commission on ocean pollcypublic comment pagecalendar pagenews and notices pagecommission documents pagecommission meetings pageabout the commission pagehome pageU.S. Commission on Ocean Policy

About the Commission

The last comprehensive review of U.S. ocean policy was conducted thirty-five years ago by the Stratton Commission. Since then our nation’s oceans and coasts have changed drastically. More than 37 million people, 19 million homes, and countless businesses have been added to coastal areas. Marine transportation and coastal recreation and tourism have become two of the top drivers of the national economy. These developments, however, come with costs, and we are only now discovering the extent of those costs in terms of depleted resources, lost habitat, and polluted waters.

When Congress passed the Oceans Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-256), it acknowledged the significance of the oceans and coasts to this country. Pursuant to the act, the President appointed 16 members from diverse backgrounds to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The Commission’s mandate was to establish findings and develop recommendations for a new and comprehensive national ocean policy.

The Commission began its work in September 2001 with a series of nine regional meetings and 18 additional site visits in every coastal region of the country and the Great Lakes. The Commission heard testimony from 445 experts, including many of the nation’s top ocean scientists and researchers, environmental organizations, industry, citizens, and government officials, as well as receiving written testimony from countless others. It was the most comprehensive and thorough review ever conducted of our nation’s oceans and coasts.

After significant thought, careful deliberation, consultation with its Science Advisory Panel, and the consideration of a wide range of potential solutions, the Commission released its Preliminary Report on April 20, 2004, for review by the nation’s Governors and other stakeholders. The Commission’s preliminary recommendations created a framework for a national ocean policy that effectively and efficiently preserves and utilizes our nation’s oceans and coasts and their resources. To view a video summary of the Preliminary Report, click here.

On September 20, 2004, the Commission submitted its Final Report to the President and Congress, An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century.

On December 19, 2004, the Commission officially expired, as called for under the, Oceans Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-256).

Meet the Commissioners

This page provides biographies of the 16 commissioners.

Commission Staff

This page lists staff and provides individual e-mail links.

Science Advisory Panel

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy established the Science Advisory Panel in February 2002. The panel, as mandated by the Ocean Act of 2000, provided expert scientific counsel and assistance to the Commission as it developed findings and recommendations for a new, comprehensive national ocean policy.

Commission Working Groups

In the course of its work, the Commission established four Working Groups to address issues in the areas of Governance; Research, Education and Marine Operations; Stewardship; and Investment and Implementation. These Working Groups were charged with reviewing and analyzing issues within their specific area of focus and reporting on their findings to the full Commission. The Working Groups were phased out when the Commission began its public deliberation meetings in November 2002.

Photo of the 16 Commissioners

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy- (l-r) front row: Professor Marc J. Hershman; Dr. Thomas R. Kitsos (Executive Director); Mr. Ted A. Beattie; and Dr. Paul A. Sandifer. Second row: Mr. Lawrence Dickerson; Mrs. Lillian Borrone; Ms. Ann D'Amato; and Mr. Paul L. Kelly. Back row: Mr. Christopher Koch; Mr. Edward B. Rasmuson; Dr. James M. Coleman; Admiral James D. Watkins, USN (Ret.) (Chairman); Mr. William D. Ruckelshaus; Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg; Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney II, USN (Ret.); Dr. Robert Ballard; and Dr. Frank Muller-Karger.



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Main Page

Meet the Commissioners

Commission Working Groups


Investment and Implementation

Research, Education and Marine Operations


Science Advisory Panel

Revised December 27, 2004 by Ocean Commission Webmaster
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