Tonight at the 5th Annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awards, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will receive the 2012 Excellence in Policy Award. The Senator is being honored for his work to protect our oceans, and for establishing the Senate Oceans Caucus, a bipartisan group that works to increase awareness on issues facing oceans and coasts.
"Rhode Island, the Ocean State, relies on our Bay and offshore waters for the jobs provided by fishing and lobstering, shipbuilding, tourism, boating, and soon, we hope, wind energy. We are learning that humankind has for too long been takers from our oceans, when we should have been caretakers," said Whitehouse. "I am committed to protecting our oceans for future generations, and I'm honored to accept this award today."
Earlier this year, the Senate passed legislation that included a provision authored by Whitehouse to establish a National Endowment for the Oceans. The Endowment would provide a dedicated source of funds to help protect our oceans and coasts and support jobs in industries like fishing and tourism. The funds would go to projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure. The Endowment would provide a dedicated source of funds to help protect our oceans and coasts and support jobs in industries like fishing and tourism, and provide funding opportunities for CRMC, URI and GSO, and our coastal municipalities.
The Peter Benchley Awards were first established in 2004 to acknowledge outstanding achievements in the conservation of our ocean and coastal ecosystems and the communities they support. The ceremony is named after the late Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws and a tireless advocate for marine conservation. This year's awards ceremony will be hosted by the Blue Frontier Campaign and the late Peter Benchley's wife, Wendy Benchley.