The increasing industrialization of our oceans threatens the fragile health of marine ecosystems. When poorly planned or managed, drilling for oil and natural gas in federal waters; developing aquaculture; and building wind, wave and tidal energy facilities can damage America’s underwater environment.
More than 20 federal agencies are responsible for these activities under more than 140 statutes that affect fish and marine wildlife, yet there is little coordination or consideration of the cumulative impacts that agency decisions have on the health and productivity of the oceans and coastal communities.
Among its priority recommendations, the Pew Oceans Commission called for an enforceable national policy to protect, maintain and restore the health of marine ecosystems. This will not only support economically and culturally valuable fisheries, but also ensure recreational opportunities for the public and the protection of critically important ecological services that the ocean provides, such as cleaning the air and water of pollution.
As a direct result of the Campaign for Healthy Oceans, in July 2010, President Obama issued an executive order establishing a national ocean policy. Now, the process of fulfilling this recommendation of the Commission moves into a new phase, focused on implementation.
Pew is working with its coalition partners on implementation of the national ocean policy, and we are collaborating with commercial and recreational interests—such as fishing and offshore renewable energy—that benefit from healthy, well-managed oceans.