The European Court of Justice rejected any further requests by the French government for exemptions from the EU ban on driftnetting in the Mediterranean Sea. This ruling will spare 25,000 juvenile bluefin tuna annually, along with 10,000 non-targeted marine species caught annually in the driftnets.
Measures to Reduce Fishing Waste Stand Up in Court
A federal appeals court let stand conservation measures approved by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries, and supported by Oceana, to limit the amount of discards from large bottom trawling vessels. The regulations require large “head and gut” bottom trawl vessels in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands to retain and utilize a larger portion of the fish they catch, as opposed to keeping only the most economically valuable species and throwing the rest overboard.
According to NOAA estimates, these regulations will prevent 110 million pounds of groundfish from being wasted as unwanted bycatch each year, and serve as an incentive for vessels to fish more carefully, limiting bycatch of corals and other marine animals.
Vermont Country Store Stops Selling Shark Squalane
Thousands of Oceana Wavemakers contacted the Vermont Country Story, a leading catalog retailer, convincing it to stop selling a skin enhancer containing shark squalane. In an ironic note, the product was marketed under the name “Oceana.”
First-ever Fishery Ecosystem Plan Passed for Aleutian Islands
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted the nation’s first comprehensive ecosystem-based management measure when it approved the Aleutian Islands Fishery Ecosystem Plan. This Fishery Ecosystem Plan is a blueprint for considering all aspects of the marine ecosystem, including biological diversity, abundant populations of fish, food needs of top predators, and healthy intact habitats, when making decisions on managing healthy and sustainable fisheries in the Aleutian Islands.
This is an important new tool in managing Aleutian Islands fisheries from a more holistic, ecosystem-based perspective, and sets a remarkable precedent for ecosystem-based management measures in other fisheries around the nation.
Under pressure from scientists and conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) denied a proposal to allow drift gillnet vessels to operate in an area off the California and Oregon coasts where such fishing is seasonally banned to protect the critically endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle. The drift gillnet fishery, which targets swordfish, tuna and sharks, also kills not just endangered sea turtles, but humpback, fin, gray and sperm whales, several species of dolphins and other marine mammals.
Oceana helped campaign for new legislation that significantly improves the protection of deep-sea coralsand sponges from bottom trawlingand other destructive fishing gear. This bill as passed makes marginal improvements to the existing Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Oceana and other members of the Shark Alliance scored a major victory for sharks in the European Parliament when the Parliament decided to reject a recommendation from its own Fisheries Committee to increase the allowable ratio of shark fins to bodies from 5 percent to 6.5 percent.
After months of persistent campaigning by Oceana, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that maintains an important deadline for protecting tens of thousands of dolphins, whales and other beloved ocean creatures from becoming bycatch.
Protecting Essential Fish Habitat from Bottom Trawling
Along with a coalition of environmental and recreational fishing groups, Oceana developed a comprehensive, collaborative proposal to protect important undersea habitats, while maintaining vibrant fisheries off the U.S. West Coast. With the help of 19,373 Oceana Wavemaker comments, the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted unanimously to adopt the Oceana proposal, which was mostly approved by NOAA on March 8, 2006, protecting 140,000 square miles of ocean habitat from bottom trawling.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to prohibit commercial krill fishing in the federal waters off of California, Oregon and Washington. More than 5,000 Oceana activists contacted the Council to support a prohibition on krill fishing in the Pacific to protect our ocean ecosystem food web.