Environment Forum

Oceans away! U.S. makes federal stab at ocean policy

September 17, 2009

The seven seas get a single U.S. approach in a draft federal plan for oceans released on Thursday (and dated Sept. 10, when it was given to the prez). The report is a response to President Obama’s request for a plan and says a new National Ocean Council should use ecosystem management to take on the task. Previous efforts have been focused on solving individual problems — saving fisheries, stopping water pollution — which did not always match.

“This is the first time they have declared their intention to adopt a new way of managing the oceans, one that puts a priority on the health of the marine ecosystem, from which all the other benefits flow,” said Chris Mann, director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s campaign for healthy oceans.

Goals include addressing changing conditions in the Arctic, reacting to climate change and ocean acidification and land practices that affect water.

But wait — until they come up with details, it might not amount to a hill of beans.

Photo credit: Reuters/ (Fishing boats and other vessels form the words “Acid Ocean”  in Alaska,  September 2009)

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