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.
Brazil Introduces First-Ever Management Rules for Tainha, Begins Science-Based Management of Fisheries
For the first time, the country’s tainha fishery (Brazil’s most important 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.
More than 362,000 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 362,000 square miles of seafloor (an area equivalent to the size of Germany) 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.
Chile Protects Juan Fernández Islands and Wildlife Found Nowhere Else on Earth
In a huge victory for Oceana and our allies, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet protected 262,000 square kilometers of ocean surrounding the Juan Fernandez Islands (and area larger than the landmass of the United Kingdom). 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. As a result of the Juan Fernandez announcement and other closures resulting from campaigns by Oceana and its allies, 25% of Chile’s ocean is now protected as no-take marine parks.
Chile announces protection for the remarkable fjords of Tortel
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. Now, thanks to these protections, Tortel will be protected from salmon farming and other development that could irreparably damage this unique ecosystem.
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 sevenyears 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Philippines Appoints a Special Prosecutor to Prosecute Illegal Commercial Fishing in One of the Country’s Largest Marine Protected Areas
The government of the Philippines named a special prosecutor to pursue cases related to illegal fishing in the Tañon Strait, one of the largest MPAs in the Philippines. The Tañon Strait, a 161-kilometer strip dividing the provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, is one of the largest and most productive marine regions of the Philippines. It accounts for 63 percent of the country’s coral species, plus 14 types of whale and dolphin. Despite its nearly two decades as a protected area, the Tañon Strait remained under constant pressure from illegal commercial fishing due to ineffective law enforcement. The appointment of a special prosecutor follows several other new enforcement measures for the Tañon Strait, including the use of vessel monitoring measures. The new special prosecutor has already received her first case. Oceana campaigns for responsible fisheries management throughout the Philippines and is a key force in driving protection and better management for the Tañon Strait plus other municipal waters.
Peru Agrees to Publish Vessel Tracking Data Through Global Fishing Watch to Help Fight Illegal Fishing
The government of Peru followed through on its commitment to make its national vessel tracking data publicly available by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. The initial commitment, which was the result of Oceana’s collaboration with the Peruvian government to increase transparency of commercial fishing in Peru’s waters, was announced at the Ocean Conference hosted by the United Nations in June of 2017. The signed Memorandum will start the process to make Peru’s Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch, which provides the first global view of commercial fishing activity. This commitment matters because Peru, one of the most globally significant fishing nations and home to an enormous anchovy fishery (historically the world’s largest), has committed to making its fishing fleet truly transparent. Peru’s VMS data will add information from thousands of vessels to Global Fishing Watch, making it easier to identify, track and stop illegal fishing in Peru’s oceans and empower the government to enforce its laws effectively.