America’s coastline support 66 million jobs and contribute $8.3 trillion to the domestic economy. Americans depend upon our coasts for jobs, recreation and to live. From tourism, fishing and offshore aquaculture to energy production and shipping, scientific research, national security and conservation efforts, these uses require that we have a blueprint for what is happening — and where — within our oceans.

The health of our oceans is directly tied to human heath, and our oceans’ health is threatened by overfishing and pollution and from man-made disasters, such as oil spills and natural disasters, such as hurricanes. It’s vital that we ensure the health of the ocean is connected to sustainable use and development.

The newly created National Ocean Policy and the marine spatial planning initiative advocates a comprehensive look, not sector-by-sector approach, to meet the economic, social and ecological goals that are necessary to ensure a sustainable and stable ocean economy.

IMG_1109The Facts About Obama’s National Ocean Policy

The Inter-agency Ocean Policy Task Force’s recommendations were made after extensive public input and review of current policies. The Task Force reviewed current policies and legislation, the recommendations laid out in two reports – the 2004 U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy report and the 2003 Pew Ocean Commissions report – and over 5,000 public comments gathered during 38 stakeholder roundtable discussions, six regional public meetings and through their website.

Creates less bureaucratic red tape. An ocean blueprint will minimize bureaucratic red tape by ensuring a business-minded approach to the permitting process. So offshore energy initiatives don’t’ spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars before they realize they are trying to build on top of deep-sea observatories, within designated shipping lanes or productive fishing ground.

Protects America’s jobs and our coastal economy. A National Ocean Policy initiates a proactive discussion to protect coastal jobs and ensure a strong, resilient coastal economy for generations to come. By creating a blueprint of current ocean uses and coordinating the existing policies at the national, state and local levels, we can maintain sustainable economic growth that will ensure coastal economies remain strong and resilient during tough economic times.

Regional planning efforts will include extensive stakeholder representation and public involvement. The purpose of the regional approach to marine spatial planning initiative is to bring together the many diverse stakeholders who use the ocean in order to build real-life ocean blueprints for sustaining the local coastal communities that depend upon healthy oceans for economic prosperity.

Uses common-sense solutions not partisan politicking to protect American jobs. It offer a common sense policy solution to ensure we manage our ocean economy in a way that ensures it will remain resilient during economic downturns and prosperous for future generations.

It’s not an over-reaching Presidential action. Executive Orders have been in use since 1789 and are widely used to provide government agencies with policies in order to better manage Federal Government operations, as Obama has done in this instance. President Bush used Executive Orders to legalize torture and diminish government transparency.


— Annie Reisewitz, Director of Communications at Strategic Ocean Solutions

Follow Annie on Twitter @annelore