This past December, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)—a 33-member body charged with protecting Pacific tuna—had the opportunity to help recover two Pacific tuna species in trouble at its 11th Regular Session in Apia, Samoa. Instead—and much to the dismay of scientists and conservationists—the WCPFC failed to adequately take action for these wild marine predators, only developing minimal protections for Pacific bluefin tuna and leaving bigeye tuna vulnerable to continued overexploitation. 

Oceana had a successful year in 2014 working to protect the world’s oceans: Thanks in part to our campaign work, President Obama established the first-ever Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud, which recently released robust recommendations, the National Marine Fisheries Service a

2015 began in style for Oceana’s campaigners with an OSPAR meeting, hosted by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography in Gijón, the biggest city in the region of Asturias in the northern part of Spain. The Working Group on Protection of Species and Habitats (POSH) gathered for the first time to advance the work of the OSPAR Commission on protecting declining species and habitats in the North-East Atlantic.

Oceana, alongside an international team of scientists, discovered a new species of glass sponge in the western Mediterranean. Sympagella delauzei measures about three to five inches long, and as found as depths of about 1,100 to 1,600 feet. Because Mediterranean waters are generally not favorable to glass sponges, which prefer colder waters, the discovery came as a surprise to the scientists.