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.
New Rule in the United States Requires Seafood Traceability from Boat-to-Plate
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule requiring traceability of high-risk foods, including most seafood. Now, businesses must track most seafood from the point of landing through the supply chain to the final point of sale. These new changes will help curb seafood fraud, which occurs regularly, cheats consumers, and puts public health and the oceans in jeopardy. Oceana and our allies campaigned for years for a strong boat-to-plate traceability rule from the FDA, including securing support from members of Congress and Wavemakers.
Peru Protects Sharks and Other Marine Species from Illegal Trafficking
Peru’s Congress enacted a law that now includes illegal wildlife trafficking in the country’s Law Against Organized Crime. Oceana and our allies were instrumental in achieving this victory, which will help protect hundreds of aquatic and terrestrial species, including sharks, which are highly prized for their fins in the illicit trade. Thirty tons of shark parts were seized in Peru in 2018 alone. With this new inclusion, Peru is the first South American country to declare illegal wildlife trafficking as a form of organized crime. This victory will give Peruvian authorities more legal tools to enforce the law and penalize those operating criminal networks.
Brazil’s Leading Food Delivery Service, iFood, Commits to Additional Single-Use Plastic Reductions
Brazil’s largest home food delivery service, iFood, committed to reduce additional single-use plastic packaging throughout its operations, expanding earlier reduction targets to include polystyrene foam containers, plastic sachets, and plastic bags. In total, the company plans to eliminate 2.7 billion single-use plastic items by 2025. These ubiquitous single-use plastic items often become pollution and can harm marine life and ecosystems if they enter the oceans. This victory follows campaigning from Oceana and the United Nations Environment Program’s Clean Seas Campaign. In 2021, iFood publicly committed to an 80% reduction in plastic cutlery, plates, cups, straws, and napkins included in orders by 2025.
Chilean Court Rules in Favor of Oceana, Orders Salmon Farming Company to Release Antibiotics Data
Chile’s Constitutional Court ruled in Oceana’s favor and against a salmon farming company that previously denied Oceana access to data on its antibiotic use. Following the Court’s ruling, the salmon farming company Mowi is now required to provide Oceana with access to data on its use of antibiotics. This victory comes after years of Oceana campaigning with our allies against the expansion of salmon farming in Patagonian Chile, a biologically rich marine ecosystem. Salmon farms are often destructive – the waste generated by enormous numbers of fish packed into pens can devastate marine environments. The high density of fish often leads to disease and consequently, excessive use of antibiotics in feed, which is then released into the oceans where it can harm marine life. Bacterial resistance is also a consequence of excessive use of antibiotics in farming and can threaten marine and human health.
U.S. State of California Enacts Boldest Plastic Pollution Reduction Policy in the Nation
In the United States, California enacted the strongest plastic source reduction policy in the nation, following bipartisan support in the state legislature. The law requires producers to slash their single-use plastic packaging and foodware by at least 25% by 2032 and implement the first statewide reuse and refill mandates in the nation. This victory will shift the burden of plastic pollution in the state back on producers, who will be required to pay $5 billion over 10 years in environmental mitigation funds, the majority of which directly address plastic’s harms to disadvantaged, low-income, and rural communities who have been disproportionately impacted by plastic production, use, and pollution. Campaigning by Oceana and our allies was a critical part in achieving this significant step that will help protect our oceans, communities, and climate. While there will continue to be a need to reduce beyond the 25% mandated in this new law, and to invest in tools such as regenerative agriculture to help reduce the worst impacts of pollution and climate change, this law represents a powerful step that other states, and even nations, can use to build their plastics reduction programs.
Canada Eliminates Production, Sale, and Export of Six Types of Ocean-Polluting Single-Use Plastics
In a significant victory for our oceans, the Canadian government has announced it will phase out some of the most commonly found plastics polluting Canada’s shorelines and oceans by the end of 2023. Production, sale and exports of plastic bags, cutlery, stir sticks, six-pack rings, straws, and some plastic takeout containers will be eliminated. Oceana and our allies have been instrumental in advocating for this and other policies to reduce plastic pollution since 2019. Combined, the items banned will remove 33 billion units of single-use plastics from the waste stream, some of which entered the oceans every year and that harm marine animals like seabirds, whales, and turtles. Oceana will continue campaigning to ensure more harmful plastic products are added to the ban list.
U.S National Parks Protected from Single-Use Plastics
The U.S. Department of the Interior will phase out single-use plastics in national parks and other public lands, which will reduce the procurement, sale, and distribution of single-use plastic products and packaging in 423 national parks, including 88 ocean and coastal parks. This victory follows campaigning by Oceana and our allies, who have been campaigning for plastic-free national parks for years. Oceana and over 300 organizations and businesses sent a letter in 2021 to the U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland calling for a ban on the sale and distribution of plastic foam products and other unnecessary single-use plastic items — including bottles, bags, cups, plates, bowls, and utensils — in our national parks.
U.S. State of Maine Rejects Permit from Harmful Fish Farm
Following campaigning by Oceana and our allies, the U.S. state of Maine’s coastal waters were protected from a monster fish farm proposal. Maine’s government rejected the Norwegian-based company American Aquafarms’ permit, halting construction for at least a few years. The proposal, located in Frenchman Bay near the shoreline of Acadia National Park, would be the largest ocean-pen salmon farm in North America. If built, it would pollute Maine’s pristine waters and marine ecosystem with more than 4 billion gallons of polluted wastewater every day. This area draws in millions of tourists each year, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the state annually. The proposed fish farm would threaten the economy and those who rely on the bay for food, jobs, and a cherished way of life. Oceana is continuing to campaign for permanent protection for Frenchman Bay and Maine’s coastal waters.
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
New At-Sea Monitoring Requirements Will Strengthen Accountability and Abundance of Groundfish Fishery in Northeast United States
In the United States, the National Marine Fisheries Service approved a final rule that requires all fishing in the New England (Northeast) groundfish fishery to be accompanied by professionally trained at-sea monitors or electronic systems to gather first-hand data about what is being caught and discarded at sea. This victory would not have been possible without Oceana and our allies, who campaigned for years for greater observer coverage levels for this fishery, which has suffered from decades of overfishing and excessive uncounted bycatch. This change is critical for the proper oversight of the 13 species in this fisheries management plan and will ensure that catch is counted and accounted for so that science-based catch limits can be properly set and enforced. Setting appropriate catch limits can in turn increase abundance in this important fishery.