The Pew Oceans Commission Report: Navigating a Route to Sustainable Seas

Mengerink, Kathryn J.
August 2004
Ecology Law Quarterly;2004, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p689
Academic Journal
Current ocean governance in the United States is in part a product of a 1969 U.S. congressional commission report on the status of the nation's oceans and how best to manage marine resources. The Pew Oceans Commission recently issued a report addressing the state of our nation's marine resources and recommended major changes in ocean governance at the federal level. Recommendations include the creation of a new independent ocean agency that would coordinate and oversee all ocean agencies and activities through the creation of regional ocean ecosystem councils focused on the goal of marine conservation. The Pew Commission also recommends specific changes in the current regional fishery management scheme. Large scale changes in governance structure would create a more coordinated and cohesive ocean management system. Smaller scale changes in fishery management would result in stripping much of the power away from regional fishery management councils, but could result in a more opaque system that would lack the necessary support of the fishing community. In spite of these potential problems, the Pew Commission report provides a comprehensive evaluation of the ocean's living resources and valuable recommendations that should be considered when determining how best to conserve and protect our fisheries and other ocean resources.


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