National Ocean Conference: Oceans of Commerce, Oceans of Life
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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The United Nations proclaimed 1998 the International Year of the Ocean. As part of the ongoing Year of the Ocean activities, the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Navy co-hosted the National Ocean Conference on June 11 and 12, 1998, in Monterey, California. The purpose of the conference was to highlight the important role the oceans play in our daily lives and to raise awareness of ocean issues among the public and all of the key stakeholders: government, business, academia, environmentalists, and other nongovernmental organizations. The National Ocean Conference set out to focus the critical dialogue that must develop for our own collective national and global interests in the oceans for the 21st century. Almost 1,000 individuals participated in the conference at Monterey with nearly 1,000 more active participants at 33 conference satellite downlink sites across the nation. Thousands more viewed the conference over the Internet, and several television stations provided live coverage. As the first truly national meeting on the ocean, the National Ocean Conference was a historic achievement and an important beginning. It successfully raised ocean issues to a higher priority on the national agenda and began a serious dialogue among those who will help shape the future of the world's oceans. It is our hope that the issues raised at the conference will become part of a national dialogue on sustaining our oceans not only among policymakers and the ocean community, but also among our nation's schoolchildren and the general public. It is there that dialogue and action will guarantee the important balance that we must maintain, globally, for the use and conservation of our world's greatest resource - the oceans.