Our oceans have finally become an important agenda item as a global phenomenon. Today was a triumphant day as President Obama directly addressed the issue of ocean conservation.
Climate change has long been a concern due to the effects that it partakes on sea levels and ocean temperatures. As the temperatures begin to change, our coral reefs immediately are threatened and certain species of fish migrate, thus putting the marine environment in danger. Our oceans also continue to take in carbon pollution which results in acidification. Once this ensues, coastal shellfish beds and reefs are damaged greatly and the ripple effect is an altered marine ecosystem. Research has proven that ocean acidity is accelerating at a rapid pace. In addition, the black market fishing is posing a huge threat to the sustainability of our world fisheries, economies and global security.
Recognizing all these valid concerns and the obvious fact that Americans depend on the ocean for food, jobs and recreation, the State Department held a conference over the last week, "Our Ocean", international in nature with agenda items that encompassed sustainable fisheries, marine pollution and ocean acidification. President Obama realizes the challenges that lie ahead and in his first term as President, he launched the National Ocean Policy. This policy seeks to streamline over 100 laws governing our oceans and to create a coordinated, science-based approach to managing these many resources and uses of our coasts and oceans.
We have seen action through voluntary marine planning, release of federal data to support offshore renewable energy projects and efforts to make our ports more irrepressible to sea level rise. Secretary of State John Kerry is issuing a global call to action to protect our precious oceans.
At the conclusion of "Our Ocean" conference, several crucial plans were put forth to concentrate on saving our oceans throughout the future. These plans include the following:
- Combating black market fishing and supporting fishermen.
- Establishing a pathway to new marine sanctuaries.
- Meeting diverse coastal needs with regional marine planning.
- Understanding the impacts of ocean acidification.
- $102 million to build resilience in coastal communities.
- Bolstering domestic shellfish aquaculture.
- National Strategic Plan for Federal Aquaculture Research.
- New protections for world-class marine areas.
With the backing of some of our key political figures, our oceans will hopefully feel a positive impact, and in turn, we will gain a better understanding of the challenges that our oceans face on a global scale and more easily be able to combat them.