Leave it to our ocean to bring us all together when it seems like Washington is getting weirder with no one getting along and progress at a standstill.
This week, over 40 people working and living on the ocean and in coastal communities from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states came to the nation’s capital to urge their members of Congress and decision-makers at ocean-related federal agencies to continue to support coordinated planning, early engagement with ocean users and the data and information on ocean ecosystems and industry uses that make their (and our!) lives better. The group represented a broad range of ocean users, from fishing to shipping, offshore wind to recreation, who all understand that by working together, we can all achieve our goals.
The ocean is a busy place. Existing uses like shipping and trade routes are expanding. Fishermen have to adjust to shifting fish stocks. Surfers and recreational boaters want a clean ocean and the space to play. New renewable energy projects are being considered, but must ensure the livelihoods of those already working on the water are not impacted. All this requires people coming together, discussing management challenges and finding the best solutions for everyone.
Regional ocean planning is about people and good data. Diverse ocean interests, who might not agree on everything, understand that smart planning is a pathway to better decisions. That is the message these 40 people delivered this week to decision makers in D.C. They urged their elected representatives in Congress to support funding to ensure we have the best data to make more informed decisions about our ocean. And, they reminded the Trump administration to support local jobs, communities and the natural resources that makes it all possible—our ocean.