Larry Robinson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, NOAA:
Assistant Secretary Robinson kicked off the final morning of Sea Grant Week by challenging the program – and its state programs – to work toward integrating and aligning our efforts more closely with NOAA’s vision of a future of “ecosystems, communities and economies … that are resilient in the face of change.”
In particular, Robinson said, “Sea Grant has played and will continue to play a critical role in connecting NOAA with stakeholders.”
The agency’s new strategic goals (healthy oceans, a weather-ready nation, climate adaptation and mitigation, and resilient communities ecosystems) are all predicated on
- Regional focus
- Environmental education
- Science-based decision-making
“These approaches are all part of Sea Grant’s core mission,” he said.
As an example, Robinson cited the network’s roles in the Deepwater Horizon spill response and recovery. The quick action and connections – including Gulf programs but also Alaska Sea Grant, which was quick to connect Gulf agencies with specialists who’d been through the Exxon Valdez spill – “could only have been accomplished by a network like Sea Grant,” he said.
He urged Sea Grant to join NOAA in forming a “collective vision for the future. How do we get there together?”
Robinson also urged the network and national program to think beyond its traditional roles in marine science planning and policy and “broaden your vision to a global vision.”