President Obama signaled today that protecting and conserving our oceans is a major goal for his Administration.
The President issued a Memorandum to federal agencies, paving a path for achieving comprehensive ocean conservation and management.
Our oceans are currently managed by 140 laws, implemented by 20 federal agencies, without a unifying vision. President Obama's actions today will guide the process to improve coordination between federal, state and tribal governments to protect our oceans.
"Oceana applauds President Obama's strong action to protect our oceans today. With the oceans facing the triple threats of overfishing, pollution and climate change, they need attention at the highest levels of government. We are committed to working with the Administration to ensure that the strongest possible ocean policy is developed," said Andy Sharpless, CEO of Oceana.
The Memorandum issued by President Obama calls for an interagency task force led by the Council on Environmental Quality to protect, maintain and restore marine ecosystems by creating a national ocean policy. It also identifies the steps needed to implement that goal. Additionally, the task force is charged with developing science-based, comprehensive ocean ecosystem planning to balance competing uses of our oceans. President Obama also proclaimed June 2009 to be "National Oceans Month." He called on all Americans to learn more about the oceans and what can be done to save them.
Oceana thanks President Obama for taking this important step and looks forward to working with the President and the Administration as this process moves forward.