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.
Chile Reduces Jack Mackerel Overfishing
The Chilean government announced a drastic reduction in the fishing quota for jack mackerel and other fisheries, starting in 2011. The decision came after Oceana sent the Minister of Economy a report analyzing the annual quota set for jack mackerel during the past 10 years.
The study, put together with data that Oceana obtained through Chile’s Freedom of Information Act, shows that between 2003 and 2010 the National Fisheries Council set the annual quota for jack mackerel at higher catch limits than was recommended by the Institute for Fisheries Development. In fact, in 2009 the quota was 87 percent higher than what was recommended by the agency.
Chile Creates Marine Reserve Around Salas y Gómez Island
Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera announced the creation of Salas y Gómez Marine Park, a no-take marine reserve of 150,000 square kilometers around Salas y Gómez island. The decision came after a preliminary expedition to Salas y Gómez by Oceana, National Geographic and the Waitt Foundation, in which they found abundant populations of vulnerable species such as sharks and lobsters and unexpectedly high biodiversity in deeper waters.
The new park expands Chile’s total marine protected area more than 100 times, from 0.03% to 4.41%.
Turkey Pledges to Eliminate Driftnets
Following intense campaign work by Oceana, Turkey announced it will stop using drifnets in 2011. Oceana estimates that more than 500 vessels had been operating illegally in the Mediterranean, some with nets up to 12 miles long. In 2009, Oceana identified at least 30 Turkish vessels using driftnets in the Aegean and Mediterranean to target swordfish and bonito, and there are an estimated 70 to 150 vessels operating in the country.
First-Ever Fishing Ban Created for Danish Marine Parks
Thanks to a new regulation by the European Union, Denmark, Germany and Sweden will cease all fishing activity on sensitive bubbling reefs and end fishing with damaging bottom gear (such as bottom trawls) over reefs in protected Danish waters of the Baltic Sea and Kattegat. The new measures are the first of their kind in the Baltic Sea, and were jointly proposed by the three Member States. The regulation covers 10 Natura 2000 protected areas—which are the backbone of marine protected areas in the EU. Oceana has conducted multiple expeditions in the Baltic Sea that exposed the ecological significance of this region, and has campaigned for years for sustainable fishing and habitat protections.
Chile Announces Designation of Largest Marine Park in the Americas
In the fall of 2015, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet announced the creation of the largest marine park in the Americas, Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park. The new park is a no-take zone which extends for 297,518 square kilometers (114,872 square miles), protecting the high level of abundance and biodiversity found in the area surrounding the Desventuradas Islands. Oceana worked closely with leaders (and fishermen) from the Juan Fernandez Islands, federal government representatives and officials in Chile and with National Geographic to achieve this result. In 2013, Oceana and National Geographic organized a joint expedition to film, photograph and report on the remarkable variety and profusion of sea life in the Desventuradas – including lobsters nearly two feet long and weighing close to 15 pounds. Based on the findings from the expedition, Oceana and National Geographic created a comprehensive scientific report and a proposal for the large marine park for which Oceana campaigned for over the next two years. The Desventuradas islands are uninhabited except for a Chilean naval base and when fishermen from the Juan Fernández archipelago travel (more than 800 kilometers) to fish for lobsters. The Juan Fernández community supported the proposal and ultimately presented it to the Chilean government.
Texas Bans Shark Fin Sales
Texas became the 10th state in the U.S. to ban the sale of shark fins after signing a house bill into law. Texas had recently emerged as a hub for shark fins, with the state’s fin trade growing by 240 percent since 2010. This move also makes Texas the first state in the Gulf region to pass a shark fin sale ban, and follows several fin trade bans in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Washington. Shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, but most states still import and export fins. The shark fin trade is largely responsible for millions of shark deaths per year and is significantly driving their decline. Oceana has campaigned against the shark fin trade for years, and has previously won victories at the state and Federal levels to establish and uphold shark fin bans in other states.
Louisiana Now Requires TEDs Enforcement on Shrimp Trawl Vessels
Since 1987, Louisiana has remained the only state to not enforce federal regulations requiring that shrimp otter trawl vessels use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs)—openings in nets that allow turtles to escape when accidentally caught. But in July, Louisiana reversed state law with the passage of House Bill 668, allowing Louisiana state officials to enforce TEDs on shrimp otter trawl vessels. The Louisiana shrimp industry supported the bill, with the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force, made up of industry stakeholders, officially voting in favor of reversing the 1987 law partly to help improve the conservation rating of their shrimp. Oceana has previously exposed the amount of bycatch in the Southeast Shrimp Trawl Fishery, and has worked for years to get Louisiana on board with federal law.
Chile Bans Salmon Farming in Large Pristine Area in Chilean Patagonia
As a direct result of Oceana’s campaigning, The Chilean Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture withdrew its proposal to establish five salmon farms in Tortel, one of the last free from industrial salmon production. Additionally, salmon farming was permanently excluded from the allowed uses for the future in these pristine fjords. The decision comes as a major victory for the people of Tortel and their waters. The proposal caused widespread concern among national and international environmental organizations, tourism-related groups in the Aysen Region and the local Tortel community itself in fear of damaging pristine ecosystems and impairing the tourism-driven economy. The Chilean government withdrew its proposal after citing salmon farming as being inconsistent with the reliance on tourism in the region. Salmon farms can cause pollution, introduce disease into ecosystems and carry implications for human health, and Oceana has long advocated against them in Chile. Oceana applauds the government’s decision, citing that thAs a direct result of Oceana’s campaigning, The Chilean Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture withdrew its proposal to establish five salmon farms in Tortel, one of the last free from industrial salmon production. Additionally, salmon farming was permanently excluded from the allowed uses for the future in these pristine fjords. The decision comes as a major victory for the people of Tortel and their waters. The proposal caused widespread concern among national and international environmental organizations, tourism-related groups in the Aysen Region and the local Tortel community itself in fear of damaging pristine ecosystems and impairing the tourism-driven economy. The Chilean government withdrew its proposal after citing salmon farming as being inconsistent with the reliance on tourism in the region. Salmon farms can cause pollution, introduce disease into ecosystems and carry implications for human health, and Oceana has long advocated against them in Chile. Oceana applauds the government’s decision, citing that they’ve created a path for sustainable development and upholding the desires’ of local people.
Morocco Bans Driftnets
Fifteen years after the UN passed an international moratorium on driftnets, and seven years after the EU instituted a ban, Morocco has passed an amendment banning the use, possession, manufacture or sale of driftnets. The penalty for breaking Morocco’s new law ranges from three months to one year in prison and fines between approximately $550 and $110,000. Oceana has been working in Europe for years to stop the use of this illegal fishing gear in the Mediterranean.
Coal-fired Power Plant Defeated in Northern Chile
Two days after the Regional Environmental Committee of Chile’s Coquimbo Region approved the construction of a coal-fired power plant, Chilean President Sebastiàn Piñera, responding to immense grassroots opposition, requested that Suez Energy relocate it. In addition, he asked his cabinet to review all the industrial projects being considered in the country to see whether they could affect protected areas. Oceana worked to prevent the approval of the thermoelectric coal-fired power plant due to its environmental impacts on nearby marine ecosystems and on the quality of life of adjacent communities.