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WWF Statement on the Ocean Policy Task Force’s Recommendations to President Obama

WASHINGTON, DC, December 14, 2009 – World Wildlife Fund issued the following statement today from Bill Eichbaum, WWF’s Vice President of Marine and Arctic Policy, following release of the Ocean Policy Task Force’s Recommendations on Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning:

“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. 

‘The U.S. manages our oceans under 140 different laws, executed by 20 Federal agencies.  Actions are pursued under these laws without a unifying ocean policy and implementation mechanism to ensure that invaluable ocean ecosystems and resources continue to be able to provide the activities, sources of food, jobs, and revenues that we depend on.

“Recognizing the vital importance of establishing and implementing such a policy, President Obama created an inter-agency task force in June. The task force was charged with providing him recommendations on the best means to ensure that our oceans and coasts become and remain vibrant and continue to provide for this and future generations.

Today, this task force issued its final set of interim recommendations – taking us one step further to meeting the vision articulated by the President in June; we commend them for the strong ideas put forward.  WWF asks that the President move swiftly to put these types of actions into place through clear executive action, specifically by issuing a strong national ocean policy to protect, maintain, and restore marine ecosystem health and by providing the types of tools – including marine spatial planning – to make implementation of this policy successful.  Decades ago, we set Federal standards for the protection and management of our forests, our air and our fresh water supplies.  It is beyond time for the U.S. to set similar standards for our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, and the economies and uses they support.”