- More than 50 percent of the nation's population lives and works within 50
miles of the coastline. Yet coastal areas account for only 11 percent of
the nation's land area.
- The ocean is responsible for the world's climate and weather patterns.
Major climate events, such as El Niņo, result from ocean temperature changes.
- U.S. consumers spent an estimated $41 billion for seafood and fish
products in 1996.
- An acre of coastal waters or wetlands can produce more food than the best
Midwestern farm land.
- Commercial and recreational fisheries support more than 1.3 million jobs,
and in 1995 added more than $20 billion to the gross domestic product.
- Many important U.S. fish species are overfished and in need of
rebuilding, including cod, haddock and red snapper.
- 80 percent of pollution to the fragile, finite marine environment comes
from land-based sources, such as runoff pollution. Runoff pollution
includes many small sources, like septic tanks, cars, trucks and boats,
plus larger sources, such as farms, ranches and forest areas.
- Millions of motor vehicle engines make daily, one-drop- at-a-time oil
spills onto roads and parking lots, adding significantly to runoff pollution.
- Coastal tourism is vital to the U.S. economy, providing 28.3 million jobs
and generating $54 billion annually in goods and services. About 180
million people visit our coastlines each year.
- Two hundred million years of geologic and biological history are recorded
on the ocean's floor.