June 2, 2003 News Release
U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
Sets Framework for
New National Ocean Policy
Table of Contents Document
Outlines Major Areas of Interest
Washington, D.C. With the goal of a new, comprehensive national ocean policy in its sights, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy this week released a document that sets the framework for a coordinated approach to resolving the nations most pressing ocean issues. The Working Table of Contents for the Commission report is available on the website, oceancommission.gov.
This Commission has taken on a daunting task, completing an exhaustive overview of current ocean and marine programs and policies, and is now moving forward in discussing potential new policy recommendations, said Commission Chair Admiral James D. Watkins, USN (Ret.). Our Table of Contents demonstrates the depth and breadth of the issues we are taking on as part of our final report and recommendations.
Created by the Oceans Act of 2000, the Commissions recommendations to the President and Congress will focus on enhanced cooperation among federal, state and local governments to improve efficiency on all levels. The report also will address protection of the marine environment, enhancement of maritime commerce and transportation, fisheries management, ocean education, investment in research and technology, reduction of point and nonpoint water pollution, ecosystem-based management approaches and the preservation of the U.S. as an international leader on ocean issues.
This will be a balanced report that not only examines the activities, laws and regulations affecting coastal and ocean management, but also recognizes the interplay among, ecological, social, and economic factors, said Watkins. Our recommendations will be actionable and cost effective, not pie in the sky ideas that wont see the light of day.
In the Table of Contents, one of the first key issues to be addressed is the need for moving toward ecosystem-based management. The Commission also will discuss the establishment of a national ocean policy framework and the appointment of an ocean leadership position in the White House.
Another area of focus for the report will be the interface among the land, oceans and the atmosphere making the connection between the urgent problems facing our oceans and human activities that take place inland. The report will address the delicate task of balancing the management of coastal growth and tourism with conservation efforts, as well as how to effectively manage the projected growth of maritime commerce and transportation.
Enhancing the oceans value and vitality is another important component of the Commissions report. Topics to be covered include living marine resources; marine pollution; ocean commerce, security, and safety; and the relationship between oceans and human health.
The report also will examine the advancement of our understanding of the oceans, developing a national strategy for research, exploration, and marine operations and the an integrated and sustained ocean and coastal observing and prediction system.
A strategy to promote ocean awareness and a stewardship ethic through education at all levels, and the role of the United States on worldwide ocean and marine issues are also on the list to be covered.
The Commission concluded its fact-finding phase in November 2002, following 15 public meetings in every coastal region of the country. The Commission is also analyzing information provided by 440 experts, including many of the nations top ocean scientists and researchers, environmental organizations, industry, citizens and government officials.
The Commissions final report is due to be delivered to the President and Congress in the early fall of 2003.
Click here for the complete Table of Contents.