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Call to 2012 Presidential Candidates

Call to President Barack Obama & Governor Mitt Romney

to Protect the Ocean!


As citizens involved with our seas we call on and expect the next President of the United States to support our nation’s ocean based economy and assure the sound stewardship of our coasts and ocean.  Our nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone, stretching 200 miles out from our shores, is the largest in the world, a blue frontier more extensive than our continental landmass.  With increased scientific knowledge and understanding of this, our nation’s second great frontier, comes both an opportunity and a responsibility to restore the blue in our red, white and blue.

Recognizing that the protection of coastal communities and ocean-dependent jobs, the marine environment and America’s maritime heritage has long been a bipartisan goal, we ask that the two leading candidates for President of the United States in 2012 – President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney – and their parties and campaign organizations – commit to the following broad principles and actions:

I. In the International Arena

  • Support initiatives to protect our global commons on the high seas and the polar seas through agreements to restore fish and other marine wildlife, reduce marine pollution, encourage scientific collaboration and protect vital habitats including seamounts, coral reefs and coastal mangroves.
  • Based on the work of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush who established the highest level of protection for the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument of Hawaii, support similar global efforts now underway to create a network of large wilderness parks in the sea like the United States’ unique system of National Parks and National Seashores that can act as a world repository of marine biodiversity for our and future generations.

II. In the United States

  • Implement a national ocean policy that will coordinate federal efforts to eliminate agency conflicts and redundancy while working with traditional and emerging users of our public seas.  This policy should also embrace local, state and regional solutions to ensure healthy and productive seas while addressing emerging challenges including protecting coastal populations at risk, providing resources to our emerging blue water coastline in the Arctic and addressing the impacts of sea-level rise and ocean acidification.
  • Recognizing that our EEZ frontier waters and our national economy depend on healthy seas, new discoveries and maritime enforcement, the next President should commit to fully fund the marine stewardship, exploration and law-enforcement missions carried out by the frontline agencies on America’s blue frontier including the United States Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

We believe a commitment to these four action areas by the next President of the United States will help turn the tide in restoring a vital element of the American economy and our national and natural heritage from sea to shining sea.

We look forward to your response

With regards and respect,

Jesse Ausubel  Director, Program for the Human Environment, The Rockefeller University
James N. Barnes  Executive Director, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition
Dana Beach  Executive Director, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League
Wendy Benchley  Co-Founder, Peter Benchley Ocean Awards
Jeff Benoit  President, Restore America’s Estuaries
Graham Casden  Founder, Ocean First Divers
Celine Cousteau  Executive Director, CauseCentric Productions
Fabien Cousteau  Founder/Executive Director, Plant A Fish
Jean-Michel Cousteau  President and Chairman, Ocean Futures Society
Philippe Cousteau  President, EarthEcho International
John C. Cruden  President, Environmental Law Institute
Bob Davidson  President and CEO, Seattle Aquarium
Alex Earl  Executive Director, Project AWARE
Sylvia Earle  National Geographic Explorer in Residence
Kristen Fletcher  Executive Director, Coastal States Organization
Jenifer Austin Foulkes  Manager, Google’s Oceans Program
John Frawley  President & CEO, The Bay Institute/ Aquarium of the Bay
Vicki Nichols Goldstein  Executive Director, Colorado Ocean Coalition
Randy Hayes  Executive Director, Foundation Earth
David Helvarg  Executive Director, Blue Frontier Campaign
Debbie Kinder  CEO, Blue Ocean Film Festival
Dean C. Klevan, President and CEO, The International Seakeepers Society
Wayne Levin  Fine Art Photographer
Shaun MacGillivray  Managing Director, One World One Ocean
David McGuire  Executive Director, Sea Stewards
Jim Moriarty  CEO, Surfrider Foundation
Rob Moir PhD  Director, Ocean River Institute
Bill Mott  Director, The Ocean Project
Ralph Nader  Consumer Advocate
Wallace J. Nichols PhD  Research Associate, California Academy of Sciences
Dr. Michael K. Orbach  Professor of Marine Affairs and Policy, Duke University Marine Laboratory
Prof. Chris Palmer  Director, Center for Environmental Filmmaking, American University
Dr. Steven Palumbi  Director, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University
Mark D. Perry  Executive Director, Florida Oceanographic Society
Daniel Pingaro  CEO, Sailors for the Sea
Shari Sant Plummer  President, Code Blue Foundation
Louie Psihoyos  Executive Director, Oceanic Preservation Society
Dr. Nancy Rabalais  Professor, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium
John Racanelli  CEO, The National Aquarium
Joshua Reichert  Managing Director, Pew Environment Group
Drew Richardson  President and Chief Operating Officer, PADI Worldwide
Jeremy Rifkin  President, Foundation on Economic Trends
Daniella Russo  Executive Director, Plastic Pollution Coalition
Carl Safina  Founding President, Blue Ocean Institute
Cynthia Sarthou  Executive Director, Gulf Restoration Network
Jerry R. Schubel, PhD  President & CEO, Aquarium of the Pacific
Jason Scorse, Ph.D.  Director, Center for the Blue Economy, Monterey Institute of International Studies
Andrew Sharpless  CEO, Oceana
Mark Shelley  Executive Director, Sea Studios Foundation
Brian Skerry  Underwater Photojournalist
Mark J. Spalding  President, The Ocean Foundation
Daniel T. Stetson  President and CEO, The Ocean Institute
Dave Toole  Executive Director, DigitalOcean
Jim Toomey  Creator, Sherman’s Lagoon, syndicated daily comic strip
Don Walsh, PhD  Explorer and Oceanographer
David Wilmot, Ph.D.  Co-Founder and President, Ocean Champions
Wyland  Marine Life Artist
Marc Yaggi  Executive Director, Waterkeeper Alliance
Cindy Zipf  Executive Director, Clean Ocean Action


Download the letter as a PDF



Contact: David Helvarg Blue Frontier Campaign (510) 778-8470 or cell (202) 491-6296


60 Ocean Leaders call on President Obama and Governor Romney to protect the Blue in our red, white and blue.


In a letter delivered to their campaigns on August 14 leaders in marine exploration, conservation, law, science, media and business have called on Presidential candidates Barak Obama and Mitt Romney to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of protecting America’s coasts and oceans and asked them to commit to four broad action areas.

In the international arena these include supporting global initiatives and agreements to restore fish and wildlife, reduce pollution, establish marine wilderness parks and encourage scientific collaboration.

Domestically it calls for an ocean policy to coordinate the work of federal agencies responsible for the ocean with local, state and regional efforts now underway to assure healthy seas and sound planning for our public waters.  It also calls for adequate funding of frontline agencies involved in marine stewardship, exploration and law-enforcement including the U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As leaders and representatives of millions of concerned Americans they are looking forward to the candidates’ responses and will share that information once it becomes available.  The letter can be found below or online via Blue Frontier Campaign’s website.

For more information or follow up please contact David Helvarg, Executive Director, Blue Frontier Campaign at  202-491-6296