Oceana, our non-profit of choice, is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results.
Last week was a big week for Oceana and our oceans:
- Won New Protections for Corals, Sponges, & Underwater Canyons off the US West Coast: 90% of the living seafloor off the U.S. West Coast is now protected! "NOAA Fisheries issued final regulations to protect more than 140,000 square miles of seafloor habitat off the U.S. West Coast from destructive bottom trawling. Places protected include corals, sponges, rocky reefs and other important areas for marine life and ocean ecosystems. These safeguards for the living seafloor are in response to a vote by the Pacific Fishery Management Council in April 2018 — following years of scientific input and advocacy by Oceana — to more than double the spatial extent of seafloor protections off California, Oregon and Washington from impacts of bottom trawl fishing. Once the new regulations take effect on January 1, 2020, 90 percent of the seafloor in US waters off the West Coast will be off limits to bottom trawling."
- Fishery Council Blocks return of West Coast Longlines, Safeguarding Sea Turtles, Marine Mammals and Sharks: "Last Wednesday, the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted overwhelmingly not to pursue the return of a U.S. West Coast pelagic longline fishery. Pelagic longlines are a harmful fishing method that has been prohibited off the West Coast for decades due to excessive bycatch of unintended species including marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, marlins and sharks. Despite its dangers to marine life, there has been pressure on the Council to expand the use of pelagic longlines on the high seas. The Council’s decision is a major win for the oceans that resulted from continued pressure from Oceana and our allies – including birding and sport fishing communities, ecotourism operators, Members of Congress, and the state of California – for over a decade."
- National Shark Fin Trade Ban Goes to the Senate: "Last Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to ban the sale and trade of shark fins. This nationwide prohibition on the trade of shark fins will reduce the international fin trade, improve enforcement of the current finning ban, and perhaps most importantly, reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation, in a way that will encourage other countries to act accordingly. Although shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, fins can still be bought and sold throughout much of the United States. These fins are imported from countries that have ineffective shark finning bans or otherwise inadequate protections in place for sharks. This important legislation passed by the House has been three years in the making and is a bright spot of bipartisanship in Congress."