Oceana, an international ocean conservation group based in Washington, D.C., reacted today to the release of the interim report of the Obama administration’s Ocean Policy Task Force:
“Oceans are a vital part of life and culture. They are home to fish and other marine wildlife, sustain communities and provide jobs, tourism and recreation. We commend the Obama administration for its commitment to a strong national ocean policy to guide the future conservation and management of our oceans."
This plan shows vision, and a commitment to promoting healthy oceans and taking an integrated approach to maintain and protect oceans. It also recognizes the need for proactive, science-based management for the Arctic Ocean, which is already stressed by rapid climate change and threatened by expanding industrialization. A strong federal ocean policy is especially important to help slow a serious decline in ocean health, worsened now by climate change and ocean acidification,” said Beth Lowell, Federal Policy Director, Oceana.
Until today, no one law or national policy provided guidance to govern our oceans and coastal waters as a whole. Our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes have previously been governed by more than 140 laws and 20 federal agencies, each agency with different goals and missions.
The Obama administration created an ocean policy task force in June 2009 and asked it to develop an overarching national ocean policy, an implementation strategy for this policy and a marine spatial planning framework. A marine spatial planning framework, which the task force will develop over the next 90 days, is expected to follow in December 2009.