commission on ocean pollcy
return to previous page

August 5, 2004 Press Statement

Statement of
Admiral James D. Watkins, USN (Ret.)
Chairman, U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
on the Oceans 21 Bill and
the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Act

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy applauds the members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are working diligently to reform our national ocean policy. Specifically, the recent introduction of the Oceans Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act, also known as Oceans 21, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationAct are welcome signs that Congress is taking the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations seriously and that change is on the way.

Oceans 21 was introduced by U.S. Congressmen Jim Greenwood, Sam Farr, Curt Weldon and Tom Allen, the co-chairs of the House Ocean Caucus. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationAct was introduced by U.S. Congressman Vern Ehlers, Chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Environment, Technology, and Standards. Both bills include provisions that address the key findings and preliminary recommendations announced by the Commission earlier this year.

Oceans 21 and Rep. Ehlers’ legislation would give the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration its own statutory basis for existing and the clear missions and goals needed to make the agency stronger, more effective, science-based and service-oriented – a priority recommendation of the Commission.  The legislation would also strengthen NOAA and increase resources for the coordination of marine research and education. 

In addition, Oceans 21 offers comprehensive legislation that would establish several governance elements of the national ocean policy framework proposed by the Commission.  Addressing the limitations of the current governance regime will be critical to the successful implementation of a new national ocean policy for the 21st century.

By rising to the challenge and addressing the many issues that are affecting the oceans, Congress can help protect the ocean environment, create jobs, increase Federal revenues, enhance security, expand trade, and ensure ample supplies of energy, minerals, food, and life-saving drugs. Wise actions taken today, based on an ecosystem-based management approach, can restore what has been lost and create even greater benefits.

– end –


Kate Naughten, (202) 418-3442
David Roscow 703/276-2772 ext. 21



Revised August 06, 2004 by Ocean Commission Webmaster
Site hosted by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce