White House seeks input on National Strategy for a Sustainable Ocean Economy

White House seeks input on National Strategy for a Sustainable Ocean Economy

The Biden administration is looking for input on a new National Strategy for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, which will build on the Ocean Climate Action Plan released in March.

According to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the national strategy will guide how the federal government “can best advance sustainable management of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and ecosystems of the United States.” While the U.S. marine economy makes up nearly two percent of national gross domestic product, America’s ocean resources are under threat, the government claims.

“Many of these benefits are not inexhaustible, and the ocean is vulnerable to the impacts of human activity,” OSTP said in its public notice. “The myriad impacts of climate change, habitat and biodiversity loss, and ocean pollution, for example, continue to degrade the health, productivity, and resilience of ocean ecosystems and make clear the integral connection between a healthy ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes and the health, prosperity, security, and well-being of all Americans.”

The national strategy will be built in conjunction with the work of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, an international collaboration between 17 nations to develop sustainable ocean plans.

Comments on the national strategy are due 28 August.

The government also concluded the public comment period on its Ocean Justice Strategy this week. The White House’s Ocean Policy Committee is drafting an Ocean Justice Strategy “aim to identify barriers and opportunities to fully integrate environmental justice principles” into the federal government’s ocean-related activities.

According to the Ocean Policy Committee, the strategy will describe what ocean justice is, current barriers to and opportunities for ocean justice, and how the federal government will enact it.

Six state attorneys general have issued a joint letter in support of the Ocean Justice Strategy.

“At its core, ocean justice is about righting our nation’s wrongs and ensuring that future ocean policy decisions are more – not less – inclusive,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said this week. “The United States boasts some of the most magnificent ocean and coastal areas in the world. Everyone should have access to their benefits and be protected from coastal pollution and other harms.”

Among the priorities listed by the attorneys general are providing equitable public access to oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes, identifying the disparate harms ocean justice communities face from various sources of pollution, addressing and mending past harms and injustices, and engaging communities early in federal actions.

Earlier this month, NOAA Fisheries released its updated Climate Science Regional Action Plans, part of the government’s Climate Science Strategy.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / Alexandre.ROSA


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