Pew Oceans Commission

We depend on the oceans—for food, jobs, recreation and solace. Ocean currents circulate the energy and water that regulate the earth’s climate and weather and thus affect many aspects of the human experience, whether we live on the nation’s coasts or its heartland.

In the first thorough review of ocean policy in 34 years, the Pew Oceans Commission released a host of recommendations in 2003 to guide the way in which the federal government will successfully manage America’s marine environment. The report found that more than 60 percent of America’s coastal rivers and bays are degraded by nutrient runoff. Crucial species like groundfish and salmon are under assault from overfishing. Invasive species are establishing themselves in the nation’s coastal waters.

The commission recommended


  • improving the management of the nation’s commercial fisheries;
  • establishing networks of marine reserves in coastal waters;
  • increasing the involvement of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in environmental restoration;
  • applying strong environmental standards to fish farms; and
  • regulating the discharge of waste by cruise ships.

The Pew Oceans Commission concluded its work, but its findings are still available online to aid researchers and policy makers.

Future of America’s Oceans: Better or Worse?

Ten years ago, the Pew Oceans Commission released a landmark assessment of the state of the U.S. marine environment, with recommendations for action to protect our seas. So, what has been achieved and how are our oceans faring today?
Read more


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