March 24, 2014, marks the seventh annual California Ocean Day, when Californians from all corners of the state flood the capital, Sacramento, to send a unified message: take pride in our ocean! Ocean Conservancy and numerous other organizations – along with dozens of volunteers, college students and passionate citizens – will spend the day meeting with legislators to discuss key ocean-related issues. The goal is to inspire decision-makers to support policies that protect and restore California’s 1,100-mile coastline, the state’s most recognized attraction and home to its richest natural resources.
This year, California Ocean Day will focus on three main topics:
California recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of its statewide network of 124 marine protected areas (MPAs), or “underwater parks” – the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Fish, shellfish and marine wildlife thrive inside these refuges which help buffer against threats such as pollution, ocean acidification (OA) and sea level rise (SLR). MPAs also boost local tourism and recreation economies, drawing visitors from around the state and the world. You don’t have to wear fins and a mask to enjoy these coastal hot spots. For a glimpse of the activities California’s MPAs offer, check out our video “How Do You MPA?”
Working to secure long-term funding for monitoring, enforcement and education will benefit Californians now and for generations to come. You can pledge your support by signing this MPA Champion petition.
Land-based contaminants and plastic debris pour more pollution into coastal waters than any other source. These pollutants negatively impact the health of humans and wildlife and threaten coastal economies and livelihoods. California spends about $420 million each year to clean up the coast.
Check out the top 10 trash items commonly found during coastal cleanup efforts.
In the coming decades, SLR and OA will bring new challenges to coastal communities and sea life. SLR will affect an estimated 480,000 Californians and create $100 billion in property damages and losses. OA, caused by the ocean’s absorption of carbon dioxide emissions, is changing the chemistry of the ocean by making it more acidic. This is harming the ability of some animals – like oysters, clams and mussels – to build the shells necessary for their survival. Some shellfish farmers and harvesters are already starting to see changes. Meet some of the people whose jobs, livelihoods and communities depend on this industry in California by watching this video or clicking through this image gallery.
There’s still a great deal that we need to understand and learn about OA. You can help in this effort by urging your members of Congress to allocate more money for research on OA.
The ocean gives us gifts each and every day. Its abundant resources generate $39 billion annually and more than 472,000 jobs, provide more than 35 million pounds of seafood, and offer priceless amounts of aesthetic and recreational enjoyment. California Ocean Day is a special opportunity to give back to the ocean.
While we wish that all of you could join us in Sacramento, there are ways for you to voice your support for protecting the California coast and the ocean as a whole from your home. Tweet about your favorite ocean and coastal activities using the hashtag #CAOceanPride. We’ve included a few examples below. We look forward to seeing your tweets!
Send a tweet to show your support: