Ocean Currents

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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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About Janis Searles Jones

Janis Searles Jones is Ocean Conservancy's President. A respected expert in the marine conservation field, Janis has provided Congressional testimony and is a frequent speaker at conferences all over the United States. She also authored chapters on sustainable use of ocean resources in "Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy" and "Ecosystem-based Management for the Oceans."

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An Ocean of Thanks to YOU

Posted On November 23, 2016 by

The following message is from Janis Searles Jones, President, and Andreas Merkl, CEO.

This has been such a great year for the ocean, and I have you to thank for it. Protecting the ocean is a BIG job, and we can’t do it without people like you.

You’ve put in so much effort all year, that I want to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished together, celebrate our victories and look forward to the work still to be done.

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From Sea to Shining Sea

Posted On November 4, 2016 by

“We the People of the United States, in order to form more perfect protection of our ocean…”

Let’s take a break from election coverage and come together as one nation in love with the ocean.

Regardless of our politics, we can all agree that the ocean is important. From sea to shining sea, we depend on the ocean for our food supply, the air we breathe, our economy and our ability to protect our shores against storms. That’s why I’m asking you to show your ocean pride and vote for the future of the ocean today.

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The Science of Protecting the Arctic

Posted On September 28, 2016 by

 

A year ago, President Obama became the first sitting US President to visit the Arctic.

He stood on the banks of Bristol Bay with a freshly caught salmon in hand, joined schoolchildren in a traditional Yup’ik dance, and stood at the toe of the rapidly shrinking Exit Glacier. He experienced awe-inspiring Alaska with its rich cultures and traditions that depend on a healthy, thriving environment. He also saw the effects of climate change firsthand from the ecological impacts of a receding glacier to a village forced to relocate because of severe coastal erosion.

After that trip President Obama said, “What’s happening in Alaska is happening to us…it’s our wakeup call.”

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Celebrating a Big Year for the Ocean

Posted On December 30, 2015 by

This has been a landmark year for the ocean. The tireless work of ocean advocates—like you—has resulted in a series of victories moving us towards a cleaner, healthier ocean for the communities and animals that depend on it. Here at Ocean Conservancy, we’ve had quite a busy year, and we’re proud to have played our part in working towards a better ocean.

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Senator Lautenberg: A Hero for Our Ocean

Posted On June 3, 2013 by

Ocean Conservancy expresses condolences to the family and friends of Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for their loss at his passing.  Senator Lautenberg was a tireless protector of not just New Jersey, but all of our waters and coastlines.  He was a true environmental champion who will be sorely missed by all those who care about our ocean.  During his long career, he built an incredible legacy of conservation.  Here are just few key highlights:

  • He introduced and passed the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act so that the government could be begin coordinating research on the changing chemistry of the ocean.
  • He successfully fought to improve water quality and curb ocean dumping of sewage and plastics.
  • He wrote and passed the BEACH Act, a law to improve water quality monitoring standards and make sure the public is informed about the safety of their beaches.
  • He was a strong advocate for action to reduce pollution and tackle climate change, pushing for a clean energy future, reducing carbon pollution and promoting renewable energy.
  • He was a tireless advocate for the prevention of oil spills, and was part of congressional efforts to put in place tighter regulations, and to get companies to use stronger “double-hulled tankers” to prevent oil spills. He worked to prevent offshore oil drilling along the Atlantic coast.
  • As the Chairman of the Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the regulation of toxic chemicals, Senator Lautenberg  held hearings and introduced legislation to put the burden on chemical companies to provide data to the EPA so that Americans can be assured the chemicals they are exposed to are safe. He was a champion for the public’s right to know more about the pollution being released into their neighborhoods and created the Toxic Release Inventory.
  • He introduced and passed the Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act to awards grants to states with approved coastal management programs to protect environmentally sensitive lands.

Senator Lautenberg stands on the Asbury Park Boardwalk with Rep. Frank Pallone and others to call for full funding for BEACH Act grants and push new federal legislation that would strengthen existing water quality protection programs.(August 23, 2012) www.lautenberg.senate.gov

 

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A “To Do” List for the Ocean

Posted On April 16, 2013 by

Photo by Mattox. Creative Commons

Great news for anyone who thinks having a healthy ocean is a good idea.  The President’s National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan was released today.  It may not have the catchiest title, but since it’s essentially a “To Do” list for a healthy ocean and economy, it’s something worth getting excited about.

This “To Do” list includes over 50 action items related to making smarter use of the ocean and Great Lakes, both for conservation and the economy.  There are tasks related to protecting the Arctic, tackling climate change and ocean acidification, improving water quality and overall finding ways to better coordinate and manage ocean uses through data collection and monitoring, mapping and improved agency coordination.

Like most to-do lists, there are a lot of routine tasks, such as monitoring of temperature. There are also some ambitious feats on there. It provides the underpinning to cope with unpreventable and unpredictable events, like hurricanes and tsunamis, increased marine debris or rising sea levels.  This plan tackles many of those issues, and much more.

The National Ocean Policy is about making smart choices for a healthier ocean – which, in turn, saves money, time and jobs. The Implementation Plan shows that the policy is a realistic plan that recognizes the tough fiscal climate we’re in.  That’s why it emphasizes that these priorities can help direct the limited resources to where they’re most needed.

We’ve written before about the National Ocean Policy and what has happened so far.

Unfortunately we can expect some of the same critics to cry foul about this based on politics rather than the content of the plan.  Slowing down or blocking the National Ocean Policy could devastate services that many businesses and communities rely on. Congressman Markey once said that opposing the National Ocean Policy is like opposing air traffic control.

Our new CEO, Andreas Merkl, recently said,

“The ocean is at the very center of the key challenges of our time: how to meet the enormous resource demands of a rapidly growing global population without destroying the natural systems that sustain us. In every aspect of this challenge—food, energy, climate and protection of our natural resources—our ability to manage our impacts on the ocean will make the crucial difference in sustaining the resources that we need to survive.”

Approaches that look at the big picture, like the National Ocean Policy, are exactly what we need to rise to this challenge.

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Sen. Daniel Inouye: A Hero to the Ocean, a Hero to Our Country

Posted On December 18, 2012 by


Senator Daniel Inouye makes remarks at the U.S.-Japan Council Opening Reception on Capitol Hill on October 6th, 2011. Photo: Us Japan Council

Late yesterday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor to announce the loss of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, one of the ocean’s true legislative champions. Inouye passed away last night as the second longest serving senator in history – leaving a long legacy of good works for the ocean.

As a senator and former representative from the country’s only island state, Inouye championed the causes of the ocean that surrounded and helped sustain the culture and economy of Hawaii. As one of Capitol Hill’s true bipartisan senators, he wielded his influence to work across the aisle and help pass landmark legislation for ocean health.

Inouye was an early champion in the fight against ocean trash, serving as a lead sponsor to introduce and eventually pass the Marine Debris Act. He also led and co-sponsored the most recent reauthorization of the bill.

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