Smart Choices for a Healthy Ocean

The health of our ocean is vital to our nation and the economy. Over half of U.S. residents live in coastal areas.

Millions of jobs and billions of dollars worth of commercial and recreational activity depend on a healthy ocean and coasts

But we are facing a rising tide of competition for our valuable marine resources. The 21st century economy depends on the ocean and that means shipping, recreational boating, commercial fishing and offshore energy are all vying to use the same waters – along with whales, birds, sea turtles and other important wildlife.

That’s why Ocean Conservancy advocates for smart ocean-use planning strategies that help reduce conflict among ocean users and with the environment. 

Smart Ocean Planning Is Essential for a Healthy Economy

The ocean-dependent economy, including six industries dominated by tourism, mineral extraction and marine transportation, generated more than $222 billion in 2009. And every year, commercial and recreational fisheries nationwide employ 1.9 million workers.

Now, emerging industries, such as renewable energy production, are also seeking access to offshore areas. As these ocean uses increase over time, we could end up with haphazard and uncoordinated development that affects the health of our ocean and our national economy.

But making smart, balanced choices through comprehensive ocean planning helps these ocean industries thrive by avoiding potential conflicts: Ship pilots are able to navigate safely around right whale feeding grounds, and fishermen are able to protect their access to key fishing grounds as tidal power projects move forward.

Some states have already confidently invested millions of dollars in preparing for offshore development because of the research and insight gained from coordinated ocean planning. These investments could result in the creation of hundreds of new jobs as well as new business ventures. 

How Do We Plan for the Ocean of the Future?

Smart planning for marine resources requires a coordinated policy – based on science – to balance ocean uses. More comprehensive and available data means greater efficiency and maximized resources. By listening to the needs of all ocean users, better decisions can be made about how to preserve a thriving economy and healthy ocean. 

Ocean Conservancy advocates for smart ocean planning that incorporates these key steps:

  • Create an ocean atlas that allows everyone to see what’s going on in U.S. waters.
  • Invite all stakeholders to ocean town hall meetings and other open forums that give everyone a say in decisions about how to use and protect ocean resources. 
  • Empower those whose lives are most impacted by the ocean to plan for the future.

Help Ocean Conservancy advocate for smart planning today to ensure a wild, healthy ocean and thriving ocean economy for generations to come.


Why the Ocean Matters

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.  

Vision for a Healthy Ocean

Ocean Conservancy works to keep the ocean healthy, to keep us healthy.

Our Solutions

We champion sound science that will lead to innovative, sustainable solutions.

Ocean Conservancy makes careful use of your support, and holds high ratings from charity watchdogs.
BBB Accredited Charity Charity Navigator - your guide to intelligent giving