by Erin Loury, Science Communication Intern
Some good news for the oceans! On July 19th, President Obama signed an Executive Order that establishes a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes. The Executive Order adopts the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (pdf), also released on July 19th after a year of research and deliberation. The Order and Recommendations highlight the importance of ecosystem health and biological diversity to human well-being, acknowledge the threats of climate change and ocean acidification, and call for the implementation of comprehensive coastal and marine spatial planning.
Both the Order and the Final Recommendations invoke the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the environmental crisis in the Gulf of Mexico as “a stark reminder of how vulnerable our marine environments are, and how much communities and the Nation rely on healthy and resilient ocean and coastal ecosystems.”
“Until now, there has been no cohesive, strategic vision for where the country is going with respect to ocean health and ocean resource management,” said Matthew Armsby of the Center for Ocean Solution’s (COS) marine spatial planning team on the significance of this Order. “We’ve had many different laws and policies, but the nation’s resource managers lacked a meaningful prioritization of ecosystem health and sustainability. Read more...