Header banner for CHOW 2024
The Hawaiian word "ho'ohana" means to do meaningful work. Ho'ohana is about building up others and yourself at the same time. With ho'ohana, you create value and purpose in everything you do.

Announcing Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2024: Leadership

By Rachel Plunkett

April 2024

A woman speaking from behinda podium
Nicole R. LeBoeuf, NOAA's National Ocean Service assistant administrator, provided opening remarks for a panel discussion titled "Leadership for Climate Action" at the 2024 Capitol Hill Ocean Week conference held in Washington, D.C., on June 5, 2024. LeBoeuf spoke to attendees, emphasizing the importance of communicating the ocean's vital role as a climate solution and urging them to leverage their passion, expertise, and positions to champion practical, user-focused climate action.

Good leaders know how to create purpose behind the work they do. This is what Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) 2024 is all about. The theme this year is ocean leadership, and the annual event hosted by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation calls upon leaders from all walks of life to come together to drive attention and innovation to protect our ocean and center people at the core of ocean solutions.

The event will explore both the traditional and new ways that local and international communities are adapting to a changing planet, saving and protecting species, and sustaining human-environment relationships.

“With an unprecedented six potential national marine sanctuaries in the pipeline toward designation, and comprehensive strategies in the works to focus on offshore energy, ocean justice, biodiversity, and more, it is no stretch to say that the actions of this year will have ripple effects in the decades to come,” said Joel R. Johnson, President and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. “This is a moment for our ocean that requires leaders. Capitol Hill Ocean Week is our chance to engage the nation in these important discussions on the future of our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.”

The organizers of the event make it clear that if we want to change the trajectory of the health of our treasured ocean places, we need leaders to work together to pave the way on climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. We need leaders to engage youth in the conversations, and we need youth willing to stand up and lead others in their generation. We need innovators to lead endeavors to support the New Blue Economy—focusing not just on the extraction of resources for economic gain, but on harnessing big ocean data and information to support economic growth.

CHOW 2023
Jainey K. Bavishi, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy NOAA Administrator, moderates a plenary session with community leaders at Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2023. Photo: ImageLink/National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

"With the CHOW focus on leadership, we look to leaders of all kinds to bring their knowledge and experiences on topics from fisheries to blue tech to a climate-ready workforce, and sharing with decision makers on the national and global level,” said Johnson. “We have so much to learn from them."

With this in mind, the participants at this year’s CHOW can expect to see plenary topics on June 5 and 6 focused on key areas such as leadership for climate action, fueling youth leadership, community stewardship projects, the Blue Economy and investments in “blue tech,” supporting climate-ready fisheries, and more. The 2024 CHOW Agenda is now available online.

Speakers and panelists for Capitol Hill Ocean Week include tribal and Indigenous leaders, climate scientists, business and industry innovators, local community leaders, academic researchers, and policymakers.

CHOW 2024 will commence on June 4 with the Ocean Awards Gala to recognize people and organizations who are paving the way in advocacy, policymaking, exploration, and protection of our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. This includes leaders such as Chairwoman Violet Sage Walker of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, with special recognition for her father, the late chief Fred Collins, for their leading roles in the effort to designate a new Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

Header banner for CHOW 2024
Header banner for CHOW 2024
Header banner for CHOW 2024

Register for CHOW

CHOW 2024 will take place June 4-6. Registration is free of charge and open to the public for both in-person and virtual attendance. View the event details and registration information below:

About Capitol Hill Ocean Week

CHOW is the nation’s premier ocean and Great Lakes policy conference that convenes policymakers, scientists, managers, business leaders, conservationists, educators, students, and members of the public to engage in dialogue and debate on significant issues that impact our ocean and Great Lakes and to propose innovative policies and partnerships to address these issues. For more information, please visit the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation website.

Rachel Plunkett is the content manager and senior writer for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries