Cantwell Statement on National Ocean Month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in recognition of National Ocean Month, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, released the following statement.

“From supporting a robust trade economy to supplying diverse marine resources that fuel our livelihoods, our oceans are essential to our daily lives. For centuries, the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound have helped shape and define Washington state’s culture, people, and way of living. We take pride in our pristine waterways and majestic landscapes, and we recognize their importance to our future health and prosperity. We must be proactive in preserving them for generations to come.

“Washington state’s fishermen have provided a model for the country on how sustainable fisheries can support thriving fishing stocks for years to come. In the Senate, I’ll continue to work to maintain science-based regional fishery management programs that preserve the most valuable fisheries in the world.

“Disasters like the oil spill in the Gulf last year illustrate that we can’t risk irreparable damage to our beautiful coastlines and the communities that depend on them. Washington state’s coastal region has sustained entire industries for generations and today supports 162,000 jobs and generates $9.5 billion in economic activity. I have enacted into law new oil spill prevention requirements that will better protect Puget Sound and Washington’s coasts.

“I have also championed our nation’s first comprehensive research program focused on ocean acidification, which is impacting industry and ecosystems in the Puget Sound and throughout Washington state waters. This has enabled our scientists and shellfish industry leaders to make significant strides in mitigating the impacts of ocean acidification on our diverse marine life, bolstering ecosystem health and the multi-generation shellfish industry.

“While collaborations between industry and science have restored shellfish industry growth, the long-term solution lies in how we use our energy resources. I am fighting for a national transition to cleaner, more diverse energy sources that will reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels that harm our environment.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues in the United States Senate to protect and restore our nation’s marine habitats and diverse resources. It is up to all of us to ensure they remain vibrant and bountiful for future generations.”