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.
In honor of World Environment Day on June 5th and to implement the European Union’s commitment with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Spanish government announced the creation of ten new Marine Protected Areas in Spain’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Oceana has played a key role in identifying and proposing protections for marine areas of interest in an effort led by the Spanish government to implement the European Union’s biodiversity goals.
The European Court of Justice formally ruled against France for its failure to control the illegal use by its fleet of driftnets in the Mediterranean.
The Court also formally denied France’s request to consider future exemptions for its fleet from the EU driftnet ban. In Italy, the Calabrian prosecutor formally charged several driftnetters for illegal activities and has since kept them ashore under house arrest.
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.