After two years of intensive lobbying by Oceana staff in Brussels and Madrid, the European Union prohibited destructive fishing practices, including bottom trawling, in over 500,000 square miles around the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands.
For years a Chilean law to place professional observers aboard fishing fleets existed but was ignored. Oceana successfully convinced the government to enforce the law and professional observers are now at last beginning to monitor Chile’s commercial fishing operations.
America's oceans won a major victory when the New England Fishery Management Council voted to protect deep-sea coral communities in New England and mid-Atlantic offshore submarine canyons from destructive monkfish bottom trawlinggear. The council adopted an Oceana-supported amendment to the monkfish management plan that bans fishing for monkfish by bottom trawling in the Oceanographer and Lydonia canyons where marine scientists have identified and studied large deep-sea coral communities.
Ocean around Aleutian Islands Protected from Bottom Trawling
In an historic victory for protecting our oceans, and the largest such action taken anywhere in the world, U.S. authorities closed to destructive commercial fishing nearly one million square kilometers of north Pacific Ocean surrounding the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, an area equal to Texas and California combined.
California Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Law to Protect Ocean Habitat and Vibrant Fisheries
California Governor Schwarzenegger signed a law that will further protect California's valuable Pacific waters from destructive fishing practices. Senate Bill 1459, sponsored by Senator Dede Alpert (D-San Diego) and approved by a bipartisan majority in both houses, ensures that fishing with bottom trawl nets that are dragged along the seafloor is conducted in a manner that protects marine life in waters off the California coast.
Mid-Atlantic Council Decision to Ban Bottom Trawling in Ocean Canyons Follows Trend Begun by New England Panel
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to accept the recent New England councildecision to protect deep-sea coral communities in New England and Mid-Atlantic sub-marine canyons from destructive monkfishbottom trawling gear. These decisions are the first indication that fishery managers are using new scientific research to protect invaluable marine life, such as deep-sea corals.
Oceana hailed Congress's decision to more than double the funding for federal fishery observer programs. Fishery observers are independent scientists who work alongside fishermen at sea to collect data on what is caught incidentally and thrown overboard. This increase in funding, made in the 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, is a significant first step towards improved management of our nation's fisheries.
Oceana successfully pressured the government to require larger TEDs (turtle excluder devices) in shrimp nets in the Gulf of Mexico and south Atlantic Ocean, saving an estimated 60,000 sea turtles a year.