Thursday, January 12, 2012

Action Plan for Nation's First-Ever Ocean Policy Imminent by Sarah Chasis Director NRDC's Ocean Initiative

The year 2012 promises hope for the future of America’s oceans. Changes are expected that will help the creatures that live below the surface, the people who live and vacation along our coasts, and the clean energy developers who want to tap into the vast wind potential that lies off our shores.
Any day now, the National Ocean Council -- a forum for federal agencies -- will release a draft blueprint of how we should best tackle the major threats facing ocean life, such as ocean acidification, habitat protection, water quality and pollution. We are looking forward to a robust public discussion of how we can help.

Putting a strong ocean action plan in place is one of the key deliverables of the national ocean policy set into motion by President Obama in 2010. The national ocean policy -- for the first time ever-- calls on agencies to coordinate their offshore work and ensure that our oceans will be healthy for this and future generations’ use.

The executive order that established this policy also called for comprehensive, regional ocean planning to evaluate the uses of our oceans -- recreation, fishing, tourism, industry, energy and conservation -- and identify ways to manage these uses sustainably so that future generations, as well as our own, can continue to enjoy the ocean’s vast resources. NRDC just developed a basic fact sheet on the value of this kind of smart ocean planning -- it’s exactly the sort of common sense process we need to get our watery home in order. And this short film narrated by Philippe Cousteau -- a tireless ocean advocate and grandson of the famed underwater explorer, Jacques Cousteau -- also helps explain how this kind of sensible ocean planning can improve the health of our seas.

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