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WWF Praises Obama Ocean Initiative

Quotes from WWF’s Bill Eichbaum:

“As we witness the gut-wrenching devastation in the Gulf of Mexico, this announcement is welcome news for the future health of our oceans,” said Eichbaum. “We commend President Obama for his leadership in convening the task force and heeding its recommendations.”

“Oceans ecosystems and resources once thought to be inexhaustible and indestructible are now under increasing pressure as the result of a variety of threats, including overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices, poorly planned coastal development, pollution and the effects of global climate change and ocean acidification. We anticipate that this pressure will only increase as competing uses continue to expand, including developing forms of ocean renewable energy to meet our growing energy demands.”

On July 19, 2010, an interagency task force within the Obama administration issued final recommendations for a national ocean policy that would for the first time establish a coordinated system for managing America’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes.  Implementing such a policy has been a top priority for WWF; initial recommendations were announced in 2009.

“The Obama administration took a historic step in conserving the health of the oceans, coasts and Great Lakes for generations to come,” said Bill Eichbaum, WWF Vice President for Marine Policy.  “This policy will go a long way toward addressing the major threats to our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes and protecting the thousands of communities and millions of jobs they support. It will also promote a targeted push to conserve America’s most special and vulnerable places, including America’s Arctic.” 

“The oceans are home to countless species, but they are also the economic foundation of thousands of communities and a source of recreation for millions of Americans.  Whether a fisherman, tour operator or beachgoer, we will all benefit from a rational, coordinated approach to ocean conservation and management.”

The new policy will be implemented through a newly established National Ocean Council that will coordinate management activities for US ocean waters, coastal zones and Great Lakes.  Marine management under this policy will be ecosystem-based, meaning regulation of specific activities, such as oil and gas development, will take into account impacts on the broader ecosystems that could be affected.  The policy will also for the first time employ marine spatial planning, which will protect ocean ecosystems and minimize conflicts between new and existing ocean uses through science-based decision making and the involvement of stakeholders and the public.

Learn more about the National Ocean Policy

Read an op-ed in Politico by William Reilly, WWF Chairman Emeritus and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, explaining the need for a new national ocean policy.