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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
Pollock Catch Levels Reduced to Protect Aleutian Islands Ecosystem
Fishery managers reduced the catch level for the Bering Sea pollock fishery, the largest fishery in North America, by 18 percent to around 815,000 metric tons for the 2009 season. The new limit was put in place due to declining pollock numbers, and a recognition of the importance of pollock to the ecosystems of the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. Pollock are a central food source for endangered Steller sea lions, salmon, fur seals, halibut, seabirds and other animals.
Freezing the Bering Sea’s Footprint
The National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it will adopt Oceana’s “freeze-the-footprint” approach by closing nearly 180,000 square miles of the Bering Sea to destructive bottom trawling to protect important seafloor habitats and marine life.
U.S. Protects America’s Arctic from Industrial Fishing
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) voted to prevent the expansion of industrial fishing into all U.S. waters north of the Bering Strait for the foreseeable future to limit stress on ocean ecosystems in light of the dramatic impacts of global climate change in the Arctic. With no large-scale commercial fishing in the U.S. Arctic at present, this decision establishes one of the largest preventative and precautionary measures in fisheries management history.
Dr. Lark Agrees to Stop Selling Shark Squalane
After more than a year of pressure from Oceana, Dr. Susan Lark, an online wellness personality who markets health and beauty products, announced that she will sell cosmetic products containing squalane derived from olives rather than deep-sea sharks. More than 15,000 Wavemakers contacted Lark, telling her it was unconscionable to sacrifice already at-risk shark populations for the sake of beauty.