The ocean-dependent economy, including six industries dominated by tourism, mineral extraction and marine transportation, generated more than $222 billion in 2009. And every year, commercial and recreational fisheries nationwide employ 1.9 million workers.
Sustaining this economic success for years to come depends on:
Ocean Conservancy supports the millions who earn their living from the ocean every day. We are working with companies, commercial and recreational fishermen, and local, state and federal governments to ensure a healthy ocean and a thriving economy.
Historically, overfishing decimated iconic fish populations like cod, red snapper, bluefin tuna and species of Pacific rockfish.
Today, Ocean Conservancy is working with governments, fishermen and others to prevent overfishing and bring these populations back to sustainable levels—and it’s working. Red snapper are now recovering in the Gulf of Mexico, showing that success can be accomplished.
According to a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries report, we are turning the corner on overfishing and the catch by American fishermen has reached a 17-year high.
Altering the current science-based safeguards could jeopardize fish populations that are on their way back to healthy numbers. This would result in fewer fishing opportunities, fewer seafood choices and weakened coastal communities.
That’s why Ocean Conservancy is fighting to maintain proven, science-based policies for protecting the future of fish and fishermen such as science-based catch levels that determine how many fish can be caught in the near term to support sustainability for the long term.
Ocean Conservancy has also worked to boost our ocean economy by protecting coastal communities.
In California, we worked to implement a network of marine protected areas that foster vibrant, healthy ocean habitats. These protected areas will help restore California’s fisheries, which in turn will help provide jobs.
At the same time, millions of people will visit these special places to enjoy their favorite coastal activities — including wildlife-watching, surfing, diving, kayaking and tide-pooling. In turn, their visits will benefit the local economy.
We also work with hundreds of thousands of volunteers, local governments and companies to combat ocean trash and debris that threatens tourism and drains local economies through removals fees. This debris can also complicate shipping and navigation routes.
Ocean Conservancy opposes farming genetically engineered (GE) fish because scientists and policymakers alike don’t fully understand the environmental and economic impacts they could have on our ocean and communities.
GE fish that escape from ocean pens into the wild could imperil wild populations. Feed, waste and chemicals that move from pens into the open ocean could adversely affect water quality and surrounding ecosystems, with the potential to fundamentally change the future of fish—and fishermen’s livelihoods.
Domestic fish farming is part of a sustainable seafood future, but we need strong national standards for aquaculture before expanding this industry in the open ocean. Without thoughtful planning and regulation, fish farming can severely threaten our ocean, wild fish populations and coastal economies.
The ocean today provides millions of jobs across the country, from wind farming to commercial fishing, recreational boating and fishing, and offshore drilling. Jobs also come from the shipping superhighways that make 90 percent of global trade possible.
Ocean Conservancy is finding innovative ways to balance these uses with the protection of critical ocean and coastal habitats. We’re helping raise awareness of potential conflicts and working to coordinate planning so that everyone now and for generations to come can enjoy the economic benefits of the ocean.