Sea Technology

JAN 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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www.sea-technology.com January 2018 | ST 23 Building off of these successes, the caucus is gearing up for next year's legislative push on ocean data moni- toring. Long-term, consistent monitoring of ocean condi- tions is vital to researchers, shipping and fishing interests and our military, all of which rely on accurate and timely information about the sea. From fishermen to university researchers to cargo vessels and cruise ships, being able to access real-time data on ocean conditions and to track changes in ocean chemistry and biology over time is in- valuable to the successful conservation and utilization of our marine resources. We need to bring our ocean data collection fleet up to date, including using technologies such as autono- mous gliders and passive sensors on fishing equipment and vessels. There is an opportunity for innovation and commercial development in this space, as readers of Sea Technology magazine are well aware. In fact, the Na- tional Academy of Sciences recently released a report on ways the United States can improve ocean observation. Among the academy's recommendations was an Ad- vanced Research Projects Agency for the oceans. I have long championed the idea of an "ARPA-O," and I look forward to working with the National Academies and Oceans Caucus members to make this idea a reality. An agency as successful as DARPA and ARPA-E dedicated to ocean and coastal research could give the United States a winning advantage in technology at sea. The U.S. has long been a world leader on ocean and environment issues. But we are quickly losing our place. At the Our Ocean Conference in Malta this year, the U.S. fell short of what we should expect from the country that founded this premiere world ocean conference. I saw the same troubling trend at the UN Climate Change Confer- ence in Bonn. The U.S. stood alone as the only country not committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. Instead of being the example to follow, we're being left behind. If we let political divisions and polluting industries win the day, we will only hurt ourselves. We must find common ground and work together toward ensuring healthy oceans for future generations. Together, we can regain the United States' place as the world leader in ocean innovation, environmental protection and marine industries. ST ture is bright. We will continue to live up to our motto and be "Semper Paratus"—always ready. ST Review&Forecast Making Bipartisan Progress For the Oceans, One Step at a Time By Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) Co-Chair U.S. Senate Oceans Caucus W e're living in chal- lenging times. Our environment, including our oceans and the coast- al communities that rely on them, are facing unprece- dented threats from climate change, pollution and over- exploitation. It doesn't help that a significant number of the people appointed to lead our federal agencies are woefully unqualified and inexperienced. And the divide between our political parties is growing, making com- promise more difficult. Fortunately, oceans policy remains an area primed for bipartisan agreement in Congress. And I'm proud to say the bipartisan Senate Oceans Caucus—with 36 mem- bers—continues to pursue progress in the areas of pirate fishing, marine debris and ocean data monitoring. Our caucus's first challenge was to combat illegal, un- reported and unregulated fishing. After getting four inter- national agreements approved to help stop pirate fishing, as well as the enabling legislation to put them in force, the caucus continues to push for policies that boost sus- tainable fishing practices around the world. Pirate fish- ing often accompanies other illegal activities, including forced labor and human trafficking. To pave the way for additional progress, we recently secured passage of a provision directing the Navy to as- sess its capabilities to support the Coast Guard and our international allies in combatting human trafficking, pi- rate fishing and other illicit activities at sea. I look for- ward to working with my colleagues to address the Na- vy's recommendations. This past year also saw a big win on the caucus's sec- ond priority: action against marine plastic pollution. The Senate passed the Save Our Seas Act, a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize NOAA's Marine Debris Program, expand the agency's authority to respond to natural di- sasters that worsen the spread of marine debris like the 2011 Japan tsunami and encourage the president to pro- mote better management of plastic waste in developing nations. The bill would support investments in research to better understand global marine debris and develop bio- degradable plastic alternatives. The U.S. Trade Represen- tative is also encouraged to use future trade agreements to address the marine debris crisis. We hope the House of Representatives will take up this legislation soon. We must find common ground and work together toward ensuring healthy oceans for future genera- tions. Together, we can regain the United States' place as the world leader in ocean innovation, environ- mental protection and marine industries.

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