Millions of jobs and billions of dollars worth of commercial and recreational activity depend on a healthy ocean and coasts.
But we are facing a rising tide of competition for our valuable marine resources. The 21st century economy depends on the ocean and that means shipping, recreational boating, commercial fishing and offshore energy are all vying to use the same waters – along with whales, birds, sea turtles and other important wildlife.
That’s why Ocean Conservancy advocates for smart ocean-use planning strategies that help reduce conflict among ocean users and with the environment.
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.
Now, emerging industries, such as renewable energy production, are also seeking access to offshore areas. As these ocean uses increase over time, we could end up with haphazard and uncoordinated development that affects the health of our ocean and our national economy.
But making smart, balanced choices through comprehensive ocean planning helps these ocean industries thrive by avoiding potential conflicts: Ship pilots are able to navigate safely around right whale feeding grounds, and fishermen are able to protect their access to key fishing grounds as tidal power projects move forward.
Some states have already confidently invested millions of dollars in preparing for offshore development because of the research and insight gained from coordinated ocean planning. These investments could result in the creation of hundreds of new jobs as well as new business ventures.
Smart planning for marine resources requires a coordinated policy – based on science – to balance ocean uses. More comprehensive and available data means greater efficiency and maximized resources. By listening to the needs of all ocean users, better decisions can be made about how to preserve a thriving economy and healthy ocean.
Ocean Conservancy advocates for smart ocean planning that incorporates these key steps:
The ocean provides the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Learn more about why the ocean matters to you.
Ocean Conservancy works to keep the ocean healthy, to keep us healthy.
We champion sound science that will lead to innovative, sustainable solutions.