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.
September 1, 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.
March 31, 2022
Spain Curbs Ocean-Polluting Single-Use Plastics Through New Waste Law
Following campaigning by Oceana and allies, Spain adopted a new Waste Law that incorporates the European Union Single-Use Plastics Directive into national law, helping to reduce ocean-bound plastic pollution. Oceana advocated for the new law to go beyond the minimum requirements set by the EU, including newly adopted measures that will: establish a basis for future deposit-return schemes; reduce single-use plastics in public administration facilities; make plastic producers accountable for covering the costs of beach clean-ups; and enable municipalities to ban mass balloon releases and smoking on beaches. Although the Spanish government did not approve all of the additional prohibitions proposed by Oceana, the new law represents a key first step towards further action by Spain to reduce single-use plastics.
March 23, 2022
Norwegian Insurance Company Hydor Ends Coverage of Three Illegal Fishing Vessels
Hydor AS, a Norwegian-based insurance company, ended its contract with a fleet of vessels that were listed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) for illegally fishing across the Atlantic. This decision follows campaigning by Oceana and its ally the Environmental Justice Foundation, who together warned Hydor about its unwitting support of illegal fishing operators. This victory will help to mobilize other companies to fight against illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, a criminal activity that hurts law-abiding fishers and puts companies at legal, financial, and reputational risk.
November 30, 2021
Major Global Insurance Company AXA XL Introduces Transparency Requirement for Insured Fishing Vessels
Following campaigning by Oceana and our allies, AXA XL, one of the largest international insurers, now requires International Maritime Organization (IMO) numbers for all fishing vessels and refrigerated cargo vessels it insures. IMO numbers are unique identifiers that can be used for monitoring and tracking vessels, and do not change even if a vessel changes ownership, flag, or name — a common tactic used by illegal fishers to avoid detection. By requiring IMO numbers, AXA XL is reducing the risk of insuring vessels engaged in illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing and increasing transparency in the fishing sector. Their decision sets a leading example for other companies to follow, including those outside the insurance sector.
November 30, 2021
General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Strengthens Transparency Requirements for Fishing Vessels
The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the regional fisheries management organization covering the Mediterranean and Black Seas, adopted a recommendation to improve its Authorized Vessel List. GFCM member countries are now required to report which vessels are allowed to fish inside Fisheries Restricted Areas, helping authorities spot which fishing vessels are operating within the law and those that are not. This victory is a direct result of campaigning by Oceana, who highlighted the weaknesses of the previous list and secured support for the new recommendation from the EU and other GFCM members. The decision will help ensure that Fisheries Restricted Areas provide real protection to critical fisheries habitats and fragile deep-sea ecosystems.
November 1, 2021
Major European Marine Insurance Companies Take Action to Deter Illegal Fishing
Leading European-based marine insurance companies AXA XL, British Marine, DUPI Underwriting Agencies BV, Generali Group, and the Shipowners’ Club introduced improved measures to avoid insuring vessels engaged in illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing. These newly adopted screening processes are a direct result of Oceana’s campaigning. The five companies will now be better able to identify and deny coverage to known illegal operators, making it harder for such vessels to continue operating.
December 31, 2020
Scotland Creates New Marine Protected Area
The Scottish Government announced the designation of a new Scottish Nature Conservation marine protected area (MPA) for the Southern Trench, which is located off the northeast coast of Scotland. This MPA will grant protection to a rich array marine life including minke whales, elegant sea pens, and tube anemones. Oceana has been calling for protection of the Southern Trench since 2017, based on the findings from Oceana’s at-sea expedition. Oceana continues to campaign for Scotland to strengthen the protection of Southern Trench and other sites by banning destructive bottom-towed fishing gear in all Marine Protected Areas.
November 30, 2020
Spanish Supreme Court Upholds Expansion of Mediterranean’s Second-Largest Marine National Park
Spain’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the expansion of Cabrera Marine National Park. This expansion makes it the second-largest marine protected area in the Mediterranean and the first to protect deep-sea corals. Following more than a decade of campaigning by Oceana and our allies, including six research expeditions, the Spanish government increased the size of Cabrera National Park from 100 to 900 square kilometers in February 2019. Carbopesca, a fishermen’s association promoting the interests of longline fishing, appealed to revoke the expansion. Oceana acted as an intervenor in the case and submitted information justifying the expansion.
February 19, 2019
Spanish government creates the second-largest marine national park in the Mediterranean
After more than a decade of campaign work by Oceana and six research expeditions made possible by numerous supporters, the Spanish government increased the size of Cabrera National Park from 100 to 900 square kilometers. This increase makes Cabrera – one of the richest and most biodiverse places in the Mediterranean and Spanish Coast – the second largest marine national park in the Mediterranean and the first one to formerly protect deep-sea corals. The park will also provide shelter to important species including marine mammals like sperm whales and dolphins and large fish like bluefin tuna, and will be the Mediterranean’s deepest protected national park at over 2,000 meters.
June 8, 2018
Malta Expands Habitat Protections in Mediterranean
The government of Malta has announced the designation or expansion of eight marine protected areas in the Mediterranean. This announcement is the result of Oceana efforts that began in 2013, and the protections are based on the findings of two Oceana expeditions (2015 and 2016 LIFE Ba?AR Expeditions). Oceana mapped out sandbanks, reefs and more than 89 marine caves through use of a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and scuba divers. After collecting and analyzing 310 hours of ROV footage and thousands of photos, we delivered a list of proposed sites for protection to the Maltese government that included seagrass meadows, bamboo coral gardens and habitat for cnidarians, sponges, a variety of other invertebrates and fish. With these new measures, 35 percent of Malta’s waters are now protected. As a designation made under the Natura 2000 framework, national authorities are now responsible for drafting a management plan within six years – a key step toward ensuring the continued protection of these areas.