R 313
98-H 9218
Enacted 6/23/98

H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N


Introduced By: Representatives Naughton, Caruolo, Henseler, Ginaitt and Kennedy

Date Introduced : June 16, 1998

WHEREAS, More than 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by water, and more than half the world's population lives within 50 miles of a coastline. We rely on the ocean as both a source and sustenance of life on our planet. It contains a wondrous abundance and diversity of life, from the smallest micro-organism to the mammoth blue whale. It is a key source of food, medicine, energy, commerce, and recreation for the peoples of the world, and the more we learn about its influence on climate and weather, the more we realize its impact on our safety and quality of life; and

WHEREAS, We are only beginning to understand the depths of the ocean's mysteries, but we are quickly learning one crucial lesson: the ocean's resources are limited, and we must work together to preserve them. Many areas are already overfished; decades of pollution including industrial waste has taken a toll on the health of the ocean and its living creatures. Many species of fish are threatened with extinction, and even our precious coral reefs, once a safe haven for an amazing variety of animal and plant life, have suffered greatly; and

WHEREAS, Because the ocean is a treasure that all nations of the world share in common, we must work in partnership to become wise stewards of its many riches. We must strive together -- at local, national, and international levels -- to preserve the ocean's health, to protect the marine environment, and to ensure the sustainable management of the myriad resources the ocean contains; and

WHEREAS, Dedicating 1998 as the Year of the Ocean is an important first step in this worldwide endeavor. Throughout the year, individuals, organizations, and governments will participate in activities designed to raise public awareness of the vital role the ocean plays in human life and of the equally vital role that human beings must play in the life of the ocean. The Year of the Ocean provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about the ocean's unique environment and to collaborate on protecting and preserving its invaluable resources; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island has long recognized the importance of the oceans. Our state has chosen to distinguish itself as the "Ocean State" -- technically, one could say, its because every city and town in Rhode Island is within 25 miles to the ocean, 400 miles of splendid coastline, stretching from Mohegan Bluffs of Block Island in the Atlantic Ocean to the beaches of South County Coast and the islands and shoreline of Narragansett Bay. However, those of us who live here know this because of our passion for all matters related to the oceans; and

WHEREAS, The University of Rhode Island is world renowned for its expertise in the ocean sciences and technology and is committed to leading us into the 21st Century and this makes us extremely proud. The Vice Provost of Marine and Environmental Programs at U.R.I., Margaret Leinen addressed the United Nations on the significance of the oceans and how vital it is to insure their sustainability for global cooperation; and

WHEREAS, the JASON Project statewide RI network has been established -- JASON Project, a year long learning system created by Dr. Robert Ballard, a URI graduate, connects scientists with students and teachers. Over 4,000 students and their teachers and parents participated with RI business leaders, such as TACO, Inc., TEXTRON, and EDS along with the Providence Journal Company, COX Communications and URI provided essential financial and support service for RI Statewide JASON IX, "Year of the Oceans and Beyond"; and

WHEREAS, Other programs are the New England Board of Higher Education, "Aqua Project", developing an aquaculture curriculum which integrates science, math and English. "Aqua Project is a National Science Foundation Grant Project and the 1998 RI Teachers Aquaculture Network established to provide assistance from URI & Roger Williams University, and RI College to teachers, K-12; and

WHEREAS, The Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) is the originator of the National Ocean Science Bowl Competition. The University of Rhode Island's Coastal Institute, has been selected as the regional leader for the National Ocean Science Bowl. The regional competition took place on January 31, 1998; and

WHEREAS, 1998 Aquaculture Conference at Rhodes-on-the Pawtuxet will be held on October 8-9, 1998. It will be the best yet. Rhodes offers us an opportunity for demonstrations and exhibits "and will be joined by many institutions along the eastern coast such as, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Massachusetts and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida." The RI Seafood Council and the RI Hospitality Industry will be providing demonstrations which is appropriate as the UN and President Clinton have proclaimed 1998 as "The Year of the Ocean"; and

WHEREAS, Our Aquaculture Conference will be a celebration of the oceans. Rhode Islanders, always have had a passion for all matters related to the oceans. Our lives are inextricably linked to the ocean. One of every 6 jobs in the US is marine related , and 1/3 of our Gross Domestic Product as produced in the coastal zone, through fishing, transportation, recreation and other industries. In addition, our national security and foreign trade are dependent on preserving freedom of navigation on the high seas for military as commercial vessels worldwide. Over 1/2 of the nation's population now lives and works within 50 miles of the ocean, and 85% of all tourism dollars are received in coastal states, the number of recreational watercraft has increased 50% to 12,000,000 and 95% of United States foreign trade passes through United States ports and harbors and puts new emphasis on the need for up-to-the-minute navigation tools and maritime education. In addition, the oceans are an essential resource for sustaining life on Earth and have become our last frontier; and

WHEREAS, Despite the importance of the ocean to various sectors of the US public, the overall impact of the ocean activities to the nation as a whole is rarely addressed. We believe that the Aquaculture Conference will provide an important forum to discuss these and other aspects of the ocean through three central themes: education; environment; and economics. We hope to underscore the importance of the ocean to a vast range of vital US interests while enhancing the public's awareness of our nation's dependence on the ocean. Conference participants will include scientists, academics, industry representatives, non-government organizations, individuals from federal, state and local governments and citizens affected by our oceans everyday; and

WHEREAS, Oliver Hazard Perry (1775-1818), a Rhode Island native, was a hero of the War of 1812's Battle of Lake Erie and a Commodore in the United States Navy. He was honored with distinguished service after defeating an entire British squadron and successfully bringing back every ship to port. His brother, Matthew Perry, was Commodore of the African Squadron and helped suppress the slave trade. He also opened diplomatic and commercial relations with Japan as well as seeing action in the War of 1812 aboard the USS President. Former U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell brought global awareness to the importance of oceans and the need to establish laws of the sea at a meeting held in Kingston, R.I. in 1966 and U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy continues in his leadership as Vice Chairman of the World Ocean Commission; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island has a great maritime history and continues to contribute to the nation's prosperity and health through outstanding achievements in science and technology. It is the home of the Naval War College in Newport. Ocean sensors used to detect the temperatures of the ocean and thereby predict hurricanes and protect mankind and commerce were developed at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Middletown, RI. Rhode Island has world recognition for our boatbuilders, and for world class sailing races, especially for 12 meter yachts and is the home of the American Seafood Institute. The Ocean State has a reputation for the best tasting seafood on earth! The City by the Sea, Newport, was the place where Senator Pell introduced the concept of the National Sea Grant College system. Even our State Seal has an anchor which symbolizes hope and reminds us of the importance of the ocean to Rhode Island. After all , this is why we are called the "Ocean State" ! For further information there is a website at http;//www.yoto 98. com; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby proclaims 1998 as the "Year of the Oceans" and encourages all the citizens of the "Ocean State" to participate in the observances of this year; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he is hereby authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to President William J. Clinton, Governor Lincoln C. Almond, Majority Leader Paul Kelly of the R.I. State Senate, University of Rhode Island President Robert Carothers, the Department of Economic Development, and the United States Pavilion in Lisbon, Portugal via hand courier.

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