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.
Chilean Senate Recommends MPA Around Salas y Gómez Island
The Chilean Senate’s Fisheries Committee unanimously agreed that the Chilean government should establish a 200 nautical mile marine protected area around the Island of Salas y Gómez, near Easter Island. Oceana and National Geographic have been promoting the protection of this area, which still remains virtually unexplored, and which may well be one of the last pristine vulnerable marine ecosystems in the Pacific.
23,000 Square Miles of Deep-sea Coral Protected in South Atlantic
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approved a plan to protect more than 23,000 square miles of known deep sea coral from North Carolina to Florida from destructive fishing gear. The plan, proposed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council in September 2009, will ban the use of bottom-damaging fishing gear in the largest known area of healthy deep sea coral ecosystems in the world, helping to ensure the productivity of commercial fisheries that depend on them.
Bluefin Tuna Season Cut Short Again
After continuous campaign work by Oceana, in early June the European Commission closed the bluefin tuna purse seine fishery early for a third year in a row, further confirming the overcapacity of the fishing fleet. The assigned quota was reached one week earlier than expected, and the Commission’s decision came despite the fleet reduction plans implemented and the absence of the Italian fleet in the seas.
Bluefin tuna stocks are nearing collapse due to overfishing and illegal fishing; stocks have decreased by 80% from existing levels before the industrial fishing era.
Chile Passes Legislative Reform on Salmon Escapes, Antibiotics
As a direct result of Oceana’s campaign work to reform the Chilean salmon aquaculture industry, the Chilean Congress passed legislation to prevent the escape of farmed salmon and further regulate the use of antibiotics in salmon aquaculture.
The reform criminalizes farmed salmon escapes and imposes hefty fines as well as prison sentences for violators. It also bans the preventive use of antibiotics, and requires companies to make public the amounts and types of antibiotics they use, in addition to their specific prescribed use. Oceana has been working since 2007 to convince Chile to restrict the use of antibiotics in salmon farming.
U.S. Government Proposes Endangered Status for U.S. Loggerhead Sea Turtles
In response to two petitions submitted in 2007 by Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Turtle Island Restoration Network, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposed rule to change the status of North Pacific and Northwest Atlantic loggerhead sea turtles from “threatened” to “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.
The government also proposed listing loggerhead sea turtles around the globe as nine separate populations, each with its own threatened or endangered status.
Defending Belize Against Foreign Trawlers
Belize’s Ministry of Fisheries agreed to stop issuing fishing licenses to foreign fishing fleets in the country’s waters pending consultation with local fishermen. The decision came after Jamaican trawlers entered Belize’s southern waters in December, when Oceana called on the government of Belize to suspend all plans and proposals to allow foreign fleets in territorial waters.
Protecting Essential Fish Habitat from Bottom Trawling
Along with a coalition of environmental and recreational fishing groups, Oceana developed a comprehensive, collaborative proposal to protect important undersea habitats, while maintaining vibrant fisheries off the U.S. West Coast. With the help of 19,373 Oceana Wavemaker comments, the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted unanimously to adopt the Oceana proposal, which was mostly approved by NOAA on March 8, 2006, protecting 140,000 square miles of ocean habitat from bottom trawling.
U.S. Sets Policy to Protect International Arctic Waters from Industrial Fishing
President Bush established a U.S. policy to engage other Arctic nations and prevent the expansion of industrial fishing throughout international Arctic waters until further information is gathered about impacts. The policy in part states that “the decline of several commercially valuable fish stocks throughout the world’s oceans highlights the need for fishing nations to conserve fish stocks and develop management systems that promote fisheries sustainability,” and also states that until international agreement for managing Arctic fishing are in place, “…the United States should support international efforts to halt the expansion of commercial fishing activities in the high seas of the Arctic Ocean.”
Deep-sea Coral Ecosystems Protected in South Atlantic
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a plan to protect more than 23,000 square miles of known deep-sea coral from North Carolina to Florida from destructive fishing gear. Five years in the making, the vote will restrict the footprint of bottom trawls – one of the most nonselective fishing gears currently in use, capable of destroying thousand-year-old coral reefs and moving 18-ton rocks – and help to restore the long-term productivity of commercially valuable fish that take refuge in these rare corals.
Gulf Council Protects Sea Turtles from Bottom Longlines
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council took its final step in an effort to protect threatened sea turtles from the bottom longline sector of the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery. Specifically, the Council voted to close all bottom longline fishing shoreward of 35 fathoms (approximately 210 feet) from June to August, a time when large numbers of loggerheads were caught in previous years, and to restrict longline fishing of all vessels that have a history of catching at least 40,000 lbs of reef fish each year.