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
-- 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
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
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."
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