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Meridian Institute

National Ocean Protection Coalition

Related: Oceans and Coasts

Until recently, enthusiasm for protection of special places in the United States has focused mainly on land-based natural wonders. Yet the U.S. exclusive economic zone encompasses more ocean area than the combined land area of all 50 states. These ocean waters contain incredible places found nowhere else in the world that are also in need of protection.


Due in part to the coordinated guidance and support of the ocean conservation community, President Obama took several actions to protect special ocean places. During his administration, the percent of U.S. waters under protection increased from 5 percent to 23 percent.  Much of this progress can be attributed to the National Ocean Protection Coalition (NOPC), an association of more than 40 ocean conservation organizations coordinated by Laura Cantral (Meridian Institute), Jane Lubchenco (Oregon State University), and Michael Conathan (Center for American Progress). The NOPC serves to amplify the voice of ocean conservation groups and facilitate the collaboration and coordination of entities working together to generate support from communities, businesses, faith-based groups, and others. 


The unified efforts of NOPC member organizations helped to spur the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, two of the largest protected areas on Earth, and the creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, the only such designation in the Atlantic Ocean. NOPC was also instrumental in the designation of the North Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area and the withdrawal of Arctic and Atlantic waters from offshore drilling in 2016.


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