More than half of all Americans live in coastal areas. These areas are home to thriving maritime economies, vibrant coastal cities and breathtaking seascapes. The ocean is woven into the fabric of our communities, providing a source of income, food, stability and, for many, a connection to our past. For many millions more, the ocean is a place of inspiration, natural beauty and wonder.
Communities across the world enjoy the ocean for the beauty it provides and depend on the ocean for their livelihood. Commercial fishermen harvest fish from the sea and renewable energy developers harness the power of the ocean’s wind. Surfers ride the waves near shore and boaters take in the beauty of our marine life while on scuba trips and whale watching tours. But if we don’t plan correctly, conflicting uses can quickly impact local economies and harm the environment. Smart ocean planning brings together ocean users, scientists and researchers and government officials to talk about how we use the ocean now and how we will use it in the future, to ensure that the oceans health is maintained and economies are strong.