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Oceana in Europe: 20 years rebuilding ocean abundance

The Ranger sailing at full sail. June 2007. © OCEANA / Carlos Suárez


For the past twenty years, Oceana in Europe has been campaigning for a healthy, abundant ocean full of life. And it has paid off!

We have campaigned for many years to increase sustainable fisheries in the North-East Atlantic. When we first started our work in Europe, only 20 commercial fish stocks were exploited at sustainable levels. In 2021 (the latest year with available official information), there are 60 fish stocks sustainably exploited –three times more!

At the time when Oceana in Europe was established, a mere 2% of European marine waters were protected. We conducted at-sea research to gather critical data and shared our findings with governments, scientists, media and the general public.  Currently, the total marine protected area in Europe is set at 13%. Oceana, together with our partners, directly contributed towards a protection of over six million square kilometers of seabed against bottom trawling, and the designation of over 2.3 million square kilometers of marine protected areas.

We have also made a difference in transparency and in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Thanks to our campaigning, the EU agreed to install tracking devices for its entire fishing fleet (over 70,000 vessels, including small-scale ones). This increases transparency, empowers fishers by involving them in fisheries management, and enables a quick emergency response.

Oceana brings a unique combination of science, policy, communications and strategic alliances.  We are based in Madrid, Brussels and Copenhagen, and we carry out at-sea expeditions with our research vessel, the ‘Ranger’, which allows us to explore ocean life up to 1,000m deep. Together with our partners and a wide supporter community, we can proudly say that our achievements have been instrumental in shaping the course of marine conservation in Europe.

Thank you all for making it possible!