A toast to the coast
Today is Ocean Day, when Monterey Bay Aquarium joins other ocean advocates in Sacramento for a day-long celebration of ocean and coastal health.
For the seventh year, the Aquarium is hosting a reception for nearly 200 state legislators, government officials, business executives and ocean advocates—people dedicated to conserving the health and vitality of our state’s ocean and coast.
They’ll enjoy sustainable California seafood rated “Best Choice” by our Seafood Watch program and fine wines from California’s coastal communities. We’ll also present awards to some of California’s strongest ocean champions, honoring the actions they took in 2015 to advance ocean and coastal health.
We have so much to celebrate here in California, thanks to forward-thinking decisions and policies that have made our state a global model for ocean conservation and thriving coastal communities.
Now more than ever, we need to build on our progress and continue to lead by example. This means ensuring we have strong, conservation-minded leaders for agencies like the California Coastal Commission and the Fish and Game Commission.
Three state legislators will receive our California Ocean Champion Award for 2016:
Senator Bill Monning. As majority leader of the California Senate, his ongoing dedication is improving ocean and coastal health in Monterey Bay and throughout our state. In 2015 he authored SB 17, which extended the California Sea Otter Fund voluntary tax check-off for another five years through January 1, 2021. The fund was originally established in 2006 when then assemblymember, now Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, learned during a family visit to the Aquarium about the threats facing sea otters. So far, taxpayers have contributed over $2.35 million. These funds support vital research and conservation programs for California sea otters, which are important to the well-being of coastal ecosystems and economies.
Assemblymember Richard Bloom. His 2015 bill, AB 888, enacted a ban on plastic microbeads in personal care products. Not only was it the strongest state law at the time of passage, it became a model for the federal Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, approved with bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama. We also appreciate Bloom’s work as Chair of the Resources and Transportation Budget Subcommittee to foster adequate and sustained funding for implementation of California’s statewide network of marine protected areas (MPAs).
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez. She was a leader in enacting AB 298 to strengthen enforcement of California’sMPA network. The Aquarium was deeply engaged in the MPA designation process, and we’re committed to the network’s success. AB 298 will help ensure this success by improving compliance with marine wildlife and ecosystem protection laws associated with the Marine Life Protection Act. Effective enforcement is vital, so the MPA network can help restore fisheries and advance overall ecosystem health by protecting the state’s most ecologically significant marine areas.
Leaders like these, and our collective actions as citizens, help protect the world’s one connected ocean—our lifeline. If we save it, we save the planet and ourselves.