Did you know

  • 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.
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