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.
World Leader in Satellite Communications Inmarsat Stops Services to IUU Fishing Vessels
Inmarsat, a large satellite telecommunications company headquartered in London, ended contracts with 13 vessels after analyzing official lists of vessels engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This outcome follows campaigning by Oceana in Europe, after Oceana’s research uncovered evidence that Inmarsat was providing services to IUU fishing vessels. Inmarsat provides services to many fishing vessels around the world and its new integration of IUU fishing lists into its system will help ensure the company does not accept illicit operators as clients in the future. This victory will also make it more difficult for these vessels to access the essential satellite services they depend on to fish.
Peru Protects Sharks and Other Marine Species from Illegal Trafficking
Peru’s Congress enacted a law that now includes illegal wildlife trafficking in the country’s Law Against Organized Crime. Oceana and our allies were instrumental in achieving this victory, which will help protect hundreds of aquatic and terrestrial species, including sharks, which are highly prized for their fins in the illicit trade. Thirty tons of shark parts were seized in Peru in 2018 alone. With this new inclusion, Peru is the first South American country to declare illegal wildlife trafficking as a form of organized crime. This victory will give Peruvian authorities more legal tools to enforce the law and penalize those operating criminal networks.
New Rule in the United States Requires Seafood Traceability through U.S. Supply Chain
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule requiring traceability of high-risk foods, including most seafood. Now, businesses must track most seafood from the point of landing through the supply chain to the final point of sale. These new changes will help curb seafood fraud, which occurs regularly, cheats consumers, and puts public health and the oceans in jeopardy. Oceana and our allies campaigned for years for a strong boat-to-plate traceability rule from the FDA, including securing support from members of Congress and Wavemakers.
Brazil’s Leading Food Delivery Service, iFood, Commits to Additional Single-Use Plastic Reductions
Brazil’s largest home food delivery service, iFood, committed to reduce additional single-use plastic packaging throughout its operations, expanding earlier reduction targets to include polystyrene foam containers, plastic sachets, and plastic bags. In total, the company plans to eliminate 2.7 billion single-use plastic items by 2025. These ubiquitous single-use plastic items often become pollution and can harm marine life and ecosystems if they enter the oceans. This victory follows campaigning from Oceana and the United Nations Environment Program’s Clean Seas Campaign. In 2021, iFood publicly committed to an 80% reduction in plastic cutlery, plates, cups, straws, and napkins included in orders by 2025.
Spain Penalizes Fishing Vessels for Turning Off Public Tracking Devices
As a result of data provided by Oceana, the Spanish government fined two of its fishing vessels 20,000 euros each for turning off their public tracking devices (known as automatic identification systems, or AIS) on several occasions while off the coast of West Africa. All EU fishing vessels over 15 meters (50 feet) in length are required to have an AIS device that continuously transmits data on their location, direction, and speed. This information is critical to avoid collisions at sea, while also ensuring transparency in commercial fishing activities. The penalties served as a warning for the fishing industry and set a strong precedent for other EU countries.
Over 14,600 Square Kilometers of Deep-Sea Habitats Protected from Bottom Fishing in the Northeast Atlantic
The European Commission announced that it is closing 87 offshore areas between 400 and 800 meters (approximately 1,300 and 2,600 feet) deep to all bottom-contact fishing gear, protecting vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. This closure is key to implementing the 2016 EU Deep-Sea Access Regulation, secured by Oceana’s campaigning, which includes a ban on bottom-trawling below 800 meters deep. The decision to close additional areas followed extensive consultations with EU Member States and stakeholders, including Oceana, other NGOs, and the fishing industry.
Marine Reserve Expanded in Spain’s Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands regional government created a new marine reserve in the Toro and Malgrats islands, home to Posidonia seagrass meadows, gorgonians, and fish such as groupers, meagres, and seabream. The new reserve covers 30 square kilometers (11.5 square miles) — 13 times the size of the previously protected area, which was comprised of two smaller marine reserves. Oceana researched and proposed this additional marine protected area (MPA) in 2007 and more recently joined forces with other stakeholders calling for the two marine reserves to be connected and expanded. Marine reserves are the most protected category of MPAs and include a ban on destructive fishing methods such as bottom trawling.
Chilean Court Rules in Favor of Oceana, Orders Salmon Farming Company to Release Antibiotics Data
Chile’s Constitutional Court ruled in Oceana’s favor and against a salmon farming company that previously denied Oceana access to data on its antibiotic use. Following the Court’s ruling, the salmon farming company Mowi is now required to provide Oceana with access to data on its use of antibiotics. This victory comes after years of Oceana campaigning with our allies against the expansion of salmon farming in Patagonian Chile, a biologically rich marine ecosystem. Salmon farms are often destructive – the waste generated by enormous numbers of fish packed into pens can devastate marine environments. The high density of fish often leads to disease and consequently, excessive use of antibiotics in feed, which is then released into the oceans where it can harm marine life. Bacterial resistance is also a consequence of excessive use of antibiotics in farming and can threaten marine and human health.
U.S. State of California Enacts Boldest Plastic Pollution Reduction Policy in the Nation
In the United States, California enacted the strongest plastic source reduction policy in the nation, following bipartisan support in the state legislature. The law requires producers to slash their single-use plastic packaging and foodware by at least 25% by 2032 and implement the first statewide reuse and refill mandates in the nation. This victory will shift the burden of plastic pollution in the state back on producers, who will be required to pay $5 billion over 10 years in environmental mitigation funds, the majority of which directly address plastic’s harms to disadvantaged, low-income, and rural communities who have been disproportionately impacted by plastic production, use, and pollution. Campaigning by Oceana and our allies was a critical part in achieving this significant step that will help protect our oceans, communities, and climate. While there will continue to be a need to reduce beyond the 25% mandated in this new law, and to invest in tools such as regenerative agriculture to help reduce the worst impacts of pollution and climate change, this law represents a powerful step that other states, and even nations, can use to build their plastics reduction programs.
Canada Eliminates Production, Sale, and Export of Six Types of Ocean-Polluting Single-Use Plastics
In a significant victory for our oceans, the Canadian government has announced it will phase out some of the most commonly found plastics polluting Canada’s shorelines and oceans by the end of 2023. Production, sale and exports of plastic bags, cutlery, stir sticks, six-pack rings, straws, and some plastic takeout containers will be eliminated. Oceana and our allies have been instrumental in advocating for this and other policies to reduce plastic pollution since 2019. Combined, the items banned will remove 33 billion units of single-use plastics from the waste stream, some of which entered the oceans every year and that harm marine animals like seabirds, whales, and turtles. Oceana will continue campaigning to ensure more harmful plastic products are added to the ban list.