Supporting the Oceans that Support Us
Today marks a historic day for ocean protection in the U.S – California’s Fish and Game Commission is poised to approve the north coast’s community-designed marine protected area plan. And with that action, California will become the first state in the nation with a complete system of undersea “hope spots” meandering along the entire coastline from San Diego all the way up to Eureka.
It comes as no surprise to my friends and family that I’m excited by this news. I am an unabashed sea-dweller. My twitter handle is “free_dive” and when I have any free time they know they can find me diving in the prolific coastal waters of California. As a resident of the Golden State I am fortunate to have access to some of the most amazing and unique marine habitats in the world. And as people around the world gear up for “World Ocean’s Day” – a day when everyone celebrates the marine resources that support our lives – I am thankful that California has taken a leadership role to ensure the protection and resilience of the marine resources along the Pacific coast.
Our ocean is the vital economic engine for a multi-billion coastal economy, with robust tourism and recreation accounting for 75% of ocean-related jobs here in my home state. The Marine Life Protection Act (and the marine reserves and parks it designates) provides a network that will safeguard these resources that delight visitors, support local businesses, and make California a great place to live – not to mention an adventurous place to dive.
Our Earth’s oceans cover a total 71 percent of the planet. They also contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water and support nearly 50 percent of all species. Most importantly people and their families are supported as the ocean gives us all food, livelihood, culture, and for me personally, a source of renewal and unparalleled joy.
My fingers are crossed that the votes will reflect unified support for a vibrant ocean legacy for many generations to come.