Ocean conservation was once a goal for Democrats and Republicans alike. In Congress, they collaborated to ensure that U.S. fisheries would be sustainably managed, to protect imperiled marine creatures by banning the use of driftnets and shark finning, and to set aside large areas of the ocean for special protection. While he was president, George H.W. Bush designated six National Marine Sanctuaries, more than during any previous administration, and President Bill Clinton convened America’s first National Oceans Conference. President George W. Bush used the Antiquities Act to establish what was then the largest marine protected area in the world, Papahanaumokuakea, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. And President Barack Obama quadrupled the extent of protected U.S. waters.
Despite ocean waters warming and sea levels rising, in recent years this bipartisan tradition has waned. Now, the White House has committed to an ambitious economic program with climate action at its center. President Joe Biden and his climate team want to rapidly scale offshore wind-energy production, cut shipping and port emissions, and protect ocean habitats and coastal communities.
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Managing Director; Director, Ocean Policy