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.

February, 2008

Banning Mediterranean driftnetting

After Oceana showed that some fishing ships continued to use illegal fishing gear, the European Court of Justice rejected further requests by the French government for exemptions from the EU ban on driftnetting in the Mediterranean Sea. This ruling spares 25,000 juvenile bluefin tuna caught annually in the driftnets, along with thousands of other types of marine animals, including whales, dolphins, other marine mammals, seabirds and countless species of fish and sealife.

December, 2007

Ending the sale of shark-based squalane

Thousands of Oceana supporters contacted the Vermont Country Story, a leading catalog retailer, to convince it to stop selling a skin enhancer containing squalane. The oil is obtained from the livers of deep-sea sharks threatened by extinction. In an ironic note, the product was marketed under the name “Oceana.”

August, 2007

Ending mercury pollution from chlorine plants

When Oceana began its campaign, nine U.S. chlorine plants used outdated mercury-polluting technology. With the conversion of the ERCO Worldwide plant in Port Edwards, Wisconsin, to mercury-free technology, five of the nine mercury-polluting plants have switched to clean technology or shut down after lobbying by Oceana. Mercury is a neurotoxin often found in seafood.

June, 2007

Protecting Sea Turtles

Under pressure from Oceana and other conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service denied an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) proposed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, which would have allowed the use of drift gillnets in the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area off the coast of California. Since the closure was established in 2001, not one leatherback has been reported killed in the drift gillnet fishery. Despite this remarkable success, the PFMC approved an EFP that would have reopened the Conservation Area to drift gillnets during the critical months when turtles are foraging off California and Oregon. In denying the permit, NMFS cited a recent scientific study which underscores the importance of nearshore waters off the U.S. west coast as critical foraging habitat for migrating leatherback turtles.

January, 2007

Italy closes loopholes on illegal driftnetters

Two months after Oceana presented its findings to ACCOBAMS, a scientific organization devoted to the protection of dolphins, whales and other cetaceans in European seas, the Italian Attorney General announced new efforts to crack down on illegal driftnetting by declaring it illegal for vessels to carry driftnets on board regardless of whether or not they are being used when detected. Driftnets often incidentally kill marine mammals, sharks and other species.

January, 2007

Ending the online sale of shark fin soup

Oceana supporters bombarded online retailer Amazon.com with requests to stop selling shark fin soup. Within hours, Amazon.com had pulled the item from its virtual shelves. Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins. According to scientists, shark populations are crashing around the world.

November, 2005

The Spanish Ministry of Defence approved a moratorium for military exercises in the Canary Islands

Oceana had access to military declassified documents which highlighted the damage that the use of active sonar produces in cetaceans and marine wildlife.

September, 2005

Limiting destructive trawling in Europe

After two years of intensive lobbying by Oceana in Brussels and Madrid, the European Union prohibited destructive fishing practices, including bottom trawling, which destroys important marine habitat, in over 160 million acres around the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. The area protected covers an area larger than France.

May, 2005

Ending backroom deals in fisheries

Oceana’s lawyers won a change in the rules for fishery policy-making in Chile that will stop government officials from keeping secrets. Now they must publicly disclose the information they use to set quotas and other rules for commercial fishing companies operating along Chile’s massive coastline.

February, 2005

Protecting 95,5 million hectares of ocean in the North Pacific from Bottom Trawling

In a historic conservation move, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council adopted the Oceana approach and closed nearly 95,5 million hectares of ocean, including recently discovered deep sea coral gardens, to bottom trawling, industrial fishing’s version of clear cutting. The area protected is roughly twice the size of the state of California.