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.
May 31, 2023
European Commission Releases Public Database Disclosing Activities of EU Vessels Fishing Outside of EU Waters
Following campaigning by Oceana and its allies, the European Commission released a public database that allows anyone to search for information about EU-flagged vessels authorized to fish outside of European Union (EU) waters. As a measure to increase transparency, the database publishes information on each vessel, including: what waters it is authorized to fish outside of the EU and for how long; the fishing gear it is allowed to use; and its target species. Prior to this victory, public information about the activities of EU-flagged vessels fishing outside of EU waters was limited or non-existent, allowing these vessels to operate with little scrutiny. Oceana’s campaigning was critical in making this database a reality, which will help shine a light on fishing vessel activity and deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
May 15, 2023
Dow Jones Introduces New Screening Requirements for Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported Fishing Vessels
Following campaigning by Oceana in Europe, Dow Jones, the third-party screening provider for many businesses that service the fishing sector, agreed to integrate illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) vessel checks into its risk screening systems. These systems are used by businesses that provide fuel, logistical support, crews, satellite communications, and other services, to assess potential risks before doing business with fisheries operators. By limiting their services strictly to legitimate operators, businesses can reduce risks of legal non-compliance and avoid association with environmental crimes, reputational damage, and human rights abuses. Additionally, by reducing access to essential services that keep IUU vessel operations on the water, these businesses are pulling the plug on unscrupulous operators that plunder the ocean.
February 22, 2023
Oceana Defends EU Common Fisheries Policy from Attack
Oceana and its allies defended the European Union’s main fisheries law from attacks, including attempts to overturn the discard ban, which was the subject of strong lobbying by the industrial fishing sector. Adopted in 2013, the Common Fisheries Policy has led EU fisheries to become increasingly more sustainable by adhering to principles such as science-based catch limits and bycatch reduction. The European Commission’s recent assessment of the law showed that the number of sustainably harvested fish stocks has increased from only five in 2009 to over 60 in 2022. Oceana continues to campaign for full implementation and enforcement of the law
December 19, 2022
German and Dutch Marine Protected Areas Closed to Destructive Fishing Gear
Following joint recommendations by Germany and the Netherlands, the European Commission closed over 3,500 square kilometers (over 1,350 square miles) of the North Sea to bottom trawling, and prohibited the use of destructive fishing gears such as gillnets, trammel nets, and driftnets across an additional 1,700 square kilometers (over 650 square miles). These fisheries restrictions cover parts of existing marine protected areas (MPAs) designated for the protection of reefs, sandbanks, and endangered marine species such as the harbor porpoise. Oceana researched these important areas during expeditions in 2016 and 2017, published proposals for their protection, and campaigned for their adoption.
November 30, 2022
New International Rule Requires Countries to Investigate and Deter Companies from Engaging with Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Vessels
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), an inter-governmental organization that oversees the conservation and management of fishes such as tunas and swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean, adopted a new rule that will prevent companies from providing services, such as insurance, satellite communications, and financial services, to fishing vessels known to be engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the ICCAT regulatory area. The 52 member countries of ICCAT will be required to take effective and deterrent action against citizens and businesses that engage with and support IUU fishing. Campaigning by Oceana in Europe, Brazil, Canada, and the United States, was key to securing this victory. This achievement builds on Oceana’s ongoing campaign to get companies that do business with the fishing sector to avoid supporting illicit fishing activities.
November 25, 2022
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.
November 1, 2022
Mediterranean Countries Agree to Mandatory Disclosure of Vessels Allowed to Fish in Restricted Areas
The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the regional fisheries management organization covering the Mediterranean and Black Sea, will now require countries to disclose key enforcement information for vessels that are allowed to fish in Fisheries Restricted Areas. Member countries of the GFCM must now report key information for these vessels, including their target species, and when and where they are fishing. The GFCM also agreed to publicly list vessels that are authorized to catch overfished deep-sea shrimp and hake in the Strait of Sicily. Both decisions were the direct result of campaigning by Oceana in Europe.
September 28, 2022
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
September 25, 2022
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.
September 5, 2022
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.