Ocean Champions is the only political voice for ocean health. We take a non-partisan approach in working with
the U.S. Congress to ensure ocean health through electoral and legislative action.

Issues and Campaigns

This year and in 2008, Ocean Champions is focused on several issues aimed at improving the overall health of our oceans. Ocean Champions works with members of Congress to pass pro-ocean laws through strategic, high-quality lobbying and helps elect pro-ocean leaders to Congress to build a more pro-ocean Congress. Read below to learn about the ocean issues we focus on in our work with Congress.

The Ocean Health Plan

Much as a doctor would devise a “health plan” for a sick patient, Ocean Champions has developed an “Ocean Health Plan” that details what Ocean Champions plans to focus on to improve the health of our ailing oceans.

Ocean Champions activley lobbies members of Congress to adopt the recommendations of the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, who together make up the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI). JOCI took a holistic perspective on what the ocean needs to remain healthy when preparing their recommendations for the President and the Congress.

Ocean Champions has used that same holistic perspective to develop our Ocean Health Plan. Read below to learn about the core priorities of our Ocean Health Plan.

To learn what legislation we’re working Congress to pass click here.

To learn about candidates who’ve become Ocean Champions in Congress click here.

Ocean Governance

A healthy reef ecosystem

The goal of using a holistic approach to ocean health is to implement a law that addresses the vast array of problems our oceans face such as global warming, overfishing and pollution. While comprehensive laws exist for the land and air (such as the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act) no such law exists for our oceans yet.

Because the ocean governance system in this country has developed on a crisis-by-crisis basis, addressing issues such as endangered marine mammals or protecting coastal zones, there is a distinct need for a comprehensive national oceans policy. Ocean Champions has been working pro-ocean leaders in Congress since 2004 to develop and pass legislation for a national oceans policy. One of our Ocean Champions in Congress, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Ca) has introduced a bill named OCEANS-21 (HR21) which, if passed, would become the first national oceans policy. We are working with members of Congress to pass this bill because it’s guiding principles take a holistic perspective of ocean health.

To learn more about OCEANS-21,

Global Warming And Our Oceans

Corals bleached by the
warming oceans

Global warming has traditionally been viewed from a “land” perspective. Often when we think of the effects of global warming we imagine expanding deserts, heat waves, and drought.

While all those effects are certainly occurring, the oceans are what will change and suffer the most as a result of global warming. Because global warming is on the minds of many political leaders with the recent change of leadership in Congress, it is now more important than ever to educate members of Congress about how global warming is affecting our oceans.

Ocean Champions is dedicated to educating members of Congress that global warming is an ocean issue and about how potential solutions to global warming must also focus on the health of our oceans. With the help of our members and supporters we will make sure political leaders know that there is a powerful pro-ocean community watching their performance on global warmin and our oceans.

To learn more about how global warming is affecting our oceans, click here.

Water Quality

Coastal water quality is a
growing threat to humans
and ocean wildlife

Ocean Champions feels strongly about improving ocean and coastal water quality, central to our goal of improving ocean health. Last year we had one of our biggest legislative victories as Congress renewed the national moratorium on new offshore oil & gas drilling. Our ability to give the oceans a strong political voice in Congress was on display as many of the political leaders we endorse (our Ocean Champions) were instrumental in ensuring that most of the the coastal U.S. would continue to be protected from the threat of new offshore drilling.

This year and through the 2008 elections, we are focused on new emerging threats to coastal water quality. There are still attempts by Ocean Enemies in Congress to open up our coasts to oil drilling and with our oceans warming, coastal communities are increasingly threatened by water quality issues such as red tide and other harmful algal blooms.

Harmful algal blooms like red tide cause respiratory distress among seniors and children. Additionally they contaminate shellfish and have a negative effect on coastal states’ economic lifeblood: tourism. Ocean Champions is working with pro-ocean leaders in Congress to pass the Save Our Shores Act, which would increase funding for scientific research to combat red tide and other harmful algal blooms (HABs).

To learn more about what we’re doing to find a solution to red tide and other HABs,


Overfishing will decimate the
world’s fish populations without
immediate action

A recent article in the Scientific Journal Science, discussing a study that predicts the world’s fish and seafood will collapse by 2048, illustrates just how grave a problem overfishing has become. We have worked with Congressional leaders over the past few years to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the primary fisheries management law in the U.S., and were victorious last year as Congress reauthorized the bill with no significant rollbacks. To learn more about how Ocean Champions role in reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act

What does the MSA reauthorization do? It constrains fishing efforts based on the biology of fish species, rebuilds overfished populations in a timely manner, protects ocean habitats that are essential to fishes throughout their lifecycles, and minimizes the deaths of fish, birds, and other ocean wildlife that are accidentally caught during fishing operations (also known as bycatch). This legislative victory is a big step toward developing sustainable fishing practices that will keep ocean ecosystems and fish populations healthy for generations to come.