Some of us lament a world where fake reality TV plots, uber-famous starlets way below my age demographic and head-exploding talk show hosts rule the airwaves, as it can be a bit difficult to get the media spotlight focused past the eye candy and on “the real issues.” You know – the substantive, grown up policy stuff like genuine efforts to bring scientists, industry, citizen groups and government together to solve ocean acidification, species loss, declining fisheries, coastal erosion, and red tides.
Well, say no more, ladies and gentlemen, because the National Ocean Council has brought us the sleekest, the sexiest, the most seductive and alluring draft ocean policy implementation plan of this – or any other – presidential administration.
Am I joking? Maybe a little. But, let me know if you really want to sit down for a 45 minute Powerpoint presentation and discussion that analyzes, for example, the structure of a regional planning body in a comprehensive regional ocean planning process. Because it turns out that real issue is actually a very important component of starting to develop agreement between large companies, day boat fishermen, coastal developers and beach-loving families on how to keep oceans clean, healthy and open for business. Not really TMZ-type material.
The National Ocean Policy is really laid out in a 96 page document called the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and on page 32 it details the nine priority objectives that will implement the National Policy. Today the National Ocean Council released a draft implementation plan for those nine priority objectives. This is a big step forward for implementing the National Ocean Policy and will eventually lead to some serious action on issues such as the need to develop ecosystem-based management approaches to cleaning up the polluted runoff that increasing fouls Cape Cod beaches each summer.
The Final Recommendations took a hard working group of 25 agency leaders (see page B-I) and their staff over a year to hold hundreds of meetings, review thousands of comments and interview dozens of business, economic, national defense, scientific and community experts in a process to develop our Nation’s first ever attempt to get all of its various departments and agencies pointed in the same direction and working together to improve ocean health and management. Creating the National Ocean Council and developing the draft implementation plan has taken another year. That’s because improving ocean health and keeping oceans healthy is hard work. Not having healthy oceans and coasts is costly to our economy, causes job loss and destroys livelihoods and communities. So, spend a few moments to check out the draft implementation plan. Help support the National Ocean Policy. Ask your friends, co-workers and elected officials to support the National Ocean Policy.
Power down the big screen and dive into a real issue.