2:41 PM EDT

Greg Walden, R-OR 2nd

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 415) expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that there should be established a National Ocean Day to recognize the significant role the ocean plays in the lives of the Nation's people and the important role the Nation's people must play in the continued life of the ocean, as amended.

2:41 PM EDT

Greg Walden, R-OR 2nd

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I am pleased today that the House is considering House [Page: H5677]

Resolution 415. This is a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a National Oceans Day should be established to recognize the significant role the ocean plays in our lives, that the ocean's resources are limited, and therefore, nations must work together to conserve them.

The oceans will continue to play an important role in the lives of our Nation's people, especially as the population grows. Currently, more than 50 percent of the Nation's population lives in the coastal areas of the United States, and one out of six American jobs is in fishing, shipping, or tourism. Yet, we do not have a full understanding of the oceans and their resources, upon which we rely so heavily.

Declaring a National Oceans Day would draw the public's attention to the importance of their relationship to the ocean, and more importantly, to the need for responsible stewardship. Internationally there has been recognition of the importance of the oceans, and the State of Hawaii has led the way in this country by declaring a day in June as Ocean Day.

Madam Speaker, I believe we should as a nation join in celebrating the significance of our oceans. I urge the House to support this resolution.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

2:41 PM EDT

Greg Walden, R-OR 2nd

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I am pleased today that the House is considering House [Page: H5677]

Resolution 415. This is a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a National Oceans Day should be established to recognize the significant role the ocean plays in our lives, that the ocean's resources are limited, and therefore, nations must work together to conserve them.

The oceans will continue to play an important role in the lives of our Nation's people, especially as the population grows. Currently, more than 50 percent of the Nation's population lives in the coastal areas of the United States, and one out of six American jobs is in fishing, shipping, or tourism. Yet, we do not have a full understanding of the oceans and their resources, upon which we rely so heavily.

Declaring a National Oceans Day would draw the public's attention to the importance of their relationship to the ocean, and more importantly, to the need for responsible stewardship. Internationally there has been recognition of the importance of the oceans, and the State of Hawaii has led the way in this country by declaring a day in June as Ocean Day.

Madam Speaker, I believe we should as a nation join in celebrating the significance of our oceans. I urge the House to support this resolution.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

2:43 PM EDT

Eni Faleomavaega, D-AS

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 415, a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that there should be established a National Oceans Day to recognize the significant role the oceans play in our lives today and in the years to come.

I certainly want to thank the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Mrs. MINK) for introducing this legislation. I also want to thank the committee chairman, the gentleman from Alaska (Mr. YOUNG), and our ranking Democrat member, the gentleman from California (Mr. GEORGE MILLER), for their support of this resolution.

Madam Speaker, as we toil away in our offices today in Washington, D.C., it is quite easy to forget just how dependent we are on the world's oceans. With two-thirds of the Earth's surface covered with water, mostly oceans, they have a significant impact on our daily lives and everyone on this planet. The oceans' ability to retain heat longer than land masses provides a steady influence on daily temperature changes, and the energy generated by hurricanes and cyclones is felt throughout the equatorial

regions, as well as through the subtropical zones.

Small increases in temperature could melt large amounts of ice at the poles. This will have an impact on coastal areas and an enormous impact on some small island countries in the Pacific, as well as in the Atlantic region, possibly totally submerging some of these atolls.

[Time: 14:45]

Madam Speaker, the ocean also provides substance to much of the world's population through seafood and shellfish. In 1999, and for the 10th consecutive year, and for the information of my colleagues, the value of the volume of fish and shellfish imported into the United States now is at a record of over $9 billion, approximately 3.9 billion pounds.

The recreation and employment provided by the world's oceans are also significant. Coming from a small island community, Madam Speaker, I am intimately familiar with the ocean and am constantly reminded of the influence it has upon all of us. Passage of this resolution can serve as an annual reminder to all of us as to the important role the oceans play in our lives.

Madam Speaker, as the world's population develops in further appreciation of this important role, we can hope that the human race will treat the oceans with more respect, thereby maintaining this most important, valuable resource in our planet today.

Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the blance of my time.

2:46 PM EDT

Patsy Mink, D-HI 2nd

Mrs. MINK of Hawaii. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 415 which expresses the sense of Congress that a National Ocean Day should be established in recognition of the vital role that the ocean plays in the lives of our Nation's people and the significant impact our people have on the health of this essential resource.

I want to take this time to thank the chairman of this committee, the gentleman from Alaska (Mr. YOUNG); the ranking member, the gentleman from California (Mr. GEORGE MILLER) of the Committee on Resources; the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. SAXTON); the ranking member, the gentleman from American Samoa (Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA) of the Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans for their efforts in bringing this bill to the floor today.

The oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth's surface and are key to the life support systems for all creatures on our planet. The oceans contain a wondrous abundance and diversity of life, and two-thirds of the world's people live within 50 miles of a coast and one out of six American jobs are marine related.

On June 8, the Earth's Summit Conference convened in Rio de Janeiro on 1992 and declared Oceans Day as part of the recognition of the importance of this resource and similar declarations have been made by other countries.

My own State followed suit shortly afterwards and declared the first Wednesday of June as Oceans Day in recognition of the significant role that oceans play in the lives of the people of my State.

So the adoption of this resolution will encourage the declaration of Oceans Day for the United States, and I hope that this resolution will pass.

The support of human existence by the oceans goes well beyond fisheries and other coastal resources. Oceanic research has contributed greatly to our understanding of global warming and of the effects of the ocean on climate and weather. Sea surface temperatures have a major effect on atmospheric circulation, warming and cooling trends brought on by the ocean currents like El Nino and La Nina have significant effects on the amount of rainfall, severity of storms and global temperatures. The warming

caused by greenhouse gas emissions also affects the temperatures of the ocean.

We take the riches of the ocean for granted at our peril. This incredibly rich resource is neither inexhaustible nor immune to the actions of humankind. Poor stewardship of the oceans pollutes beaches, contaminates the food supply and robs people of a precious resource that they depend upon.

More than two-thirds of the world's fisheries are over exploited and more than a third of the world's fisheries are in a state of decline. Nearly 60 percent of the oceans' coral reefs, the rain forests of the sea, are degraded and destroyed by human activities.

In the 21st century, people will look increasingly to the resources of the oceans to meet its need. It is vital that the United States take the lead in ensuring that the oceans are recognized for its importance and protected so that its riches can be enjoyed and available for future declarations.

Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote for this resolution.