SEATTLE – The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has urged caution as a presidential panel prepares to release a report expected to call for sweeping new oversight measures to reverse decades of ecological decline in the world’s oceans.
“The NMMA supports aggressive, but balanced, approaches to ocean management policy,” said Monita W. Fontaine, NMMA vice president, government relations. “Bold steps need to be taken to reverse some of the damage made by overfishing and bottom trawling in the commercial industry and shoreline development. However, it is important that these initiatives do not restrict recreational boating access. Efforts should focus on the real problem, and American families who enjoy recreational boating and fishing should not be penalized.”
However, Fontaine also said that NMMA welcomes the comments and recommendations that will be offered by the commission and will continue to do its part in protecting the oceans and coastlines on behalf of recreational boating manufacturers and users.
A recent story in the Seattle Times has said a committee, appointed by President Bush, is expected to offer a bleak assessment of the condition of the planet’s oceans. The story lists some of the panel’s conclusions and also some of its recommendations.
“We have major problems,” Andrew Rosenberg, dean of life sciences and agriculture at the University of New Hampshire, and a member of the president’s U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, told the newspaper. “Whether you label it a crisis or not, we view the issues as very severe. We have to change course.”
Among the panel’s conclusions, according to the story:
The story also said at least one-third of fish stocks are considered “overfished,” including several Pacific groundfish species that will take decades to rebound, and that at least 38 U.S. coastal waterways have been polluted by runoff, including a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico the size of New Jersey.
The 16-member panel plans to recommend the establishment of regional ocean councils coordinated by a national council run from the White House, which would govern an entire ecosystem, the article quoted Marc Hershman, a panel member and director of the University of Washington School of Marine Affairs, as saying.