and scuba divers. After collecting and analyzing 310 hours of ROV footage and thousands of photos, we delivered a list of proposed sites for protection to the Maltese government that included seagrass meadows, bamboo coral gardens and habitat for cnidarians, sponges, a variety of other invertebrates and fish. With these new measures, 35 percent of Malta’s waters are now protected. As a designation made under the Natura 2000 framework, national authorities are now responsible for drafting a management plan within six years – a key step toward ensuring the continued protection of these areas.

May, 2018

Philippines Creates Benham Bank Protected Area to Safeguard Unique Habitat, Corals and More

After campaigning by Oceana and its allies, the Philippines government created a marine protected area in Benham Bank, declaring 50,000 hectares as a strict protection zone where only scientific research will be permitted, as well as an additional 300,000 hectare Fisheries Management Area where active fishing gear will be banned. Oceana’s 2016 expedition documented the stunning biodiversity and abundance in the region, and these new measures will help protect marine life including mesophotic (twilight) coral reefs, whales, dolphins, sharks, rays and sea turtles. The area is also a spawning area for Pacific bluefin tuna, one of the most valuable fish on Earth.

May, 2018

Brazil Introduces First-Ever Management Rules for Tainha, Begins Science-Based Management of Its Fisheries

The government’s publishing of management rules for the tainha (mullet) fishery for the 2018 season mark a significant victory for Oceana and its allies in Brazil. For the first time, the country’s critical tainha 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.

April, 2018

More Than 140,000 Square Miles of Fragile Seafloor Habitats Protected From Destructive Bottom Trawling off U.S. Pacific Coast

In a unanimous vote, the Pacific Fishery Management Council acted to protect more than 140,000 square miles of seafloor from bottom trawling, a destructive fishing practice in which heavy fishing gear is dragged across the seabed. This action will safeguard a unique variety of coral gardens, sponge beds, rocky reefs, and deep-sea ecosystems that provide nurseries, food and shelter for many species — including lingcod, sablefish, flatfish, sharks, rays and more than 60 species of rockfish — important for both ocean abundance and commercial and recreational fishing. This victory for ocean diversity will more than double the area of protected seafloor in U.S. waters off California, Oregon, and Washington.  The fishery council's action will also restore fishing opportunities by opening some historic fishing grounds that were previously closed to bottom trawling while overfished rockfish populations recovered. This outcome comes after a decade of campaigning by Oceana and its allies and builds on previous  work which secured more than 135,000 square miles of West Coast seafloor protections in 2006. Once these new measures are implemented, more than 90 percent of the U.S. West Coast's Exclusive Economic Zone (3-200 miles from shore) will be protected from bottom trawling.

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 seven 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.

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