05/31/2008 - Five years have elapsed since the Pew Oceans Commission’s seminal report urging prompt action to arrest the alarming decline of this country’s ocean resources. Four years have elapsed since a blue-ribbon presidential commission said much the same thing, urging special attention to problems like overfishing and the deterioration of coastal wetlands and estuaries. Despite an occasional burst of energy, however, the Bush administration and Congress have left much to be done. And time is running out.
As is true with many environmental issues — climate change comes immediately to mind — the states have done a better job. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have either passed legislation or established a regulatory structure to better manage their coastal waters (states control the first three miles, the federal government controls the rest until international waters begin 200 miles offshore). California, always at the leading edge, has begun setting up a network of fully protected zones where fish can flourish with minimal commercial intrusion.
These actions show that progress is possible and challenge the White House and Congress to do better.
Read the full article Troubled Oceans on the New York Times' Web site.