Posted by: Mike Dunmyer


The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI) was formed to encourage meaningful ocean policy reform.  Their work builds upon recommendations arising from the Pew Ocean Commission Report, and the report from the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.  The organization includes scientists, activists, industry representatives and government personnel.  JOCI recently published “Changing Oceans, Changing World,” which outlines major priorities for the ocean community and recommends actions that should be taken by the Obama administration and by Congress over the next 2 – 4 years.  They presented this report to key congressional committee personnel in early April.

The report is a great read for anyone interested in understanding the breadth of ocean-related issues our nation and the world must address, such as climate change, declining fisheries, water quality, and the competing (and plentiful) potential uses of ocean resources.  It also provides excellent coverage of the underlying causes.  The heart of the report, however, is its discussion of recommended solutions, which are grouped into four key areas:

  • Improving Ocean and Coastal Policy and Management
  • Bolstering International Leadership
  • Strengthening Ocean Science, and
  • Funding Ocean and Coastal Policies and Programs  

Each of these areas is filled with important recommendations, too numerous to cover here.  If I had to pick the three that I believe are most important to address right away, however, I’d choose the following:

  • Establishing a national policy to protect, maintain and restore the health of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources
  • Accelerating the full implementation of Magnuson-Stevens, and
  • Establishing an ocean investment fund from resource rents driven by commercial activities in federal waters on the outer continental shelf

I believe these three tenets are critical because they create ripple effects that address other peripheral issues.  A national policy would provide the framework for solving many of the problems stemming from poor coordination and integration across the many groups responsible for ocean governance today, and would simplify adoption of other important devices such as Marine Spatial Planning.  Implementation of Magnuson-Stevens could initiate currently workable solutions to the issues driving over fishing.  Finally, establishment of an ocean investment fund could begin to direct resources to many under-funded initiatives.

Clearly, ALL the recommendations are important, and opinions will differ about which might carry the most weight.  So, time for you to chime in Champions – let me know which recommendations you think are the highest priorities and why.  

Date Posted: April 29, 2009 @ 6:29 am Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. I agree with your top three priorities, particularly in establishing a national policy to protect, maintain and restore the health of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources AKA the old “Oceans 21″ bill and recent Ocean Governance bill introduced last week on earth day. I would also love to see H.R.81 (Shark Conservation Act) pass, the footage I’ve reviewed on shark finning is absolutely horrific.

    Comment by Chris — April 29, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

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