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.
Obama Administration Announces Final Rule to Address Illegal Fishing and Seafood Fraud in United States
The Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud announced a final rule to implement the Seafood Import Monitoring Program to address illegal fishing and seafood fraud in the United States. The final rule will require imported seafood at risk of illegal fishing and seafood fraud to be traced from the fishing boat or farm to the U.S. border, helping to stop illegally caught and mislabeled seafood from entering the United States. Since 2011, Oceana has campaigned to stop seafood fraud and ensure that all seafood sold in the U.S. is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled. President Obama directed agencies to work together to develop a robust plan to address seafood fraud and illegal fishing at Secretary of State John Kerry’s Our Ocean conference in June 2014.
Peru Bans Landings of Shark Fins
Peru’s Ministry of Production announced new measures banning the landing and transshipment of shark fins and headless or finless shark bodies in the country’s port. This rule aims to curb shark finning, a brutal practice that has been a factor in the decline of sharks worldwide. The measures also ban the use of harpoons to hunt sharks and promote traceability in the shark supply chain. Oceana campaigns around the world for better fisheries management and policies to protect sharks, which are key predators and critical species for maintaining healthy oceans.
ICCAT Agrees on First Recovery Plan for Depleted Mediterranean Swordfish
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) agreed on a recovery plan for the severely depleted Mediterranean swordfish. The plan includes a reduction of catches and the adoption of a quota system, enforced by monitoring and control measures to prevent illegal fishing and improve transparency in fishery management and trade. Oceana has been campaigning for over a decade for the implementation of a recovery plan for the overfished Mediterranean swordfish. While Oceana applauds this critical step toward better management, it will continue to campaign for a stronger recovery plan aligned with scientific advice to protect the Mediterranean swordfish.
Obama Administration Removes Arctic Ocean from Offshore Drilling Plan
The Obama administration protected the Arctic Ocean from offshore drilling. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management removed the Beaufort and Chukchi seas from the newly released final 2017-2022 five-year program for oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf. This announcement follows a similar decision in March where BOEM removed the Atlantic Ocean from the five-year program following widespread opposition along the East Coast. Oceana has been campaigning for 10 years to stop the expansion of oil and gas into the U.S. Arctic.
The Honourable Minister LeBlanc Announces a Big Step Forward for More Transparent Fisheries Management in Canada
For the first time, the Canadian government has released key information on the status of the country’s fish stocks. The government has also shared the results of an annual Sustainability Survey for Fisheries and invested additional funds to increase the science capacity of the department managing Canadian fisheries. The Honorable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced these changes at Oceana Canada’s symposium, Rebuilding Abundance: Restoring Canada’s Fisheries for Long-Term Prosperity. Oceana Canada was credited for providing the impetus for releasing this information, after campaigning for increased transparency and public access to Canadian fishery information since it began operations in 2015.
California Moves to Protect Hundreds of Forage Fish Species in State Waters
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is establishing conforming regulations to prohibit new fisheries from developing on seven groups of currently unmanaged forage fish in state waters (0-3 miles). These regulations will mirror those finalized by NOAA in May for federal waters off California, Oregon, and Washington. Action by California is the last piece of the puzzle to achieving protections for hundreds of forage fish species from 0-200 miles off the U.S. West Coast. California state regulations are expected to go into effect early in 2017.
1,400 Square Kilometers in the Balearic Islands Protected from Destructive Fishing
After four years of Oceana’s campaigning for increased protections, Spain announced a ban on bottom trawling and other destructive fishing methods in a 1,400 square kilometer region between Mallorca and Menorca. The Spanish government also expanded the protected area in Fort d’en Moreu, a vibrant reef to the east of Cabrera that has been threatened by illegal trawling activity. The Spanish government’s compliance with EU legislation and action to protect valuable seascapes signifies a critical step towards securing greater protections – important for both habitat preservation and healthy marine ecosystems – in Spanish waters.
Forage Fish in Oregon Win Significant Protections
After campaigning by Oceana and its allies, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a forage fish management plan for hundreds of small, schooling fish in state waters (0-3 miles from shore). This management plan mirrors action taken in 2015 by the Pacific Fishery Management Council to protect forage fish from new commercial development and builds on the National Marine Fisheries Service’s regulations to protect forage fish in federal waters off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California (from 3-200 nautical miles). Forage fish are critical to healthy marine food webs and are threatened by overfishing due to increasing demand for fishmeal. These new measures will help ensure no new commercial fisheries for these small fish will be developed without careful consideration and science-based management.
Government renews funding, seeks collaboration for Benham Rise research
Government and university officials announced renewed funding for research in Benham Rise, a largely unexplored seamount off northeastern Luzon, at a forum in September capping the successful visit of Oceana senior advisor Alexandra Cousteau to the Philippines. Oceana helped lead an expedition to Benham Rise in May and provided video equipment and technical divers to document deep sea reefs in Benham Bank, the shallowest portion of the undersea plateau. Fisheries and science officials stressed the importance of collaborative efforts, as researchers noted that the number of fish species recorded had tripled from the first cruise in 2014 and Benham Rise holds significant opportunities for fisheries productivity.
Chilean Government Officially Decrees the Creation of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park
The official designation of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park comes after years of campaigning by Oceana and its allies. In 2013, a joint Oceana and National Geographic expedition to the Desventuradas Islands uncovered extraordinary levels of biodiversity in the previously unknown seas surrounding these islands. Following the expedition, Oceana released a report on the findings and a proposal for the regions protection. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced the intention to create a fully-protected marine park – the largest in the Americas – at the 2015 Our Ocean conference in Valparaiso, Chile.