U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Final Report: Oceans in Trouble

September 20, 2004

Contact: Kathleen Goldstein 202-572-3243

(September 20, 2004 — Washington, DC)  The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (USCOP), the federally appointed body charged with reviewing the status of America’s oceans and U.S. ocean policy, released its final report today.  The report follows on the heels of a similar one released last year by the independent Pew Oceans Commission. Although the makeup of the two commissions was very different, they made similar recommendations and reached a common conclusion: Our oceans are in serious trouble and urgent action is needed to address the myriad problems plaguing them. (To see the reports, go to: www.pewoceans.org and www.oceancommission.gov)

Made public at its last meeting in July, USCOP’s final recommendations take into account responses from governors, tribes and other stakeholders to the commission’s draft report. President Bush has 90 days to respond to the final report.

“President Bush has a historic opportunity to show leadership and commit federal resources to restructure our ocean management system and invest in ocean science, exploration and education,” said Environmental Defense oceans program director David Festa. 

As part of their new Oceans Alive campaign, Environmental Defense has appealed to both presidential candidates to offer their visions for the oceans.

“Just as Teddy Roosevelt expanded the area protected in national parks, an oceans president should expand the protected areas that are critical for ocean recovery,” said Festa.  “President Bush should take the U.S. Ocean Commission findings seriously and pledge to steer such a course.”

As the president reviews the final USCOP report, Environmental Defense strongly urges him to advocate fundamental ocean reform measures that will: