Our Achievements

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.

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.

Press Release

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.

http://eu.oceana.org/en/press-center/press-releases/oceana-celebrates-protection-seco-de-los-olivos

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.

http://eu.oceana.org/en/node/49157

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.

http://eu.oceana.org/en/press-center/press-releases/giant-protozoon-imitates-carnivorous-sponge-has-been-discovered

January, 2014

EU Moves Away from Harmful Subsidies

European Parliament and the Fisheries Council reached a political agreement on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the financial mechanism that will allow the implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy over the next seven years. Previous fisheries subsidies schemes have given priority to short-term economic interests at the expense of sustainability, using taxpayer’s money to increase fleet capacity and fund overfishing.

Oceana supports the efforts of the European Parliament and Council to stop this toxic pattern, and shift spending towards beneficial measures such as control and data collection. However, Oceana also acknowledges that the EU must move further to make a clean break from harmful subsidies, including recognizing risks associated with certain environmentally harmful subsidies, like those for new engines and the temporary cessation of fishing activity.

December, 2013

Mediterranean Deep-Sea Corals Protected

Mediterranean countries and the EU decided to protect 11 species of deep-sea corals at the 18th COP to the Barcelona Convention. They also decided to implement the Action Plan on Dark Habitats, a scientific document drafted in part by Oceana, which will enable the creation of marine protected areas in deep-sea habitats like seamounts, submarine canyons, and caves. Many of these deep-sea habitats are unprotected, despite being extremely vulnerable to human activities like pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

July, 2013

EU Bans All Shark Finning

As of 6 July, 2013, all sharks caught in European waters or by European vessels will have to be landed with their fins still naturally attached. Celebrating the arrival of the long-awaited, strict EU ban on shark finning, Oceana welcomes the new EU regulation’s entry into effect, on Saturday. It ends nearly a decade of battle to close several enforcement loopholes that had weakened the previous EU policy. In particular, an exemption used only by Spain and Portugal had allowed some vessels to remove shark fins at sea, which made it extremely difficult even to detect when finning had occurred. Since the beginning of its work in Europe, Oceana has campaigned for a strict ban on shark finning as one important aspect of improved shark fisheries management in the EU.

“At long last, the EU has a real and enforceable ban on shark finning, with global implications,” commented Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “The EU catches more sharks than any country in the world, and plays a key role in regional fisheries management organisations where finning remains an acknowledged problem. After ten years with a flawed ban in place, it can now make a serious effort to tackle the issue internationally.”

February, 2013

Dramatic Reforms for Europe's Fisheries

The European Parliament approved major reforms to the Common Fishery Policy, a law that manages all European fisheries. Members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a comprehensive reform policy that includes amendments – many of which were proposed by Oceana – that require member states to fish all stocks at sustainable levels by 2015 and comply with a strong EU-wide discard ban, and puts an end to the practice of “discards”, throwing dead unwanted fish back into the sea. Oceana campaigned for years to make sure that this once in a decade opportunity to reform the failed EU fisheries policy was not wasted.

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December, 2012

Wild Sea Trout Fishing Banned in the Gulf of Finland

The authorities of Uusimaa and the Southeast Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment banned wild sea trout fisheries in the Gulf of Finland to give the stock a chance to rebuild. In the summer of 2012, alarming surveys from the Baltic Sea found that wild sea trout had become critically endangered in the region. Until recently there were no limits to how much wild sea trout could be caught despite a steady decline in recent decades and evidence that populations in Finland and Russia were well below historic levels. 

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