Ocean Commissions: Ocean Policy Review and Outlook [July 20, 2010]   [open pdf - 192KB]

"In 2003 and 2004, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission made numerous recommendations for changing U.S. ocean policy and management. The 109th Congress reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (P.L. 109-479), incorporating provisions recommended by both commissions, and authorized the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act (P.L. 109-449). Several bills encompassing a broad array of cross-cutting concerns such as ocean exploration; ocean and coastal observing systems; federal organization and administrative structure; and ocean and coastal mapping were considered, but not acted on during the 110th Congress. Identification of the need for a comprehensive national ocean policy can be traced back to 1966, when a presidential Commission on Marine Science, Engineering, and Resources was established (called the Stratton Commission). In 1969, the commission provided recommendations that led to reorganizing federal ocean programs and establishing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). By the late 1980s, a number of influential voices had concluded that U.S. ocean management remained fragmented and was characterized by a confusing array of laws, regulations, and practices. After repeated attempts, the 106th Congress enacted legislation to establish a U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (P.L. 106-256). Earlier in 2000, the Pew Oceans Commission, an independent group, was established by the Pew Charitable Trusts to conduct a national dialogue on restoring and protecting living marine resources in U.S. waters."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33603
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