Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, issued the following statement in response to recommendations for a national ocean policy issued by President Obama's task force.
“Today's recommendations by the President's ocean policy task force are an important step in the effort to restore the health of the nation's marine environment. Oceans form a critical part of the planet's life support system and are also a vital economic engine. Over two million jobs and more than $128 billion in annual economic activity in the United States alone depend on marine fish and wildlife.
“With today's announcement, the federal agencies that are responsible for our oceans are declaring their intention to usher in a new era of ocean management, one predicated on environmental stewardship and the sustainable use of marine resources.
“We are particularly pleased that the task force has highlighted the Arctic as an area of interest. Because of the unique threats and development pressures it faces, that region exemplifies the need for a new management philosophy and approach -- before it is opened to commercial use.
“The work of the presidential task force is far from done. The mechanics of how to implement these recommendations are complex, but the importance of a commitment from the highest levels of the administration to achieving these goals cannot be overstated.
“The Pew Environment Group looks forward to working with the Administration in the days and months ahead to ensure that we craft an ocean policy the nation can be proud of, and that recognizes the vital role that our oceans play in the economic and ecological health of our country and the world. The interim report issued by the task force is an auspicious beginning.”