As 2013 rapidly approaches, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year at Oceana. Thanks to your support, we were able to achieve more than a dozen major victories for the oceans! You signed petitions to lawmakers and companies, submitted seafood samples and participated in rallies and events, and it made a difference. Here are five of the major victories we won in 2012 as a result:
1. Alibaba.com stops selling manta ray products
When Oceana discovered that the online international marketplace Alibaba.com was selling manta ray products, we asked for your help in stopping it. Nearly 40,000 of you responded by signing our petition, and Alibaba listened, removing manta ray leather products from the website.
2. Victories for the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle
2012 was a good year for endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles. We helped establish the first permanent safe haven for leatherbacks in continental U.S. waters this year. The government designated nearly 42,000 square miles of critical habitat off the West Coast. The Pacific leatherback was also designated as California’s official state reptile following a bill sponsored and supported by Oceana with the support of thousands of California citizens and more than 30 conservation groups.
3. European Parliament bans shark finning
The European Parliament approved a strict ban on shark finning, closing a previous loophole in EU law by requiring that all sharks caught in EU waters or caught by EU vessels in international waters must be landed with their fins attached. The EU is the world’s largest exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong and mainland China, so this new rule is a monumental step towards the protection and conservation of sharks around the world.
4. Chile passes sweeping fisheries legislation
The Chilean Congress passed sweeping legislation establishing a more robust science-based regulatory system for fisheries. The new laws passed by the Chilean senate close all 118 of Chile’s seamounts to bottom trawling, impose science-based fishing quotas, and improve monitoring on Chilean fishing vessels to drastically reduce untargeted catch, or bycatch. Oceana pushed for these changes for years.
5. Great white sharks move closer to protections
Responding to petitions filed by Oceana and allies, the government announced that it will consider the West Coast population of great white sharks for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act by June 2013. With estimates of only a few hundred adults remaining, this unique population of sharks is on the brink of extinction. The government’s announcement finally recognizes the threat to this vital predator.
From coast to coast and around the world, Oceana’s work and victories span the globe to make our oceans richer, healthier, and more abundant, both this year and for centuries to come. These victories could never have been achieved without your support. We are so thankful to have such dedicated ocean lovers on our side. We hope you will continue to support our work, and help us win even more ocean victories in 2013!