Mike Schaadt

Director, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

‘At Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, we work to instill respect and stewardship for Southern California marine life. We teach people our ocean is not limitless and that pollution, habitat loss, overfishing, and climate change are taking a toll. At the same time, the Aquarium is at the forefront of conservation of a culturally and previously economically valuable species: the white abalone. Our Aquatic Nursery is where this endangered mollusk is now being bred with the hope of future restoration of the wild population to avoid extinction.


Having places identified that white abalone could be restored is just one of the many reasons I believe comprehensive ocean planning can be useful for conservation efforts. We have 119 marine protected areas (MPAs) along our 1,100 mile California coastline as the result of the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999. In parts of the ocean not protected by MPA’s, ocean planning is a way to ensure projects are sited in ways that reduce impacts to marine life and habitats, as well as to avoid conflict with other ocean users. Taking a science-based approach and bringing everyone to the table to develop an ocean plan will result in guidelines for the future conservation and sustainability of our coasts and ocean.’



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Why We Need Ocean Planning

The ocean and coasts are active places, and we’re putting more demands on them every day. Think about it: traditional uses such as fishing, boating, shipping, recreation, and tourism are all changing and expanding, and at the same time we’re pioneering new industries alongside them like wind energy and sand mining. Ocean planning is about thinking ahead and planning for how to make it all work. Otherwise, we put the ocean’s vast, yet fragile, resources at risk. Voluntary ocean planning allows us to coordinate all these uses in a way that benefits our economy, our communities, and ocean health. Ocean planning is a science-based and data-driven process that provides a tool for people and government to work together, share information and solve problems in a way that works for everyone. Ocean planning helps to identify and resolve potential conflicts early on, helping decision makers and stakeholders in both the private and public sectors do their jobs better. This creates better outcomes for everyone, supporting a healthy ocean and vibrant economy

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