Protect America’s Coasts


Target: Governors of coastal states

Goal: Safeguard the health of our oceans by designating protected areas along state coasts

Oceans aren’t just scenic attractions in the United States’s coastal regions. They’re a crucial part of our environment and economy, and they generate half the oxygen we breathe. But a new study indicates that coastal states aren’t doing enough to protect marine life from overfishing, pollution, and other destruction. The former abundance of our oceans is at stake as marine biodiversity suffers. Call on coastal states to implement more rigorous protections for our oceans immediately.

Most marine scientists recommend that states designate at least 20% of ocean waters as no-take marine protected areas to sustain fish populations, marine wildlife, and overall ocean health. According to the study SeaStates: How Well Does Your State Protect Your Coastal Waters?, most coastal states fall far below this ideal percentage. Only a few are even protecting 1% or more of their waters. Out of 23 total coastal states in the U.S., just eight have designated any no-take areas. Fifteen have failed to establish marine protected areas at all.

This lack of protection has alarmed many top scientists and conservationists, who call for stricter rules on which areas should be open for fishing and other human activity. “Despite so many threats to their health, states are failing to protect our ocean waters,” said Dr. Lance Morgan, President of the Marine Conservation Institute. “No-take marine protected areas are the gold-standard for healthy oceans, but far too few states and territories are designating them.”

It’s time that coastal states took action to protect the waters that surround this country. Call on local leaders to implement no-take marine protected areas and save our oceans from destruction.


Dear governors of coastal states,

America’s oceans are one of its most valuable resources. Yet the states responsible for safeguarding marine life have not implemented adequate protections to keep our oceans healthy. Of the 23 states with oceanic coasts, only eight have designated any no-take marine protected areas at all. Six have officially protected just 1% of their coasts. Scientists recommend that 20% of coastal waters be named no-take areas. Only Hawaii protects more than this recommended percentage, with 22.9% of waters falling under state protection.

This negligence for the health of our oceans will haunt us as fish populations and marine biodiversity continue to suffer. We can’t harvest the fruits of our ocean waters without regard to their future. We must plan carefully for a sustainable, long-term relationship with the waters around us. I urge you to protect the wildlife of your coasts designate more marine protected areas as soon as possible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Mary and Angus Hogg via Wikimedia Commons

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