RELEASE: U.S.-China Collaboration Critical to Protect Oceans, New CAP Report Argues

Washington, D.C. — Collaboration between the United States and China is critical when it comes to protecting the world’s oceans from overfishing, pollution, and unchecked resource extraction, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.

The report details the findings from CAP’s “Blue Future” conference, which brought together U.S. and Chinese ocean policy experts to discuss how these two countries can cooperate to reduce threats to the health and sustainability of the ocean.

“With global ocean health already at crisis levels, it’s imperative that the U.S. and China take action to ensure healthy marine ecosystems for the planet,” said Melanie Hart, lead author of the report and director of China policy at CAP. “The nongovernmental experts at this conference showed where the two nations should focus their efforts to reach bilateral progress on these issues and serve as a model for the rest of the world.”

The 2017 forum brought together experts in four key issue areas: global fisheries policy; the blue economy; polar issues, including both the Arctic and Antarctic; and global environmental challenges.

“In recent years, the international community has begun to pay overdue attention to the significant harm human actions have inflicted on our planetary life support system — the ocean,” said Michael Conathan, lead author of the report and former director of ocean policy at CAP. “The U.S. and China must lead the search for solutions to problems such as global overfishing, ocean warming and acidification, and other forms of marine pollution including plastics and nutrient overloading. This convening demonstrated a tremendous level of interest in and support for such action from both countries.”

These experts discussed the increasing economic and security risks from the degradation of global ocean health and reached several key recommendations for U.S.-China collaboration:

  • Foster bilateral relationships to build trust and mutual understanding and to enhance scientific research endeavors
  • Bridge gaps in capacity and understanding
  • Maintain some form of government-to-government dialogue on ocean issues
  • Grow the sustainable blue economy
  • Create a narrative on ocean cooperation

Read the report: “Blue Future: Mapping Opportunities for U.S.-China Ocean Cooperation” by Michael Conathan, Melanie Hart, Blaine Johnson, and Shiva Polefka

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 202.478.6327.