Since President Obama created America’s first National Ocean Policy in 2010, Federal agencies have made tremendous progress to meet its objectives – working every day with communities across the Nation and stakeholders on the ground to improve the health of our oceans, support our economy, bolster safety and security, and better understand how our activities impact the ocean.
Today, we are releasing the first Report on the Implementation of the National Ocean Policy, which highlights the progress we’ve made since we released an action plan last year. From supporting the ocean economy to ensuring the security of our ports and waterways, and from improving coastal and ocean resilience to providing local communities with tools to plan for a better future, we’ve made tremendous strides in undertaking our role as responsible stewards of this Nation’s great oceans.
Among the activities described are a host of steps to promote sustainable energy development and aquaculture practices—including ensuring that permitting processes for these activities are efficient and streamlined as possible; advancing research and monitoring activities to help protect people and communities from harmful algal blooms; developing data-driven tools to map the extent of sea-ice and to assist emergency responders and environmental resources managers in dealing with incidents in the Arctic region that may harm the environment; and issuing step-by-step guidance to help coastal communities asses vulnerabilities and develop plans to cope with the impacts of climate change, extreme weather, and ocean acidification.
Our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes provide us with rich cultural, recreational, and commercial opportunities. Collectively, these treasured waters support tens of millions of jobs and contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy. The actions underway across Federal agencies and in collaboration with states, regions, and communities will ensure that our oceans resources remain safe and healthy, and that our ocean economy continues to thrive for the benefit of all Americans.
To read the report, click here.
Beth Kerttula is Director of the National Oceans Council.