Letter to Obama - Oceana USA
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December 8, 2008

Letter to Obama

As President-elect Obama enters office in January, he faces oceans in crisis from overfishing, dirty fishing, climate change, mercury contamination, and more. Help us get the ball rolling with our new leader by asking him to be a champion for ocean conservation.We entreat President-elect Obama to be an ocean leader and to act swiftly on the following threats to the oceans:OVERFISHING – 90% of predator fish such as tuna and swordfish are gone. If current trends continue, scientists estimate that humans could fish out all commercial species by 2048. The new Administration should fully implement the Magnuson-Stevens Act to improve fishery management. BYCATCH – Each year, U.S. commercial fishing operations discard more than one million metric tons of fish and catch thousands of marine mammals, sea turtles and other ocean wildlife. The new Administration should set limits on the bycatch of fish and wildlife. SEA TURTLES – All sea turtles that swim in US waters are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The new Administration should reduce the harm to sea turtles in fisheries and protect important habitat such as nesting beaches and foraging grounds.. SHARKS – Each year, more than 100 million sharks are killed in global fisheries. The new Administration should provide species specific management plans for sharks, require all sharks to be landed with their fins naturally attached, and promote international leadership on shark conservation. SEAFOOD CONTAMINATION – Mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin, is primarily ingested by eating contaminated seafood. As a Senator, President-elect Obama sponsored a bill to reduce the amount of mercury entering the environment by requiring chlorine factories to convert to using mercury free technology. President-elect Obama should continue his work to reduce mercury in the environment. CLIMATE CHANGE – As carbon dioxide emissions increase, our oceans must absorb more CO2, making our oceans more acidic. The impacts on corals and the global food web will be devastating unless prompt action is taken. Carbon emissions must be reduced. The global shipping fleet is estimated to annually release as much carbon dioxide as 130 to 195 million cars-yet it remains unregulated. Moreover, the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, putting Arctic people and marine ecosystems at immediate risk. President-elect Obama should ensure that any climate change proposals reduce carbon emissions, including from the global shipping fleet, and address the impacts of climate change on the oceans and the Arctic. OFFSHORE DRILLING – President Bush lifted the long standing moratorium on new leases for offshore drilling and Congress allowed additional moratoria to expire. President-elect Obama should restore the moratoria as soon as possible in order to protect marine life and ecosystems.President Obama has the opportunity to continue to be an ocean champion, but he needs to hear your voice. Please let him know today that he can’t let the oceans fall to the bottom of his agenda.