It’s time to wake up and smell the salt water. According to a recent report from the United States Commission on Ocean Policy, America’s oceans are overfished, polluted and in desperate need of new management policies.
years of study, the President Bush-appointed commission came up
with more than 200 preliminary recommendations aimed at improving
the health and productivity of fisheries and protecting the seas
Among the report’s most significant
recommendations is the creation of an ocean trust fund for
conserving marine life. The fund would draw up to $4 billion per
year from oil and gas royalties. But, according to Warner Chabot,
vice president of the Ocean Conservancy, such a plan might actually
encourage offshore drilling, damaging the very areas it’s
meant to preserve.
The report calls for setting national
guidelines for marine reserves where fishing would not be allowed,
so that fish stocks could recover. It also advocates creating a
National Ocean Council to coordinate the 15 agencies that now work
on various marine programs.
The independent Pew Oceans
Commission report, released last June, reached many of the same
conclusions, but emphasized conservation over economic issues.
You can read the report at www.oceancommission.gov. The
Pew report is available online at www.pewoceans.org.