An ocean blueprint for the 21st century
In recognition of the promise of the oceans and threats to them, Congress passed the Oceans Act of 2002, calling for the establishment of a Commission on Ocean Policy to establish findings and develop recommendations for a coordinated and comprehensive national ocean policy. The President appointed sixteen Commission members drawn from diverse backgrounds. The Commission held sixteen public meetings around the country and conducted eighteen regional site visits. The Commission also heard testimony from 447 witnesses. Following extensive consideration, and deliberation of a variety of potential solutions, the Commission presented a preliminary report in early 2004, for public comment. The final report lays out the Commission’s conclusions and detailed recommendations for reform. Focusing on guiding principles such as sustainability, stewardship, and ecosystems-based management, the Commission recommends, among other things, the establishment of a National Ocean Council, enhancing regional approaches to ocean governance, coordinated governance of offshore waters, a national ocean monitoring network, and sound science and information for wellinformed decision making.