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.
Deep-Sea Trawling Ban Protects 4.9 Million Square Kilometers in European Oceans
Oceana in Europe campaigned with our colleagues in the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition for the prohibition of deep sea bottom trawling in the North East Atlantic waters. This victory provides increased protection for vulnerable marine ecosystems and deep-sea sharks. The European Parliament, Council and Commission reached an agreement that bans all trawling below 800m depth and that stops bottom fishing activity below 400m if the presence of vulnerable marine ecosystems is demonstrated. These actions protect 4.9 million km2 – an area larger than the EU itself.
Chile Announces Density Reduction Plan for Salmon Industry
The Chilean government, after campaigning by Oceana, announced a density reduction plan for the country’s salmon industry. Salmon pens with high density—large numbers of fish in a small space—have been subject to the rapid spread of diseases and parasites. Salmon farming areas with poor sanitary measures and a high prevalence of diseases in the past year will have to reduce their density by half. It is estimated that with effective implementation of this plan, total density will be reduced by one third by the end of 2016, improving sanitary conditions and reducing the risk of disease outbreaks. Oceana has been advocating for the reduction of antibiotics and calling for density reduction and improved sanitary conditions in the industry. Oceana was invited to present before the Commission of Environment in the Chilean Senate regarding malpractice in salmon aquaculture, focusing on high antibiotic use.
Oceana Wins Habitat Protections in the Strait of Sicily
Following campaigning by Oceana, three Fisheries Restricted Areas were created by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) in the Strait of Sicily, protecting 1,493 square km between Italy, Malta and Tunisia from bottom trawling and preserving nursery areas for hake and deep-sea rose shrimp. The commission also prohibited commercial harvest of red coral. These decisions will help protect vulnerable habitats and allow fisheries in these important Mediterranean marine ecosystems to recover.
Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area Closed to Drift Gillnets to Protect Sea Turtles
On May 19, Oceana and its partners requested NOAA Fisheries meet its legal responsibility to close Southern California waters from swordfish drift gillnets to protect endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Unusually warm ocean waters – triggered by El Niño conditions – have brought young loggerhead sea turtles into southern California waters to feast on small, pelagic red crabs. Once the sea turtles arrive off the California coast, they risk drowning from entanglement in mile-long nets. NOAA Fisheries closed the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area on June 1 as requested.
Court of Appeals Orders Sernapesca to Provide Information about Antibiotics Used in the Salmon Farming Industry in Chile
In response to an Oceana filing, the Court of Appeals of Santiago ordered the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service of Chile (Sernapesca) to publish information, disaggregated by company, concerning the use of antibiotics in Chilean salmon farming. Oceana filed a claim for the public disclosure of information after 37 companies and Sernapesca refused to disclose antibiotics data on the grounds of “competitive and business risk.” In compliance with the court order, Sernapesca released a report on company’s use of antibiotics in the salmon farming industry throughout 2015. Although additional information and statistics are needed to thoroughly analyze and assess industry operation, the report’s release sets an important precedent for access to public information. Citizens and stakeholders can use this information to demand more responsible management and aquaculture practices.
U.S. Government Removes Atlantic Ocean from Offshore Drilling Plan
The Obama administration removed the Atlantic Ocean from the five-year program (2017 to 2022) for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf. Along the Atlantic coast, nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation. Oceana built and led a powerful grassroots movement to demonstrate the broad-based and diverse opposition to offshore drilling. As a result, over 110 East Coast municipalities, as well as more than 100 Members of Congress, more than 750 state and local elected officials and approximately 1,100 business interests have publically opposed offshore drilling and/or seismic airgun blasting. Oceana’s organization and mobilization of the people in opposition to offshore drilling led to this major victory for the ocean.
GrubHub Takes Shark Fin Soup Off the Menu
After an online campaign by Oceana and its supporters, GrubHub – the dominant online food ordering company – announced that it would no longer permit restaurants to offer shark fin products through its service. GrubHub’s decision to eliminate shark fin soup from all its menus will help reduce global demand for shark fin products, as the company offers access to menus from more than 35,000 restaurants across 900 cities.
Moratorium and Ban Protects Belizean Marine Resources
The Government of Belize announced its intention to impose a permanent ban on offshore oil exploration along the Belizean barrier reef system and within the country’s seven world heritage sites. The Belizean barrier reef is the largest section of the MesoAmerican barrier reef, the biggest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and home to some of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on the planet.
Shell Abandons Drilling Activity in U.S. Arctic Ocean
Shell Oil announced that it will cease further oil exploration in the U.S. Arctic Ocean for the foreseeable future. The move comes after a series of failed exploration attempts in the Arctic, costing the company billions of dollars. Shell’s efforts to operate in the remote and unforgiving Arctic in 2012 led to a series of mishaps, fines, government investigations and the grounding of the drill rig Kulluk. This year Shell faced new challenges and was unable to find oil in the prospect where the company drilled. Oceana’s campaigners successfully used law, economics, lobbying, science, and the press to clearly make the case that Shell’s plan was neither economically viable nor environmentally safe. Today’s decision is propelled by more than eight years of campaigning by Oceana and its allies whose work charted new ways to stop one of the largest and most powerful companies on the planet from putting the U.S. Arctic Ocean at risk. This is an enormous victory for the oceans, Oceana and the entire conservation community.
Gorringe Bank Protected as a Site of Community Interest
Following ten years of campaigning and Oceana expeditions in 2005, 2011 and 2012, the Portuguese government declared Gorringe Bank a protected Site of Community Interest. This special marine region includes two seamounts, Gettysburg and Ormonde, extending from depths of 28 meters below sea level to more than 5,000 meters. Oceana’s expeditions and research revealed more than 350 species living in this biodiverse zone. Oceana was the first organization to document and photograph Gorringe Bank and drive the campaign for its protection.