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Ocean Champions: Political Champions for Ocean Conservation

Dear Friend,

Today, Senate champions Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2011.  This is a strong bill to address a problem that is making our oceans and coastal citizens sick and is becoming worse every year.

As you know, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have quietly become a major threat to coastal ecosystems.  They often produce a toxin and occur in both salt and fresh water.  They kill fish, marine mammals, and birds; they can contaminate shellfish with toxins and harm human health, sometimes resulting in fatalities. HABs shut down fisheries, sideline fishermen and drive tourists away from resorts.   These toxic tides can also eat up all the oxygen from their surrounding water, leaving hypoxic “dead zones” where almost no marine life can survive.  Today, there are 405 dead zones in the world, including one in the Gulf of Mexico that is roughly the size of New Jersey.

The Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2011 will drive the development and implementation of a national program to address HABs and hypoxia by improving our ability to predict, mitigate, reduce and control them.  Noting the severity of the problem, the Act looks to improve collaboration and coordination across the agencies and organizations responsible for implementing the plan.

In addition to Senators Snowe and Nelson, we’re pleased to see that the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2011 is also cosponsored by ocean champions like Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and also by influential Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Kirsten Gillebrand (D-NY), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

"This bill will help us understand and predict what's causing fish kills and harmful algae blooms" said Senator Bill Nelson.  "The more we learn about these phenomena and how to prevent them, the better off our oceans, lakes and rivers will be."

We’ll be working hard to get this good bill passed, and then to pass the strongest possible bill in conference with the House.  Along the way, your voice will be important, so stay tuned!

For the oceans,

David Wilmot, Ph.D.
President and Co-Founder

Mike Dunmyer
Executive Director

P.S. Help us elect more great champs like Senators Snowe, Nelson, Begich and Whitehouse by giving generously today!  Your donation is an investment in ocean health!

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