MEDIA ADVISORY: Capitol Hill Ocean Week explores the ocean-climate connection

Silver Spring, Md. – June 1, 2023 – The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation welcomes members of the ocean and Great Lakes community, environmental advocates, government and industry leaders, members of Congress, and philanthropists to a hybrid presentation of Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), the nation’s premier ocean and Great Lakes policy conference. 

When:  June 7-8, 2023, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm ET

Where:  The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC


Who: The conference will feature more than 50 experts, policy makers, community leaders and          stakeholders. The conference is convened by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. CHOW will offer eight high-level plenaries along with virtual partner breakout sessions and in-depth discussions.

What: Capitol Hill Ocean Week is an opportunity for people who are passionate about the environment, specifically ocean and Great Lakes conservation, to gather and discuss the most pressing issues in our field. The theme for CHOW 2022 is “Ocean x Climate,” an opportunity to explore the ocean-climate connection and how we can make ocean conservation part of climate strategies and nationally determined contributions to address climate change.

For those attending CHOW virtually, all plenaries will be streamed through our virtual conference platform, along with partner breakout sessions. It will also be available through the Capitol Hill Ocean Week mobile app. 

The CHOW 2023 program is slightly different from past CHOWs. We will host a day on Capitol Hill on June 6 then move to the Ronald Reagan Building for the conference on June 7 and 8. The week will culminate with the Ocean Awards Gala on the evening of June 8, World Oceans Day. In 2022, the gala will recognize and celebrate The Honorable Raúl M. Grijalva, U.S. Representative from Arizona, and The Honorable Ed Case, U.S. Representative from Hawai’I, with the Leadership Award, and Solomon Pili Kahoʻohalahala and William J. Ailā Jr. with the Sanctuary Wavemaker Award.

Agenda, Session Descriptions, and Speakers (and see below)

CHOW is a free event, made possible by the support of our funding partners, and is open to the public. Registration is now open for Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2023 here:

Find more information on speakers, panels and other CHOW features and frequently asked questions, visit

For information on covering CHOW as a member of the media, access to panelists or sessions, or any other questions, please contact Chip Weiskotten,, 518-669-3936.

About Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2023: Ocean x Climate

A complex, interconnected network of biology, chemistry, and physical forces work together to sustain life on Earth. Change to one system effects all. Impacts ripple locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

Our social and economic systems are part of the Earth system and now the main drivers of change.

Understanding global climate change and mitigating and adapting to its impacts is inextricably linked to our one ocean and its biodiversity. How we manage our global ocean to ensure it thrives for future generations is central to combatting climate change, protecting the health of coastal communities, and sustaining our economies.

Capitol Hill Ocean Week Agenda


CHOW Opening Plenary – Ocean x Climate Presented by Marine Mammal Commission

Wednesday, June 7 from 9:00 am to 10:30 am ET

Our blue planet is a complex, interconnected network of biology, chemistry, and physical forces working together to sustain life on Earth. Our social and economic systems are part of the Earth system and now the main drivers of change. Bold actions from governments at all levels, academic institutions, conservation and philanthropic luminaries, and corporations and businesses, are more urgent than ever to tackle the climate crisis. Understanding global climate change and mitigating and adapting to its impacts is inextricably linked to our ocean and its biodiversity. Ocean solutions are climate solutions. How we manage our global ocean is central to combatting climate change, protecting the health of coastal communities, and sustaining our economies. CHOW 2023’s opening plenary will dive into how this nexus will shape the future for our ocean and highlight how we must put our ocean and coastal communities front and center in all national climate strategies.

Decarbonization and the Role of Our Ocean Presented by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Wednesday, June 7 from 11:00 am to 12:15 pm ET

Under the Paris Agreement, the world must reach net-zero GHG emissions early in the second half of this century. To meet these pledges, climate change mitigation will require national decarbonization strategies. There is increasing research and investments into a wide array of strategies, including carbon dioxide removal, carbon capture and storage, and carbon reduction technologies to reduce carbon emissions across the maritime sectors and potentially lock carbon into the deep ocean. Maritime shipping, energy production shifts, and food systems will require the transformation of economies and societies alike. What is the potential for our ocean to contribute to carbon dioxide removal as well as maritime industries in mitigating carbon emissions? How can we understand the promise and perils as we look to research, develop, demonstrate and deploy these technologies at scale?

Adaptive Fisheries Management in the Face of Climate Change Presented by Builders Vision and Walton Family Foundation

Wednesday, June 7 from 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm ET

Healthy fisheries are critical for supporting livelihoods and communities, providing food security, and supporting a strong blue economy. Warming waters, ocean acidification, and rising sea levels caused by climate change are shifting the abundance and distribution of fish stocks, disrupting the seafood supply chain and leading to significant economic losses including the recent unprecedented declines in snow crab populations in the Bering Sea leading to the season being canceled for the first time ever. Fisheries management is adapting through the implementation of frameworks like Ecosystem Based Management, support for strong fisheries science and stock assessments, and exploring adaptive permitting structures to strive for more “climate ready” fisheries. This plenary will focus on how management and communities are responding to the shift to create more resilient fisheries.


From the Frontlines of Climate Change Presented by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation

Wednesday, June 7 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm ET

From the coasts to the heartland, the ocean-climate dynamic affects us all. The world’s ocean regulates weather and climate by playing an important role in keeping our planet warm by both storing and redistributing heat. But this warmer ocean also causes rising sea levels, flooding, heatwaves, drought, wildfires, and more intense and more frequent hurricanes and storms, that devastate communities and upend economies. Some communities are facing relocation as climate refugees while others look to more adaptation measures from local, state, and national scales.


30 Gigawatts x 2030: What is the Future of Offshore Energy? 

Thursday, June 8 from 9:00 am to 10:30 am ET

Offshore renewable energy has the potential to be the greatest ocean-based solution to mitigate carbon emissions nationally. The Administration set an ambitious goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. Investments can spur innovation, drive economic growth, harness economies of scale, and ensure U.S. energy security. But the planning, development, and rapid deployment for commercial offshore energy must occur in an equitable way that embraces community and Tribal partnerships throughout project development, conserves and monitors wildlife and biodiversity, and prioritizes ecosystem health. Join this conversation to discuss what deployment of offshore energy at scale can look like, the opportunities and obstacles to growth, and ensuring equity remains a central priority as the U.S. strives to achieve this ambitious goal.


Building Resilience Through Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Presented by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation

Thursday, June 8 from 11:00 am to 12:15 pm ET

Ocean-based solutions provide a key role in climate adaptation, protecting biodiversity, sustaining productive coastal economies, and building resilient communities and ecosystems. Historic investments in our nation’s natural infrastructure provide transformative opportunities to maximize win-win solutions to build climate resilience, learn from and bolster tribal and indigenous-led conservation and restoration, leverage public-private partnerships, and develop a diverse and inclusive workforce. Marine protected areas, including national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments protect habitats that act as blue carbon sinks by removing atmospheric carbon and storing it in marine plants and sediments, safeguard coastal communities from flooding and storms, conserve the diversity of life on our planet, and reduce non-climate stressors to support ecosystem resilience. This plenary will address innovative and equitable restoration and conservation for both mitigation and adaptation and explore market-based and financing models for investment.


Maritime Transportation and Infrastructure Presented by Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program

Thursday, June 8 from 1:15 am to 2:30 pm

Maritime transportation is vital for trade and development. From international cargo to ports to regional ferry networks, maritime transportation infrastructure serves as entryways to keep commerce flowing along these marine highways. Some 60,000 cargo ships transport more than 80% of global trade, every year carrying essential commodities and goods to market. International shipping alone accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions, and contributes to other pollutants. From vessels and ships to alternative fuels to improved port and infrastructure, the maritime transportation sector is looking at how to achieve full decarbonization. How can the maritime transportation sector reach decarbonization? What systems, partnerships, and investments need to be put in place to assist in this goal?


Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: Climate Innovations Presented by Finless Foods

Thursday, June 8 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm ET

Bold and unconventional solutions are needed to spark global action for climate change. We must embrace new technologies, fuel pioneering thinking, catalyze climate investments, and break beyond the constraints of current systems and processes. Join us for our Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders Roundtable bringing together some of the climate disruptors and innovation accelerators making a difference for our ocean.

The agenda will also include Virtual Breakout Sessions, available on the virtual conference platform and mobile app, hosted by partner organizations during select time slots on both days.  For a full list of virtual breakout sessions, visit the Agenda page.



The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at 

Capitol Hill Ocean Week is the nation’s premier ocean and Great Lakes policy conference. Convened by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation every June, Capitol Hill Ocean Week brings together national and global stakeholders to address pressing science, conservation, and management issues facing our ocean and Great Lakes. Learn more at

Contact: Chip Weiskotten 

Director of Strategic Communications