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.
More than 140,000 Square Miles of U.S. West Coast Seafloor Habitat Protected from Destructive Fishing
NOAA Fisheries issued final regulations to protect more than 140,000 square miles of living seafloor habitat off the U.S. West Coast from destructive bottom trawling, following campaigning by Oceana and allies. With this victory, 90% of the seafloor in U.S. waters off the West Coast will be safe from bottom trawling. These regulations will protect corals, sponges, rocky reefs, and other important habitat for marine life and ocean ecosystems.
California Protects Small Fish Critical to Ocean Health and Abundance
The California Fish and Game Commission adopted a first-of-its-kind Fishery Management Plan for Pacific herring, a small fish critical to ocean food chains that provides nutrition to marine life, seabirds, and marine mammals. This plan comes after seven years of Oceana working with allies and government officials to create a new, sustainable fishery management framework that will protect herring as a vital food source and ensure its abundance into the future.
U.S. Approves New Sustainable Fishing Gear to Provide Alternative to “Walls Of Death” off the U.S. West Coast
The Pacific Fishery Management Council has legally authorized deep-set buoy gear—an innovative fishing gear designed to successfully and sustainability catch swordfish off the U.S. West Coast. Unlike drift gillnets, which are a highly indiscriminate and wasteful fishing practice often used to catch swordfish, deep-set buoy gear will avoid deadly harm to marine mammals and sea turtles. This victory follows more than eight years of advocacy from Oceana in support of deep-set buoy gear, which has proven to be a better environmental and financial alternative.
Canada Bans Import and Export of Shark Fins, First of G20 Countries
Canada, following a significant grassroots effort by Oceana, became the first G20 country to ban the import and export of shark fins. The practice of shark finning has been illegal in Canadian waters for years; however, Canada was the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia. Oceana’s campaign generated more than 300,000 petition signatures and thousands of emails and phone calls to members of Parliament calling on them to protect sharks. This ban is part of Canada’s new Fisheries Act.
Canada Passes New Fisheries Act: A Historic Win for Canada’s Oceans
Canada’s new Fisheries Act, passed into law on June 18, 2019, requires, for the first time in Canada’s history, science-based rebuilding of all depleted fish populations. The passage of this modernized law puts Canada on the path to restoring its oceans to abundance.
Chile Publishes Vessel Tracking Data for Fishing Fleet, Promoting Transparency at Sea
The Chilean government signed an agreement to make its vessel tracking data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch (GFW). This means that 700 fishing vessels and more than 800 vessels serving Chile’s aquaculture industry will be visible on GFW’s website, which tracks the movements of commercial fishing vessels in near real-time. The agreement, which was made between Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service and GFW, demonstrates Chile’s commitment to greater transparency in fishing and is the result of Oceana’s collaboration with the Chilean government.
New York Protects Coast from Offshore Drilling
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to prohibit the exploration, development and production of offshore oil and gas in New York waters. The law also prohibits any infrastructure to support drilling off New York’s coast, and prevents the state’s agencies from taking regulatory actions to facilitate oil and gas production in federal waters. The Trump administration had proposed plans to open much of the United States’ East Coast to oil and gas exploration and development.
Canadian Government Bans Industrial Activity in Marine Protected Areas
Canada adopted new standards that ban industrial activities such as oil and gas, waste dumping, mining, and destructive bottom-contact fishing activity in newly created marine protected areas (MPAs), bringing Canada in line with international best practices. In the past few years, Canada has been protecting more of its ocean, but within some of these areas, industrial activities, including oil and gas, were still permitted. The new standards help protect fragile habitats that provide nursery, spawning, and feeding areas for marine wildlife from harmful practices.
Oceana Wins Lawsuit to Protect Vulnerable Dusky Sharks
A federal judge ruled that the federal government has to do more to reduce the killing of dusky sharks as a result of bycatch – the capture of non-target fish and ocean wildlife. The ruling, in response to an Oceana lawsuit in which we were represented by Earthjustice, found that the government failed to use all available scientific evidence. Dusky shark populations off the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts have plummeted by at least 65% in the past two decades as a result of bycatch. Dusky sharks can live as long as a half a century and are greatly impacted by overfishing as they grow and reproduce slowly.
Washington Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags
Washington state’s plastic bag ban, which took effect on October 1,2021, reduces ocean-bound plastic pollution by prohibiting retailers from providing single-use plastic bags. Retailers can provide paper bags or reusable plastic bags for an 8-cent fee. Plastic bags are one of the most common waste items that entangle and harm marine life. Sea turtles and other marine life often mistake plastic bags for food, which can prove deadly. Thanks to campaigning by Oceana and allies, this ban will help protect marine life in the region.