On July 19, 2010, President Obama issued Executive Order 13547 establishing our nation’s first comprehensive National Ocean Policy to protect, maintain, and restore our ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes natural resources for present and future generations. The National Ocean Policy is founded on the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission and was developed through a lengthy process of engagement with industry representatives, coastal businesses, recreational users, scientists and other stakeholders. A National Ocean Council was established in order to tackle one of the strongest recommendations made by these two bipartisan commissions: to provide high-level and sustained coordination of the work of federal agencies on ocean, coastal, island and Great Lakes issues.
Our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes are places of wonder and beauty as well as economic engines that provide valuable jobs, food, recreation, energy resources, and tourism. Ensuring the health and resiliency of our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes is crucial to the health of our nation’s economy. Our ocean and coasts support tens of millions of jobs that are a vital part of the U.S. economy. In 2004 alone, the ocean-dependent economy generated $138 billion of U.S. GDP and employed 2.3 million Americans. Coastal tourism & recreation dominate both employment and GDP in the ocean economy sectors with 1.7 million jobs and nearly $70 billion of GDP.
Given the natural beauty of these ecosystems and economic dependence we have on our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, it is imperative that we implement the National Ocean Policy to ensure ecosystem protection and sustainable management of these ecosystems for future generations. Implementation of the National Ocean Policy also will help move us away from the fragmented management approach that has led to imperiled ecosystems and move our nation toward comprehensive ocean management and protection and restoration of our ocean, coasts, islands and Great Lakes.
RMCP has been working since 2009 to help establish the now National Ocean Policy. RMCP is co-lead of the Healthy Ocean Coalition, a grassroots coalition comprised of conservation organizations and ocean users across the country engaged in supporting full implementation of the National Ocean Policy.