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National ocean commissioners & scientists call for overhaul of ocean policies & management

At a AAAS press conference in Seattle on February 14th, at 12:00 noon PT, leaders from both the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission will come together for the first time to discuss their findings on our nation's oceans. The Pew Ocean Commission released its report last June. Now, the long-awaited draft report from the U.S. Commission is slated for release to state governors for their review in early March. Both reports call for major changes in the governance of U.S. oceans and coastal resources. Ocean policies and laws in the U.S. have not been comprehensively reviewed for over 30 years and now lag dangerously behind our scientific understanding of what we need to do to address the present crises in our seas.

"For a long time, we have been asleep at the wheel," says Boris Worm, a marine ecologist from Dalhousie University who coauthored the 2003 Nature paper showing that only 10% of large predatory fish are left in the global ocean. "Oceanographers have mostly studied ecosystems minus the fish. Fishery scientists have mostly studied fish minus the ecosystems. Society has not thought much at all of fish, or ocean ecosystems, except as a commodity. This is changing and changing rapidly. We now understand how we have been altering the ocean on a global scale, how our own well-being is linked to this largest system on earth, and what we need to do to protect and restore its health."

National Ocean Commissioners William Ruckelshaus and Andrew Rosenberg will be joined by Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Pew Oceans Commission, and marine ecologist Boris Worm to highlight the need for reform of U.S. federal and state ocean policies in order to protect and restore ocean life and preserve the ecological, economic and social benefits the oceans provide. The commissioners and scientists will provide a vision of how to implement policies that reverse destructive changes to the oceans and restore the richness and resilience of our seas. R
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Contact: Jessica Brown
jbrown@seaweb.org
202-497-8375
SeaWeb
14-Feb-2004


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