House Oceans Caucus Urges More Understanding of Ocean Stressors

Co-chairs Suzanne Bonamici, D- Oregon and Don Young, R-Alaska of the House Oceans Committee say environmental stressors impacting oceans threaten the economy and the livelihood of millions of people.

These stressors, they said, include harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, marine debris, warming and more acidic ocean waters, overfishing and rising sea levels.

The recent World Oceans Day served as a reminder that regardless of where people live or their political affiliation, they must remain committed to protect, conserve, maintain and rebuild ocean resources.

Research emerging in Alaska indicates that ocean acidification could have devastating effects on commercially valuable red king crab and Tanner crab populations, they said. Across the country consumers, groceries and the restaurant industry will be affected by changes in ocean chemistry when stable supplies of seafood and shellfish are threatened.

Bonamici and Young said they support funding for the Sea Grant program and are advocating for programs to help rebuild commercial and recreational fisheries and recovery of Pacific wild salmon and steelhead stocks. They are also working on legislation to expand scientific research and monitoring to improve understanding of ocean acidification.

These efforts, they said, will help vulnerable communities and industries to understand, prepare for and, where possible, adapt to changing ocean conditions.