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.
A international delegation passed new conservation measures that will protect more than 16.1 million square miles of seafloor habitat in the North Pacific Ocean from bottom trawling and other bottom contact gear. Participating nations, including the U.S., Canada, Japan, Russia, China, Korea and Taiwan, PoC (Chinese Taipei), acted on a commitment they made at the United Nations General Assembly to enact interim conservation measures to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems, like seamounts, deep-sea corals and hydrothermal vents, in international waters. Oceana and others have been working to advance these measures since 2006.
For the second time in less than a year, Oceana helped defeat a coal-fired power plant on the coast of Northern Chile. The CAP company announced last week that it was withdrawing its plans to construct the Cruz Grande thermoelectric power plant.
Cruz Grande was slated to be a 300-megawatt thermoelectric power plant in the region of La Higuera in Northern Chile, a few miles from the Choros-Damas and Chañaral island marine reserves, and near the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve, which is home to the world’s largest population of Humboldt penguins. The region also hosts communities of bottlenose dolphins, marine otters and many marine birds and mammals, including blue whales.
February 1, 2011
Shell Cancels 2011 Drilling Plans in U.S. Arctic
In a huge triumph for the U.S. Arctic, Shell announced it would cancel plans to drill exploratory wells offshore in Alaska due to continued uncertainty over whether it would receive federal permits. Shell had hoped to drill exploratory wells in 2010 in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, but its plans were put on hold by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar after the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Oceana has been instrumental in monitoring the permitting process and holding policymakers accountable for upholding the law.
November 9, 2010
ICCAT Improves Conservation Measures for Sharks and Sea Turtles
Though failing to improve protections for bluefin tuna, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) increased the number of shark species prohibited for retention in ICCAT fisheries. Specifically, the group improved conservation measures for oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerhead sharks and shortfin mako sharks. In addition, ICCAT put in place new measures to reduce sea turtle mortality, such as the use of sea turtle dehooking and disentangling gear as well as mandatory collection and submission of sea turtle bycatch data.
June 16, 2010
Bluefin Tuna Season Cut Short Again
After continuous campaign work by Oceana, in early June the European Commission closed the bluefin tuna purse seine fishery early for a third year in a row, further confirming the overcapacity of the fishing fleet. The assigned quota was reached one week earlier than expected, and the Commission’s decision came despite the fleet reduction plans implemented and the absence of the Italian fleet in the seas.
Bluefin tuna stocks are nearing collapse due to overfishing and illegal fishing; stocks have decreased by 80% from existing levels before the industrial fishing era.
January 31, 2010
Protecting Sea Turtles
In response to a lawsuit brought last year by Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Turtle Island Restoration Network, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, NOAA, has proposed designation of 181.000 km2 of ‘critical habitat’ in waters off of Washington, Oregon and California in an effort to meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act and restore depleted populations of the endangered Pacific leatherback turtle. Though NOAA’s proposal does not include the already established Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area, Oceana is confident that the protections will aid leatherback recovery, as long as adequate fishing restrictions currently in place in the Conservation Area are unaltered and the agency recognizes and acts on the fact that commercial fishing is the largest threat to the existence of sea turtles.
December 1, 2009
Protecting Belize from Foreign Trawlers
News of Jamaican trawlers entering Belize’s southern waters in December to fish led to a decisive agreement by the Ministry of Fisheries to halt the issuing of fishing licenses to foreign fishing fleets in Belize’s Exclusive Economic Zone pending consultation with local fishermen. The action will allow officials to assess the sustainability of the proposed venture and ensure it does not displace local artisanal fishing communities. This decision is critical since the government is in the process of drafting regulations to exclude destructive fishing gears to protect vulnerable fin fish species such as parrot fish and Nassau grouper. Oceana’s new office in Belize called on the Government of Belize to suspend all plans and proposals to allow foreign fleets in territorial waters, until the proper groundwork on their viability and overall benefits can be ascertained. Some foreign companies are seeking 15-year development concessions, putting them in direct competition with local Belizeans.
November 15, 2009
Increasing U.S. Observer Funding
Oceana’s ongoing efforts to increase funding for the fishery observer program continue to produce results. Observers are trained monitors who count everything that is caught by a fishing vessel, including discarded fish, sea turtles and marine mammals. Observers are our eyes on the ocean and provide important information for fishery managers. In 2009, Congress appropriated $32.7 million to the observer program. For 2010, the observer program received $41.1 million, an increase of $8.4 million more than 2009.
November 1, 2009
The United States saving Sharks
The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 by voice vote, paving the way for full Senate consideration. The bill, introduced by Sen. John Kerry, would end shark finning in U.S. waters by requiring all sharks caught to be landed whole with their fins still attached. Landing sharks with their fins still attached allows for better enforcement and data collection for stock assessments and quota monitoring. The Act would also close a loophole that allows the transfer of fins at sea as a way to get around current law. Additionally, the bill would allow the United States to take action against countries whose shark finning restrictions are not as strenuous. Similar legislation has already passed the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo.
October 15, 2009
Stopping Illegal Driftnets
Oceana issued a report to the European Commission and the general public on the continued use of illegal driftnets in the Mediterranean. This report is the last of a series resulting from years of Oceana work against the use of this illegal fishing gear and the fraud in subsidies. Oceana’s efforts contributed toward a judgment against Italy for the lack of control in the use of this illegal fishing gear. The European Union Court of Justice found Italy in breach of EU law for continuing to use driftnets, despite the ban on this gear in 2002. Separately, Oceana’s research has pushed for the reimbursement of subsidies intended to finance the conversion of driftnets fraudulently used by the fleet. Oceana’s report showed that 73 of 92 Italian vessels photographed with driftnets on board had been previously identified for conversion. To date, Italy has returned 7.7 million euros due to cases of fraud in subsidies for reconverting driftnet vessels.