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.
California Stops Use of Destructive Fishing Gear that Kills Dolphins, Turtles, and Sharks
The California swordfish drift gillnet fishery kills more dolphins than all observed U.S. West Coast fisheries combined. Thanks to a years-long campaign by Oceana and our allies, a new California law will clean up the fishery by phasing out the use of drift gillnets through a buyout transition program and incentivizing the use of cleaner fishing gear.
Brazil Stops Destructive Bottom Trawling in 13,000 Square Kilometers of Ocean That Is Home To Endangered Species
After campaigning by Oceana and our allies, the government of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, passed a law to ban existing bottom trawling. These new protections extend along the entire length of the state’s 620-kilometer coast and cover a distance out to 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) from shore. The ban protects waters that are important to artisanal fishers and home to many endangered species.
Malta Expands Habitat Protections in the Mediterranean and Protects 35% of its Waters
This announcement is the result of Oceana efforts that began in 2013, and the protections are based on the findings of two Oceana expeditions (2015 and 2016 LIFE Ba?AR Expeditions). Oceana mapped out sandbanks, reefs, and more than 89 marine caves through use of a remotely operated vehicle and scuba divers. With these new measures, 35% of Malta’s waters are now protected.
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.
The Philippines Protects the Philippine Rise
After campaigning by Oceana and its allies, the Philippine government created a marine protected area, declaring 500 square kilometers of rare underseas coral habitat as a strict protection zone where only scientific research will be permitted, as well as an additional 3,000 square kilometers where active fishing gear will be banned. Oceana’s 2016 expedition documented the stunning biodiversity and abundance in the region, and these new measures will help protect marine life including mesophotic (twilight) coral reefs, whales, dolphins, sharks, rays, and sea turtles. The area is also a spawning area for Pacific bluefin tuna, one of the most valuable fish on Earth.
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 seven years 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.