New Poll Shows Concern over Ocean Health Among New Englanders


Photo: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research Deep Connections 2019

September 5, 2023 (BOSTON, MA) – A new poll from Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) shows that New Englanders are increasingly concerned about ocean health. Residents cited polluted runoff, plastic, climate change, overfishing, and habitat species loss as major concerns. Respondents strongly preferred establishing protected areas in the ocean to mitigate these threats.

“New England’s ocean is facing a crisis on multiple fronts,” said Dr. Priscilla Brooks, Vice President of Ocean Conservation at CLF. “Climate change, overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction are combining to dangerously affect marine life which, if left unchecked, does not bode well for the future of our ocean. This poll makes it clear that people are starting to take notice, and it’s time to protect more areas of the ocean to ensure current and future generations can enjoy this incredible resource.”

The poll found that since 2016, there has been a decline in perceptions that the ocean is in good health and an across-the-board increase in concern over various pressures and threats to ocean health. While pollution and plastic remain the top perceived threats, climate change impacts have joined overfishing and habitat and species loss as serious concerns.

Support is nearly identical across the states and political parties in strongly favoring the establishment of permanent ocean-protected areas. Support for protected areas is bipartisan with 8-in-10 Democrats and Independents and 7-in-10 Republicans supporting their creation.

The full findings can be found here.

CLF experts are available for further comment.