Victories | Oceana Europe
Would you like to view our US Site?


Since 2003, Oceana has achieved dozens of concrete policy victories for marine life and habitats in Europe. 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.

June, 2016

Unprecedented Step towards Protection of Mediterranean Deep-Sea Habitats

Mediterranean countries have committed to develop new management measures for vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) by 2018 at the latest. These unique ecosystems include cold water coral reefs, gardens of soft corals and deep-sea sponge aggregations, which are frequently associated with high levels of biodiversity. The first action will be to define a list of Mediterranean VME species, habitats, and related geological features (such as seamounts and canyons) as soon as possible, to be approved by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean  Scientific Advisory Committee in spring 2017.

May, 2016

Denmark protects new areas with key ecosystems in Kattegat

On May 6th, the Danish government released its long-awaited decision to establish new marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Kattegat. The MPAs will protect fragile and threatened soft bottom species and habitats, such as sea pens and Haploops, which are largely left unprotected throughout European waters. Once in place, the 590 km2 areas, spread over nine fragmented regions, will defend key ecosystems that play an important role in maintaining healthy fish stocks.

October, 2015

First-Ever Fishing Ban Created for Danish Marine Parks

Thanks to a new regulation by the European Union, Denmark, Germany and Sweden will cease all fishing activity on sensitive bubbling reefs and end fishing with damaging bottom gear (such as bottom trawls) over reefs in protected Danish waters of the Baltic Sea and Kattegat. The new measures are the first of their kind in the Baltic Sea, and were jointly proposed by the three Member States. The regulation covers 10 Natura 2000 protected areas—which are the backbone of marine protected areas in the EU. Oceana has conducted multiple expeditions in the Baltic Sea that exposed the ecological significance of this region, and has campaigned for years for sustainable fishing and habitat protections.

August, 2015

Gorringe Bank to Receive EU Protection

Portugal proposes the inclusion of Gorringe Bank as a site within EU’s Natura 2000 network. This unique spot includes two seamounts, Gettysburg and Ormonde, located 160 nautical miles off the south western Portuguese coast. The seamounts extend from depths of 28 m and 33 m below sea level to more than 5,000 m and are accommodate very high biodiversity. Oceana’s findings and campaign played an important role in the decision after having identified more than 350 species during our expeditions in 2005, 2011 and 2012. Magnificent kelp forests, gorgonias, rays and many other fishes were filmed by our divers and ROV (remotely operated vehicle).

Press release: Oceana celebrates de protection of the Gorringe Bank

July, 2015

First ever database of EU fishing fleet around the world launched

Oceana and its allies launch the transparency database, an online database detailing 15,264 EU vessels authorised to fish outside EU waters between 2010 and 2014. The figures were made public for the first time after an access-to-information request to the European Commission. Transparency is a key element for eradicating illegal fishing and ensuring sustainable fisheries.

January, 2015

Spain Announces Law to Fight Pirate Fishing

Spain, which is Europe’s largest fishing country and the biggest importer and exporter of seafood products in the European Union, has become the first Member State to take action against pirate fishing. Spain introduced a new fisheries law that imposes stronger penalties on Spanish citizens found to be involved with pirate fishing anywhere around the world. The new Spanish fisheries law, 33/2014, is the translation into Spanish legislation of the EU’s illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing regulation, which requires all EU member States to take action against citizens and companies found to be involved in any IUU fishing activities anywhere in the world. Under this new law, the Spanish government will be able to act against Spanish citizens who are benefiting from illegal fishing.

January, 2015

Denmark Proposed Marine Protected Areas in Kattegat

Denmark presented plans for six new marine protected areas (MPAs) in Kattegat, which connects the Baltic and North Seas. The new MPAs will be protected from dangerous human activity, such as bottom trawling, which disturbs seafloor habitat. The new MPAs have been selected in part from Oceana’s findings of rare Haploops crustaceans and horse mussel communities during the expeditions in 2011 and 2012. Oceana first proposed protections for the area in 2011. With these new MPAs, Denmark is taking a leading role in Europe in protecting these vital soft-bottom habitat.

December, 2014

Seco de los Olivos Seamount Protected after 5-Year Project

Seco de los Olivos (aka Chella Bank) was chosen for protection within Natura 2000, the network that gathers together the most valuable natural areas of the EU. Oceana spent five years studying this seamount in south east Spain. Its range of depths varies between 76 and 700 metres below the surface, so it could only be surveyed with an ROV (submarine robot). Vulnerable and endangered species were discovered, including several shark and coral species, and a glass sponge new to science. Seco de los Olivos is also a nursery area for several fishes of commercial interest, such as hake, and is a good example of the importance of seamounts as biodiversity hotspots. It is one of ten areas included in LIFE+ INDEMARES, a vast project partnered by Oceana that eventually protected 7 million marine hectares across Spain.

August, 2014

Balearic seamounts protection achieved

After seven years of campaigning by Oceana, the Spanish Government banned trawling in one coralligenous reef located east of Cabrera island (Fort d’en Moreu) and two Balearic seamounts (Ausiàs March and Émile Baudot). The 40,000 hectares covered under this decision include types of habitats that are protected by national and international regulations, such as maërl beds, gorgonians gardens and kelp forests.


May, 2014

Species discovered and named after Oceana chosen as one of Top 10 New Species

The International Institute for Species Exploration at New York State University (IISE - SUNY) included Spiculosiphon oceana among the Top 10 New Species for 2014. This new species was found during the 2012 Oceana Ranger expedition, on a seamount near Palos cape, in the Spanish Mediterranean. A one-celled organism, S. oceana reaches 4 cm in length and looks like a carnivorous sponge. The protozoan was identified in collaboration with the Spanish High Council for Scientific Research.

Watch animation video