Biden proposes new marine sanctuary as part of newly-created “National Ocean Month”

Published on
June 8, 2022
U.S. President Joe Biden.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden announced on 8 June – World Oceans Day – a set of measures it says are intended to be a part of creating the country’s first-ever ocean climate action plan.

The announcement by the Biden administration follows one on 31 May declaring the month of June “National Ocean Month” in the U.S., a new designation intended to “celebrate the beauty and bounty of our ocean and reaffirm our commitment to protecting and conserving our marine environments for a sustainable future.” The newest actions, the announcement said, are part of the first wave of a series of announcements that will take place throughout the month of June regarding the administration’s “ocean agenda.”

“During National Ocean Month, we celebrate the beauty and bounty of our ocean and reaffirm our commitment to protecting and conserving our marine environments for a sustainable future,” Biden said.

As part of the latest announcement, the Biden administration announced that the Hudson Canyon, an area located 100 miles off the coast of New York and New Jersey, will be proposed for a new national marine sanctuary.

“In proposing to conserve the area as a national marine sanctuary, NOAA will seek public comment on the potential boundaries for the sanctuary and other factors related to its future management,” the Biden administration release said.

The canyon, it added, reaches depths of 2.5 miles, is an “ecological hotspot,” and provides habitat for “endangered, protected, and sensitive species including sperm whale, sea turtles, and unique and diverse seep communities.”

Also in the announcement, the administration said the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, and Co-Chairs of the Ocean Policy Committee, work in coordination with the White House Climate Policy Office to create a “whole-of-government Ocean Climate Action Plan.”

The plan, the Biden administration release said, will be used to guide ocean-based climate mitigation actions. It will also create a “National Sustainable Ocean Plan” to guide future economic development of the country’s ocean and coastal waters.

Other new efforts included in the announcement are a ban on the sale of single-use plastic products in national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands; the beginning of nation-to-nation coordination between the U.S. and the Bering Intergovernmental Tribal Advisory Council, which includes membership from 11 Tribes representing more than 70 Tribes in the Northern Bering Sea region, on a “Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area; a commitment to environmental justice across federal ocean science and technology initiatives; and the U.S. joining the U.N. Environment Program’s Clean Seas Campaign.

“The Biden-Harris administration’s ongoing work to harness the clean energy potential of the ocean, conserve and restore its health and productivity, and lead the world toward sustainable ocean policies is informed and motivated by an understanding that a healthy ocean is indispensable to our economy, our health, and to our climate,” the Biden administration said.  

Photo courtesy of BiksuTong/Shutterstock

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