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.
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.
December 20, 2017
21 countries and the EU protect endangered cold-water corals throughout the Mediterranean
As a result of Oceana’s advocacy, four deep-sea coral species will now be protected in the Mediterranean. The UN’s Barcelona Convention, a multi-country regional sea convention, voted in favor of adding four additional coral species – cockscomb cup coral, yellow-tree coral, yellow coral and bamboo coral – to the list of endangered or threatened species in the Mediterranean Sea. This action will protect these animals and help to ensure the survival of marine life that live and depend on these underwater coral gardens. The members of the Barcelona Convention include: Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, the European Union, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.
October 6, 2017
Global insurers unite to cut financial lifeline to pirate fishing
Leading insurers from around the world comitted to take action on pirate fishing, an unlawful practice that costs the global economy tens of billions of dollars in losses every year and contributes to overfishing and the destruction of vital marine habitats and ecosystems. Oceana and UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI) facilitated the development of the world’s first insurance industry statement on sustainable marine insurance. The document was co-sponsored by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, AXA, Generali, Hanseatic Underwriters and The Shipowners’ Club, and it confirms their commitment to not knowingly insure or facilitate the insuring of vessels that have been blacklisted for their involvement in pirate fishing—also known as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
June 21, 2017
Legal Reform Makes EU’s External Fishing Fleet More Transparent, Accountable and Sustainable
The European Commission, Parliament and Council of Fisheries Ministers announced a new regulation governing the European Union’s extensive external fishing fleet. One third of total European catches are made on the high seas and in the waters of non EU countries. Since 2008, the EU has authorized over 23,000 vessels to fish outside EU waters. The new law applies the same strict requirements to all EU vessels fishing in the waters of other nations, promoting responsible fishing around the world. The new rules also make it public for the first time which vessels fish where, including private agreements, where an EU-flagged vessel makes a direct contract with the government of a non-EU coastal state to fish in its waters. Finally, the new regulation stops so-called abusive reflagging, where a vessel repeatedly and rapidly changes its flag for the purposes of circumventing conservation measures. In total, the new law makes the EU external fleet one of the most transparent in the world. Oceana led a two-year campaign pushing for these new measures. Learn more: http://www.whofishesfar.org/
March 21, 2017
New Pact Commits Nations to Rebuilding a Healthy Mediterranean Sea
Ministers and high-level representatives from Mediterranean countries signed a historic declaration to address the fisheries crisis in the region. The ministerial declaration, Malta MedFish4Ever, will be the blueprint for cooperation and the sustainable development of fisheries for all coastal states in the Mediterranean over the next 10 years. For years, Oceana has campaigned for catch limits, better enforcement and habitat protections in order to rebuild depleted Mediterranean fish stocks. A recent study commissioned by Oceana revealed that Mediterranean catches could increase by 200 percent in some areas if managed effectively. The MedFish4Ever agreement is a critical political commitment to rebuilding Mediterranean fisheries.
November 1, 2016
First steps taken for depleted Mediterranean swordfish
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) finally agreed on a recovery plan for the severely depleted Mediterranean swordfish, which has shrunk by two thirds from the 1980s due to overfishing. The plan includes a modest reduction of catches and the adoption of a quota system, enforced by monitoring and control measures to prevent illegal fishing and improve transparency in the swordfish fishery management and trade. Oceana has fought for this iconic species for more than a decade, and will keep the pressure to ensure its full recovery.