After campaigning by Oceana, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced new regulations for the Atlantic scallop fishery that will require Turtle Deflector Devices (TDDs) in areas and during times when sea turtles are known to be present.
The scallop fishery has long been a threat to sea turtles, who get caught up and drowned in the heavy equipment. TDDs are expected to reduce sea turtle mortality by at least 56 percent when compared to former dredges that force them into heavy chain bags where they were dragged and often drowned.
The State of Alaska and a Seattle-based commercial fishing industry sued to overturn new protections for Steller sea lions that limited fishing in areas important to the Steller sea lions’ survival. Oceana intervened in the lawsuit to help the government defend the new measures necessary to prevent jeopardy to Steller sea lions and to protect their critical habitat. The federal district court in Alaska rejected the industry arguments and upheld the protections, which limit bottom trawling and fishery removals of Steller sea lion prey in critical areas. The court required the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare an environmental impact statement evaluating changes to the management of the fisheries by March 2, 2014.
We asked our supporters to help us protect manta rays from being made into leather by asking Alibaba.com to take manta ray products off their website. Nearly 40,000 people responded by signing our petition, and Alibaba listened.
In response to our petition, the company announced that they will no longer include manta ray products on their website. In the past, they’ve taken down listings for shark fins and other unsustainable animal products. Now they will also refrain from selling animals protected under UN policies, including manta and devil rays.
The Oregon House passed a bill making Oregon’s first network of marine reserves and marine protected areas (MPAs). Oceana actively supported the bill, which calls on state agencies, the State Fish and Wildlife Commission, and State Land Board to create marine reserves and adjacent MPAs at Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua. The three new marine reserves and MPAs add 109 square miles (70,000 acres) to Oregon's protected waters.
The National Marine Fisheries Service finalized protection of 41,914 square miles of protected critical ocean habitat off the shores of Washington, Oregon and California for the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle. The final rule establishes critical habitat in areas where leatherbacks feed on jellyfish after swimming 6,000 miles across the ocean from nests in Indonesia. This is the first permanent safe haven for leatherbacks designated in continental U.S. waters and is the largest area set aside to protect sea turtle habitat in the United States or its territories.
The final protection comes in response to a petition submitted in 2007 by Oceana, Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Center, followed by two years of delay by the agency, missing multiple legal deadlines specified in the Endangered Species Act.
The United States District Court for the District of Alaska upheld protections for the Western Population of Steller sea lions. The new measures were put in place by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to reduce competition between large-scale commercial fisheries and endangered Steller sea lions in the Aleutian Islands.
These majestic marine mammals compete with large-scale industrial fisheries for food and continue to struggle for survival in the western Aleutian Islands. The court decision came after Oceana and our allies pressured the federal government to address the declining Steller sea lions’ population by limiting bottom trawling in important areas.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law making it illegal to sell, trade, possess, or distribute shark fins in California. With the governor's signature, the law completes a West Coast ban. California joined the ranks of Washington State, Oregon and Hawaii, who have all passed similar bans. The coastwide ban on the shark fin trade will help protect global populations of at-risk shark species that are being targeted in unsustainable and unregulated fisheries worldwide.
The California Senate passed a ban on the sale, trade, possession, and distribution of shark fins in the state, completing a sweeping West Coast ban on the trade of shark fins. Oceana was instrumental in the passage of this bill to protect the ocean’s apex predators. Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands have also passed similar bills.
Antibiotic Use Diminished in Chilean Salmon Farming
Oceana Chile obtained official government statistics that show the direct results of Oceana’s campaign to reduce the use of antibiotics in the Chilean salmon farming industry, which began in 2008.
Oceana found that the total use of antibiotics per ton of salmon produced decreased by 19% from 2007 to 2010. Oceana campaigned for a ban on the quinolones family of antibiotics, which are not permitted for use in livestock in some countries as a result of public health concerns. Although the Chilean government did not introduce a formal ban on quinolones, the use of this family of antibiotics per ton of farmed salmon produced was reduced by 96% from 2007 to 2010.
The Chilean National Congress unanimously passed a nationwide ban on shark finning. Oceana drafted the bill and campaigned for its passage.This groundbreaking decision came on the heels of a very similar ban passed by the United States Congress lin December 2010, and puts both countries at the forefront of shark conservation.