President Bush deserves congratulations for his announcement yesterday of protections for an area of the American Pacific equal in size to Spain. Setting this area off limits to fishing and to oil and mineral exploitation is a vivid example of how a country can use its national laws to ensure the long-term abundance of huge areas of the sea. We also congratulate the conservation organizations that worked hard for this result, especially The Pew Environment Group (which also helped found Oceana).
This burst of ocean news follows a terrific in-depth report in this week’s issue of The Economist. We thought you would be interested in reading it. At sixteen pages, Troubled Waters delivers plenty of information on the unfolding collapse of marine environments: fishery mismanagement, ocean acidification, dead zones, and poorly managed aquaculture.
While the evidence is alarming, the report also makes it abundantly clear that we have the tools to restore ocean health. And, while Oceana has less confidence than The Economist appears to in the power of private property rights to restore fisheries to productivity, we do agree with their assessment of the proven role of national governments in enforcing measurable, science-based standards for quotas, bycatch and pollution to restore ocean health.
With your help, we can bring our oceans back to health. Please forward this report to your friends and colleagues, and give generously to ocean conservation.
[Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana]