The Office of Marine Conservation (OES/OMC) formulates and implements U.S. policy on a broad range of international marine conservation issues in order to ensure economic prosperity and security through healthy, sustainably managed fisheries in the oceans and Great Lakes. We negotiate the bilateral and multilateral agreements that make up the global legal framework for international fisheries management, and we also advance U.S. priorities through strong bilateral relationships and engagement in a range of regional and global bodies (such as the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development).
U.S. leadership within these bodies drives science-based conservation and management measures that level the playing field and promote growth and job-creation for U.S. fishers, support economic and food security, and ensure a healthy and productive marine environment for fisheries that produce hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of jobs for the U.S. economy. Commercial and recreational marine fisheries support 1.7 million U.S. jobs and generate $212 billion in sales across the United States, contributing $100 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2016.
Beyond the benefits to the United States, these bodies play an essential role in global economic and food security, which are critical for political stability. More than 3.2 billion people rely on fish as a primary source of animal protein. Many of these people live in the world’s poorest and most isolated areas, where alternatives for affordable high-quality protein are scarce. World trade revenue from fisheries and aquaculture generated an estimated $152 billion in 2017.
OMC works closely with partner agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, to develop international rules governing fisheries management, seafood trade, and maritime security.