Victories | Oceana


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.

November, 2019

Fishery Council Blocks Return of West Coast Longlines, Safeguarding Sea Turtles, Marine Mammals, and Sharks

The Pacific Fishery Management Council voted overwhelmingly not to reopen pelagic longline fishing on the west coast of the United States. Pelagic longlining is a harmful fishing method that has been prohibited off the West Coast for decades and that have been to linked excessive bycatch of unintended species including marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, marlins and sharks. Despite this known danger to marine life, there was pressure on the Council to once again allow pelagic longline fishing on the high seas. This decision is a major win for the oceans. This victory came after decade long campaigning by Oceana and our allies – including birding and sportfishing communities, ecotourism operators, and Members of Congress.

November, 2019

More than 140,000 Square Miles of U.S. West Coast Seafloor Habitat Protected from Destructive Fishing

NOAA Fisheries issued final regulations to protect more than 140,000 square miles of living seafloor habitat off the U.S. West Coast from destructive bottom trawling, following campaigning by Oceana and allies. With this victory, 90% of the seafloor in U.S. waters off the West Coast will be safe from bottom trawling. These regulations will protect corals, sponges, rocky reefs, and other important habitat for marine life and ocean ecosystems.

October, 2019

California Protects Small Fish Critical to Ocean Health and Abundance

The California Fish and Game Commission adopted a first-of-its-kind Fishery Management Plan for Pacific herring, a small fish critical to ocean food chains that provides nutrition to marine life, seabirds, and marine mammals. This plan comes after seven years of Oceana working with allies and government officials to create a new, sustainable fishery management framework that will protect herring as a vital food source and ensure its abundance into the future. 

October, 2019

Mexico Provides Public Access to Vessel Tracking Data for Commercial Fishing Fleet for First Time

The Government of Mexico provided access to satellite monitoring data from 2012 to 2018 for more than 2,000 commercial fishing vessels on the Global Fishing Watch (GFW) platform. The government’s action comes as a result of Oceana’s campaign to increase transparency in Mexican waters and follows a ruling from the National Institute for Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data that determined that the information was of public interest and should be made available. Oceana will continue to campaign to secure a more real time provision of this data as has been done in Peru and Indonesia.

September, 2019

U.S. Approves New Sustainable Fishing Gear to Provide Alternative to “Walls Of Death” off the U.S. West Coast

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has legally authorized deep-set buoy gear—an innovative fishing gear designed to successfully and sustainability catch swordfish off the U.S. West Coast. Unlike drift gillnets, which are a highly indiscriminate and wasteful fishing practice often used to catch swordfish, deep-set buoy gear will avoid deadly harm to marine mammals and sea turtles. This victory follows more than eight years of advocacy from Oceana in support of deep-set buoy gear, which has proven to be a better environmental and financial alternative. 

July, 2019

Canada Bans Shark Fin Trade, First of G20 Countries

Canada, following a significant grassroots effort by Oceana, became the first G20 country to ban the trade of shark fins in its borders. The practice of shark finning has been illegal in Canadian waters for years; however, Canada was the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia. Oceana’s campaign generated more than 300,000 petition signatures and thousands of emails and phone calls to members of Parliament calling on them to protect sharks. This ban is part of Canada’s new Fisheries Act.

May, 2019

Chile Publishes Vessel Tracking Data for Fishing Fleet, Promoting Transparency at Sea

The Chilean government signed an agreement to make its vessel tracking data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch (GFW). This means that 700 fishing vessels and more than 800 vessels serving Chile’s aquaculture industry will be visible on GFW’s website, which tracks the movements of commercial fishing vessels in near real-time. The agreement, which was made between Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service and GFW, demonstrates Chile’s commitment to greater transparency in fishing and is the result of Oceana’s collaboration with the Chilean government.

April, 2019

New York Prohibits Offshore Drilling

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to prohibit the exploration, development and production of offshore oil and gas in New York waters. The law also prohibits any infrastructure to support drilling off New York’s coast, and prevents the state’s agencies from taking regulatory actions to facilitate oil and gas production in federal waters. The Trump administration had proposed plans to open much of the United States’ East Coast to oil and gas exploration and development.

April, 2019

Canadian Government Bans Industrial Activity in Marine Protected Areas

Canada adopted new standards that ban industrial activities such as oil and gas, waste dumping, mining, and destructive bottom-contact fishing activity in newly created marine protected areas (MPAs), bringing Canada in line with international best practices. In the past few years, Canada has been protecting more of its ocean, but within these areas, industrial activities, including oil and gas, were still permitted. The new standards help protect fragile habitats that provide nursery, spawning, and feeding areas for marine wildlife from harmful practices.