Obama Calls for National Ocean Policy

Ocean advocates have long called for a better coordinated and more sustainable approach to managing the nation's oceans and the Great Lakes as a way to help lessen pollution and other harmful impacts. Today, President Barack Obama took a step in that direction by creating an interagency committee to develop recommendations for such a policy in 90 days.Obama proclaimed:

... we are taking a more integrated and comprehensive approach to developing a national ocean policy ... This policy will incorporate ecosystem-based science and management and emphasize our public stewardship responsibilities.

In 6 months, the task force should also come up with a framework for how to implement such a policy—a process called coastal and marine spatial planning. According to the memo:

This framework should be a comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem-based approach that addresses conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources.

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