This week, President Obama offered his third choice for Commerce Secretary: former Washington Governor Gary Locke.
If this selection sticks, we will have a knowledgeable voice as the secretary who oversees much of the nation’s oceans management, including fisheries. Coming from a coastal state, Governor Locke should appreciate the importance of our oceans to the people of the United States and the health of our nation’s economy. The port of Seattle is home to one of the largest and most profitable fishing fleets in the world, and the majority of Washingtonians live along the beautiful Puget Sound, where people enjoy scuba diving in kelp beds, fishing for salmon and watching killer whales.
As Governor, Locke supported ecosystem-based management of our oceans, the protection of sensitive ocean habitat areas and emphasized the need for scientific information to form the foundation for management decisions. He successfully dealt with complex ocean management decisions during his critical work on the Pacific Salmon Treaty with Canada, and was a champion for ocean funding for the protection of marine animals including killer whales and salmon.
With his strong background in dealing with complex ocean issues and commitment to putting science at the forefront of decisions Locke should make an excellent Secretary of Commerce for our oceans. Locke will be joined by the lauded scientist Dr. Jane Lubchenco -- also from the Pacific Northwest -- who is to become the new head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which should give us two ocean champions at the helm of our nation’s most important ocean department.
We look forward to working with Secretary-designate Locke and Dr. Lubchenco in the coming years as we fight to protect and restore an abundant ocean.
Andrew Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana.