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Making Waves in Washington


President Obama is grabbing the bull by the horns (and the fisheries by their quotas) and taking action on the ocean. The President swiftly responded to a request by the Joint Oceans Commission (JOC) to revise United States ocean policy.

I’m pleased to see signs that the Obama administration is making the ocean a priority, and has signaled its eagerness to implement market-based strategies that have been proven to reverse negative trends. Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the new head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is instrumental in making this happen.

JOC is a group composed of members of two previous commissions—the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy—whose mandates were to review federal policy on the seas and recommend changes. Mr. Bush created large Marine National Monuments in the Pacific, a step which I applaud. But he did not attempt to fix the way fisheries are managed, which was and remains a critical recommendation of both commissions.

Obama appears poised to change the way America catches fish. And that means real change for good in the water.

Read the New York Times editorial on this issue. And follow my expeditions with National Geographic to some of the ocean’s last pristine environments on the Ocean Now site.

Photograph by Enric Sala