A Voice for Our Ocean

STATEMENT: President Biden signs National Defense Authorization Act into law

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rainbow HI_William Eikeland
Rainbow over whale breach at Molokai, HI © William Eikeland

Washington, D.C. – The following statement was issued by Jeff Watters, Ocean Conservancy’s Vice President of External Affairs, in response to President Biden signing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law today: 

“Ocean Conservancy thanks President Biden and the U.S. Congress for recognizing that our ocean is a bipartisan priority for the future of all people and the planet.  

“For more than a decade, Ocean Conservancy championed several provisions that were included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law after passing the 117th United States Congress.  

“We celebrate the inclusion of better regional ocean coordination, enhanced protection for sharks, restoration of coral reefs, much-needed investments in ocean science and improved oil spill response.  

“Ocean Conservancy welcomes this rising tide of support for our ocean and we remain committed to working with all partners to create a healthier ocean protected by a more just world.”   


Jeff Watters is available for media inquiries upon request.  


  • The National Defense Authorization Act includes an ocean package, the Coast Guard bill, and several other defense related provisions.  
  • Ocean Conservancy played a major advocacy role in both the Coast Guard and ocean package provisions including coordinating the ocean community on a strategy to gain support from Congressional leadership, educating Hill offices on the value of these provisions, and connecting key ocean community members with direct congressional staff engagement for these key ocean provisions.   
  • Ocean Conservancy led a letter to push for an ocean package that included the following bills: Regional Ocean Partnerships Act, Restoring Resilient Reefs Act; Bolstering Long-term Understanding and Exploration of the Great Lakes, Ocean, Bays, and Estuaries (BLUE GLOBE) Act; National Ocean Exploration Act; Marine Mammal Research and Response Act; Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act; and the Learning Excellence and Good Examples from New Developers (LEGEND) Act, and the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act (this last bill ended up being included in the omnibus). 
  • Additional ocean provisions we advocated for include the Coast Guard oil spill provisions including Western Alaska oil spill planning criteria and oil spill response review. There are several other ocean wins in this bill that impact the Maritime Administration (MARAD), Arctic, climate, fisheries, and more. We look forward to President Biden signing this bill into law shortly and working to ensure these bills have an impact on ocean conservation.  

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  

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