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 Corals in Atlantic Ocean Canyons Protected, Fishery Managers Limit Monkfish Bottom Trawling
America’s oceans won a major victory when the New England Fishery Management Council voted to protect deep-sea coral communities in New England and mid-Atlantic offshore submarine canyons from destructive monkfish bottom trawling gear. The council adopted an Oceana-supported amendment to the monkfish management plan that bans fishing for monkfish by bottom trawling in the Oceanographer and Lydonia canyons where marine scientists have identified and studied large deep-sea coral communities.
Establishing an Observer Program
For years a Chilean law to place professional observers aboard fishing fleets existed but was ignored. Oceana successfully convinced the government to enforce the law and professional observers are now at last beginning to monitor Chile’s commercial fishing operations.
Measures to Reduce Fishing Waste Stand Up in Court
A federal appeals court let stand conservation measures approved by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries, and supported by Oceana, to limit the amount of discards from large bottom trawling vessels. The regulations require large “head and gut” bottom trawl vessels in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands to retain and utilize a larger portion of the fish they catch, as opposed to keeping only the most economically valuable species and throwing the rest overboard.
According to NOAA estimates, these regulations will prevent 110 million pounds of groundfish from being wasted as unwanted bycatch each year, and serve as an incentive for vessels to fish more carefully, limiting bycatch of corals and other marine animals.
Royal Caribbean Commits to Treating Wastewater
Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless received a letter from Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain committing his company to installing advanced wastewater treatment technology on all of its ships. The commitment was the culmination of an eleven month campaign Oceana had waged to convince Royal Caribbean, the second largest cruise company in the world, to stop dumping inadequately treated waste in the oceans. Royal Caribbean is the first cruise company to commit to upgrading sewage and wastewater treatment fleet-wide.
Limiting Destructive Trawling in Europe
After two years of intensive lobbying by Oceana staff in Brussels and Madrid, the European Union prohibited destructive fishing practices, including bottom trawling, in over 500,000 square miles around the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands.
Saving the ‘Dolphin Deadline’
After months of persistent campaigning by Oceana, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that maintains an important deadline for protecting tens of thousands of dolphins, whales and other beloved ocean creatures from becoming bycatch.
Aleutian Islands Shipping Safety Measures Move Forward
The federal government has begun implementation of a “risk assessment” for the Aleutian Islands, the critical first step towards getting meaningful spill response capabilities in place for the region. The risk assessment will help policy makers and the Coast Guard in designing and implementing a spill response plan for the Aleutians that includes adequate funding for the complete monitoring of all ship traffic and ensuring necessary training, resources and equipment in place locally for the Aleutians.
Cruise Pollution Terminated in California
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered a major victory for the oceans by signing into law two critically important ocean protection bills. These bills will prohibit the cruise industry from dumping sewage from toilets and sewage from sinks and showers into state waters.
New Magnuson-Stevens Act Passed
Oceana helped campaign for new legislation that significantly improves the protection of deep-sea corals and sponges from bottom trawling and other destructive fishing gear. This bill as passed makes marginal improvements to the existing Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Saving 60,000 Sea Turtles
Oceana successfully pressured the government to require larger TEDs (turtle excluder devices) in shrimp nets in the Gulf of Mexico and south Atlantic Ocean, saving an estimated 60,000 sea turtles a year.