Broad Ocean Conservation Goals Pose Significant New Challenges

By ALLISON WINTER of Greenwire

A comprehensive new ocean management plan proposed yesterday by the Obama administration aims to make sweeping changes in federal management and set ocean conservation as a top national priority. But translating those lofty goals into new approaches in agency management for land and water resources may prove difficult, ocean experts say.

“It’s an important day, these are great recommendations … but a big chunk of hard work lays ahead in fleshing out the details in this,” said Chris Mann of the Pew Environment Group, who contributed to an acclaimed national ocean report six years ago. “This is the ‘what’; we have to figure out how it is going to be carried out.”

The first step toward creating the new national ocean policy came yesterday, in a 38-page report that lists a host of new priorities for the federal government to protect and restore ocean health. The interim report (pdf) sets the protection of ocean resources as a national goal and creates an ocean council to guide the new ecosystem-based approach.

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