Reaching from the south coast of Florida to the northern tip of Maine and beyond, the Atlantic Coast is home to a wide variety of wildlife including whales, birds and sea turtles as well as economically valuable shellfish, lobsters, crabs and fish.
From energy production to commercial fishing to shipping and transport, millions of American jobs depend on the marine resources of the Atlantic Coast. These waters also provide recreational value and, in many communities, cultural identity.
With so many demands on the waters of the Atlantic Coast, conflicts often arise between ocean users – whether it’s ship pilots and right whales trying to use the same waters or fishermen catching fish faster than they can reproduce.
All along the Atlantic Coast, communities are facing ocean-use conflicts: Ship pilots will need to be able to navigate safely and efficiently among newly sited wind-farm developments. Fishermen and lobstermen are hoping to protect key fishing grounds as tidal power projects move forward.
Making smart, balanced choices through comprehensive ocean planning will help the ocean and Atlantic Coast communities thrive. By listening to the needs of all ocean users, better choices can be made about how to preserve a thriving economy and a healthy ocean.
Ocean Conservancy advocates for smart ocean planning that incorporates these key steps:
Healthy fisheries are critical to healthy communities and the ecosystems of the Atlantic Coast. Commercial fisheries produce over $5 billion in sales annually from fish species caught in waters from Maine to North Carolina. In that region alone, the seafood industry contributes over $10 billion in value to the regional economy and supports 76,500 jobs.
The Atlantic Coast can only continue to provide us with this bounty if we ensure that we do not take too many fish out of the water, leaving too few behind to reproduce. Overfishing harms more than just fish; it harms the ecosystem, coastal communities and economies that are dependent on them.
Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the future of fish and fishermen on the Atlantic Coast. Our partnerships with fishermen have led to new policies that help make fish plentiful now and into the future. Thanks to those efforts, the catch by American fishermen has reached a 17-year high.
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.