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April 20, 2004
Draft Report by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Calls for Action to Improve Coastal and Ocean Management
By Howard E. Hobbs PhD
Editor & Publisher

        YOSEMITE -- The Nature Conservancy today applauded the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy for focusing new attention on the importance and plight of our nation's oceans and coastal areas.
     The Nature Conservancy agrees that an overhaul and strengthening of U.S. policies governing our marine areas is needed. "Our oceans and coasts are in trouble, and this country must take immediate action to turn the tide," said Lynne Hale, director of The Nature Conservancy's Marine Initiative.    . "The Commission's draft report comes at a critical time in our nation's history. We cannot continue with business as usual." "We are pleased that the Commission explicitly recognizes that the protection of biodiversity must be an underlying principle of this nation's ocean management policies," Hale said. "At the same time, the Conservancy understands that humans depend on oceans for countless resources.
     Human use of ocean resources can—and must—go hand in hand with ocean conservation." Hale praised the draft report's recommendations for implementing ecosystem management, increasing the use of science in decision making, and promoting a stewardship ethic.
     The Commission's draft report recommends marine management programs that are place-based and designed to carry out goals and objectives that are defined regionally. In addition, the Commission called for the establishment of an Ocean Trust Fund and to significantly increase funding for coastal management and scientific research. But Hale said the recommendations contained in the Commission's draft report are only a first step. "Action must follow.
     It is imperative that state and federal policy makers—as well as private citizens and organizations—join forces to improve this country's marine environment," Hale said. Improvements in U.S. ocean policy will not only protect U.S. ocean and coastal areas, but will impact marine resources around the world. "The United States should be a world leader in the conservation and restoration of ocean and coastal resources.
     It should do more to support the efforts of developing nations to better conserve and manage their marine resources," Hale said. She added: "The good news is there is much to build on. Many of the recommendations in the draft report draw upon experience with a variety of innovative projects with proven results." "The Nature Conservancy looks forward to working with the Commission, the governors, federal and state lawmakers, and other partners to turn the Commission's principles into practice on the ground and in the water."

Letter to the Editor

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Nature Notes
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
     -- John Muir, 1901

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