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 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 U.S.
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.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Protect Two Critically Depleted Forage Fish
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has protected two critically depleted species – Atlantic mackerel and Southern Gulf spring herring – by closing the commercial and bait fisheries. Oceana Canada advocated for fishery rebuilding measures to be implemented and called for the closure of both fisheries. Atlantic mackerel and Southern Gulf spring herring play a crucial role in the Northwest Atlantic ecosystem and feed many other species, including whales, seabirds, and commercially important stocks such as cod and tuna. DFO’s decision – a difficult but necessary measure – contributes to the conservation of these forage fish and the long-term prosperity of Canada’s fisheries.
Coca-Cola Pledges to Reduce Single-Use Bottles, Increase Refillables
In a victory that could dramatically reduce ocean plastic pollution, The Coca-Cola Company committed to sell 25% of its products in reusable packaging by 2030 – up from an estimated current share of 16%. Refillable bottles are the primary form of reusable packaging that Coca-Cola uses, and they can be refilled and resold 30 to 50 times. This decision follows campaigning by Oceana and its allies and, if met, could take the equivalent of 1 billion single-use PET liter bottles out of the ocean every year. Coca-Cola, which sells one out of every five soft drinks globally, is the largest contributor to ocean plastic pollution by brand, according to a Break Free From Plastic report. An Oceana analysis found that just a 10% increase in the market share of refillable bottles in all coastal countries could keep up to 7.6 billion plastic bottles out of the ocean each year.
Philippines Government Protects Marine Ecosystems and Fishers From Harmful Coastal Development Projects
A national agency in the Philippines issued an order to better protect the ocean and local communities from harmful land reclamation projects along the coast. Dubbed “dump-and-fill,” these development projects can threaten marine biodiversity, hurt fisherfolk and food security, and remove natural buffers — such as mangroves — that protect communities from waves and typhoons. On February 17, the Department of the Interior and Local Government determined that all projects by local governments must comply with the Philippine Environmental Impact Assessment System Act, Fisheries Code, and other environmental laws before they are approved. This decision is a direct result of campaigning by Oceana and its allies, who drew national attention to dump-and-fill projects that were being approved without proper environmental assessments and compliance with legal requirements, such as genuine public consultations.
Endangered Shortfin Mako Shark Gets a Fighting Chance at Survival with New Protections
The North Atlantic shortfin mako shark, which has been classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species since 2019, is now protected from fishing for two years. Specifically, fishers are prohibited from keeping any short fin mako sharks they catch, as well as shipping them or landing them at any port. Many longline fishers targeting swordfish and tuna also catch mako sharks, often keeping them to sell commercially. The decision, which was made by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), will allow the species to begin to recover. This victory would not be possible without campaigning from Oceana and our allies, who rallied support for the ban from U.S Members of Congress and government officials.
New Law in New York State Will Reduce Plastic Pollution in Hotels
New York state enacted an Oceana-backed law will reduce plastic pollution in hotels by prohibiting small plastic bottles of personal care products for guests. These bottles contribute to the 33 billion pounds of plastic that pollute the ocean each year. This action made New York the sixth state to enact an Oceana-supported plastic reduction bill in 2021. To pass the bill through the state legislature, Oceana played an integral role in lobbying legislators and engaging online activists and coalition partners.
Mexico Ushers in Greater Transparency by Publicly Tracking Fishing Vessel Activity
The Mexican government released its fishing vessel data on a publicly available government portal and on Global Fishing Watch (GFW), a platform that monitors fishing vessels worldwide using satellite technology. This victory greatly increases transparency in the industry by allowing the public to monitor where, when, and how often fishing vessels in Mexico’s seas are operating. This victory would not be possible without campaigning by Oceana and our allies. Oceana first requested fishing vessel data from the government in 2018 but was denied. Oceana successfully appealed the decision to the National Institute of Information Access (INAI) and the government’s fisheries agency delivered fishing vessel data from 2012 to June 2018 to Oceana. The agency has since published more data on an online portal and will continue to update the data monthly. GFW, which was co-founded by Oceana, has uploaded Mexico’s data from 2020 and is awaiting data for 2021 and 2022. Based on this newly released data, Oceana published a report in May 2021 that found 236 instances of possible illegal fishing in seven of the country’s marine protected areas.
Brazil Publishes Vessel Tracking Data for its Commercial Fishing Fleet
Brazil’s industrial fishing vessel data were made publicly available through the Global Fishing Watch (GFW), a platform founded by Oceana, Google, and SkyTruth. This will allow anyone in the world to monitor more than 1,400 fishing vessels in real-time for free on the GFW platform. The data available on GFW follows campaigning by Oceana in Brazil to increase transparency and traceability at sea and combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. The victory also follows the launch of the OpenTuna initiative, developed with support from Oceana and GFW, which publicizes tracking data from Brazil’s tuna fleet on the OpenTuna website.
California Enhances Protections for Endangered Pacific Leatherbacks
California designated the Western Pacific population of leatherback sea turtles as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Pacific leatherbacks are the most endangered sea turtle in the Pacific Ocean with their population having declined 95% over the last 30 years. The added California designation will enhance efforts by the state to study, protect, and recover these turtles and their habitat. The CESA listing follows campaigning by Oceana and allies and recent regulations in California to reduce the risk of entanglements to Pacific leatherbacks, blue whales, and humpback whales in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The regulations also allow for approved alternative fishing gear that lowers the risk of entanglement, such as “pop-up” gear, to be used in areas closed to conventional gear.