Personal tools
Home » Working Groups » EBM Matrix » PDF reprints » America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change
Document Actions

America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change

America’s Living Oceans

             A Report to the Nation
             Recommendations for a
               New Ocean Policy

                   May 2003
Light of the setting sun bathes battered sea stacks shrouded by summer fog at
McClure’s Beach, in Point Reyes National Seashore, California. Here, pounding
Pacific waves have carved a shoreline of white crescent beaches and rocky cliffs.

The United States’ oceans span nearly 4.5 million square miles, an area 23 percent
larger than the land area of the nation.

David Sanger/
America’s Living Oceans

              A Report to the Nation
             Recommendations for a
               New Ocean Policy
                   May 2003

             Leon E. Panetta, Chair
Sea otter with starfish, Central California coast
Tom & Pat Leeson

           Foreword         i
           Preface       ii
           Members of the Pew Oceans Commission                       iii
           Executive Summary                       v

                                          PART ONE
                                             State of America’s Oceans

                                          Introduction: The Ocean Domain                         2
                                          Chapter One: America Speaks                        12
                          Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes

      Cushion sea star, Hurricane Hole,
      U.S. Virgin Islands
                                                         © Chuck Davis/

                                                                             California garibaldi in a kelp forest,
                                                                             Santa Catalina Island, California
                                         PART TWO
                                               A Public Good at Risk

                                         Chapter Two: Governance for Sustainable Seas        26
                                         Chapter Three: Restoring America’s Fisheries       35
                                         Chapter Four: Preserving Our Coasts       49
                                         Chapter Five: Cleaning Coastal Waters        59
                                         Chapter Six: Guiding Sustainable Marine Aquaculture         73
                                         Chapter Seven: Beyond Our Borders       80
Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes

                                         Chapter Eight: Science, Education, and Funding         88
                                         Chapter Nine: Conclusion: Charting a Course        97

                Cushion sea stars, Virgin Islands
                National Park, U.S. Virgin Islands

                PART THREE
                    Detailed Recommendations

                Chapter Ten: Governance for Sustainable Seas       102
                Chapter Eleven: Restoring America’s Fisheries      109
                Chapter Twelve: Preserving Our Coasts      117
                Chapter Thirteen: Cleaning Coastal Waters     121
                Chapter Fourteen: Guiding Sustainable Marine Aquaculture       126

                                           Works Cited      128
                                           Regional Meetings      134
                                           Publications of the Pew Oceans Commission       136
                                           Acknowledgements      137
                                           Index     138
                                           Pew Oceans Commission       144
                                           Publications of the Pew Oceans
                                           Commission on CD-ROM       Inside Back Cover
                Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Florence, Oregon
                © Dave Welling

                          At the heart of the American Dream is a desire to secure a better future for our children.
                              That is what my grandfather sought as he sailed the oceans in great sailing ships and fished off
                          California and Alaska. That is what my immigrant parents worked for when they moved their family from
                          Italy to central California. And, that is the commitment my wife and I have made for our children.
                              There can be no legacy without caring for those things most important to us. In our family, preserv-
                          ing the oceans’ beauty and bounty for future generations is an obligation to be honored.
                              I grew up and live in Monterey, California—a community made famous by John Steinbeck’s
                          Cannery Row—where boundless catches of sardines, bustling canneries, large fishing fleets of purse sein-
                          ers, and busy wharves and shops served and supported fishermen and their families. When the sardine
                          industry collapsed, the lives and businesses that depended on that seemingly endless resource also col-
                              My goal has been to end this kind of devastation, which threatens other fishing communities along
                          our coasts. For 16 years, I represented coastal residents in Congress, fighting to protect the oceans and
                          those whose livelihoods depend upon them. One of my proudest accomplishments is the creation of the
                          Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to restore, protect, and sustain the living resources so vital to the
                          beauty and economy of this coast.
                              Nearly three years ago, my love for the oceans brought me to the Pew Oceans Commission. I am
                          joined in this effort by a distinguished group of individuals, each with a special connection to the oceans.
                          They bring many lifetimes of leadership and accomplishment from the worlds of science, fishing, conser-
                          vation, government, education, business, and philanthropy. They are bipartisan and independent, hailing
                          from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific.
                              Based on our careful review of the laws, policies, and institutions affecting life off our shores, we
                                               advocate a fundamental change in this nation’s posture toward its
                                               oceans. The recommendations presented here reflect the testimony
                                               of hundreds of individuals who joined us in public hearings and
                                               other gatherings across the country. We also solicited the best think-
                                               ing of leading scientists and the firsthand experiences of fishermen,
                                               conservationists, and businesspeople.
                                                  There is consensus that our oceans are in crisis and that
                                               reforms are essential. In the 1960s, the Stratton Commission
                                               reviewed U.S. ocean policy, found it lacking, and the nation
                                               responded. Much has changed in the ensuing years, and once again
                                               a commitment is needed to protect and preserve this national trust.
Jeff Sedlik/

                                                  A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt committed the
                                               nation to the critical objective of preserving our land. Today, we
                                               have a similar responsibility to the seas that cover about 71 percent
                                               of our planet. These recommendations provide an opportunity and
                                               the means to meet our obligation and provide for our children a
                                               bountiful ocean legacy.
                The oceans are a national trust
                we must preserve for this and
                future generations.                    Leon E. Panetta
                                              Chair, Pew Oceans Commission

Preface DEEP WATER: AMERICA’S OCEANS IN TROUBLE                                                Digital Vision

Americans have always loved the ocean. Half of us live in coastal communities and the other half come to
visit. Perhaps, as President John F. Kennedy once suggested, it is “the salt in our veins.”
     When we stand at the water’s edge, we stare longingly out to sea—for the boat to return, for the tides
to shift, for the winds to arrive, for the fish to bite, for the sun to rise or set—beyond the far horizon.
     Inspired by their majesty and mystery, we depend on our oceans and their coasts, not just for pleasure
and food—although these uses are central—but also as a counterweight to extremes of heat and cold on
land, as a sponge for absorbing excess carbon, and as a generator of life-giving oxygen. Although we often
view the ocean as starting where the land ends, that separation is arbitrary. Land and oceans are part of the
same global system. Activities on one profoundly affect the other.
     Just as the 20th century brought us into knowledgeable contact with outer space, the 21st will almost
certainly connect us more intimately to our oceans. In fact, it is imperative because—as much as we love our
oceans—our ignorance has been destroying them. We love clean beaches, but what we discharge into the
oceans befouls them. We destroy the very coastal wetlands we need to buffer storms and filter fresh water. A
nation of seafood lovers, we are careless about how we treat the ocean’s “nurseries” and brood stocks that
replenish our fish supply.
     Furthermore, the size of the world’s human population and the extent of our technological creativity have
created enormously damaging impacts on all of the oceans. We are now capable of altering the ocean’s chem-
istry, stripping it of fish and the many other organisms which comprise its amazingly rich biodiversity, exploding
and bleaching away its coral nurseries, and even reprogramming the ocean’s delicate background noise.
     We love our freedom to move about the ocean surface where no streets, signs, or fences impede us,
yet our sense that no one owns this vast realm has allowed us to tolerate no one caring for it.
     During the 20th century our nation has come to regard the air we breathe, the fresh water we drink,
and the open lands as “common goods,” part of our public trust. Now we must acknowledge that the oceans,
too, are part of our common heritage and our common responsibility.
     The report of the Pew Oceans Commission outlines a national agenda for pro-
tecting and restoring our oceans. It is a vision that projects an equilibrium of goods
withdrawn from and goods regenerated within the ocean. It is a vision that abhors
the careless—no less the systematic—extinction of vital sea species. It is a vision of
clean water and clear horizons. Both comprehensive and detailed, the report pres-
ents a new direction for governing our oceans. From identifying the nonpoint pollu-
tants that rush down our waterways into our coastal bays to proposing protected
zones for critical marine life, the Commission has confronted the most challenging
aspects of ocean policy. If its recommendations are accepted and acted upon, we
                                             Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes

can anticipate a future when fish will again be plentiful and fishing communities will
thrive, when beaches will be clean again, and now-impoverished coral reefs will
teem with life.
     We invite the American public to embrace this vision and to join with us to
launch a national effort in behalf of future generations—to understand and protect our
vast and bountiful, fragile and mysterious seas.
                                                             Pacific double-saddle butterfly
                                                             fish, Western Shoals, Agana
                                                             Harbor, Guam
David Rockefeller, Jr.
Vice Chair, National Park Foundation
Member, Pew Oceans Commission

            Members   OF THE PEW OCEANS COMMISSION
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Deb Antonini/Pew Oceans Commission

                   The Honorable Leon E. Panetta, Chair
                   He is director of the California State University Panetta Institute for
                   Public Policy. He served in Congress for eight terms. He chaired the
                   House Budget Committee and served as White House chief of staff.

                                                       John H. Adams
                          He is the founder and president of the Natural Resources Defense Council
                              —one of the nation’s leading environmental organizations. In 1998,
                              he was named one of Audubon’s 100 Champions of Conservation.

                   The Honorable Eileen Claussen
                   She is president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. She is a former assistant
                   secretary of state for oceans, environment, and science.

                                           The Honorable Carlotta Leon Guerrero
                    She is a former member of the Guam Senate where she chaired committees with juris-
                   diction over transportation, telecommunications, and Micronesian affairs. She is current-
                    ly co-director of the Ayuda Foundation, a nonprofit health care organization in Guam.

                   The Honorable Mike Hayden
                   He is the secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
                   The former governor of Kansas served as president and CEO
                   of the American Sportfishing Association, a recreational fishing group.

                                                     Geoffrey Heal, Ph.D.
                           He is the Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility
                              and professor of economics and finance at the Graduate School of
                            Business at Columbia University. One of his major research interests is
                                the interaction of human societies and their natural resources.

                   Charles F. Kennel, Ph.D.
                   He is director of the Scripps Institution for Oceanography and the author of
                   more than 250 publications in plasma physics, planetary science,
                   and astrophysics. He has been both a Fulbright and Guggenheim Scholar.

                                               The Honorable Tony Knowles
                          He recently completed his second term as governor of Alaska. He was the
                          mayor of Anchorage and served on the North Pacific Fishery Management
                              Council, where he was instrumental in efforts to reduce bycatch.

                   Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D.
                   She is an Oregon State University professor of marine biology, a MacArthur Fellow, and
                   past president of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the
                   Ecological Society of America. She is president-elect of the International Council for
                   Science, and recipient of the 2002 Heinz Award for the Environment.
Julie Packard
She is the founder and executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium
and vice chair of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. She is the
1998 recipient of the Audubon Medal for Conservation.

                             The Honorable Pietro Parravano
            He is a commercial fisherman and owner of the Anne B. He is the
         president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and
            an elected member of the San Mateo County Harbor Commission.

The Honorable George E. Pataki
He is currently serving his second term as governor of New York.
After graduating from Columbia Law School, he served ten years in the
state legislature and was mayor of the city of Peekskill, his hometown.

                           The Honorable Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
  He is serving his seventh term as mayor of Charleston, South Carolina. He has served
   as the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and has received many awards,
      including the Outstanding Mayors Award from the National Urban Coalition.

David Rockefeller, Jr.
He is director and former chair of Rockefeller Co., Inc., and is an active participant in
the nonprofit fields of art, philanthropy, and the environment. He is a vice chair of the
National Park Foundation and trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

               Vice Admiral Roger T. Rufe, Jr., U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)
       He is the president and CEO of The Ocean Conservancy. While in the U.S.
        Coast Guard, he led offices responsible for marine conservation in Alaska
                                  and the Southeast U.S.

Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D.
She is the president and CEO of COSI, a hands-on science center in Columbus, Ohio. As
a NASA astronaut, she was the first U.S. woman to walk in space. She served as NOAA’s
chief scientist from 1992 to 1996. She has a Ph.D. in geology.

                                       Marilyn Ware
    She is the chairman of the board of American Water Works Company, the nation’s
  largest private drinking water utility. She is a former newspaper editor and publisher,
          and currently serves on the board of the American Enterprise Institute.

Patten (Pat) D. White
He is a commercial fisherman and CEO of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.
He is a member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission,
and serves on the editorial board of National Fisherman.

          Executive Summary
Bocaccio, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, California
Richard Herrmann

          America’s oceans are in crisis and the stakes                       resources are exposing limits in natural systems
          could not be higher. More than half the U.S.                        once viewed as too vast and inexhaustible to
          population lives in coastal counties. The resi-                      be harmed by human activity. Without reform,
          dent population in this area is expected to                        our daily actions will increasingly jeopardize a
          increase by 25 million people by 2015. More                        valuable natural resource and an invaluable
          than 180 million people visit the shore for                        aspect of our national heritage.
          recreation every year.                                      In the midst of crisis, there are expres-
             Though a price tag has never been                          sions of hope and signs of success. Striped bass,
          assigned to our coastal economy, it is clear                        severely depleted along our Atlantic shores,
          that it contributes significantly to the nation’s                     made a striking comeback when given a
          overall economic activity. Tens of thousands of                      chance. North Atlantic swordfish recently did
          jobs in fishing, recreation, and tourism depend                      the same in response to lower catch limits and
          on healthy, functioning coastal ecosystems.                        closed nursery areas. Seabirds, kelp beds, and
          Now, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars                       fish communities returned to the coastal waters
          of investment have either been lost or are                         off Los Angeles after waste discharges were
          jeopardized by collapsing fisheries. Pollution                       reduced. Proven, workable solutions to the cri-
          and sprawl threaten ocean-related tourism and                       sis in our oceans exist but such successes will
          recreation, far and away the largest compo-                        remain the exception rather than the rule until
                                          nent of the coastal    we chart a new course for ocean management.
                                             But more than    THE EVIDENCE
                                          jobs are at stake. All  The evidence that our oceans face a greater
                                          Americans depend on    array of problems than ever before in our
                                          the oceans and affect   nation’s history surrounds us. Marine life and
                                          the oceans, regardless  vital coastal habitats are straining under the
                                          of where they live.    increasing pressure of our use. We have reached
                        Ron Niebrugge/

                                          Ocean currents circu-   a crossroads where the cumulative effect of
                                          late the energy and    what we take from, and put into, the ocean sub-
                                          water that regulate the  stantially reduces the ability of marine ecosys-
                                          Earth’s climate and    tems to produce the economic and ecological
                                          weather and, thus,    goods and services that we desire and need.
                                          affect every aspect of  What we once considered inexhaustible
                                          the human experience.   and resilient is, in fact, finite and fragile.
Fishing figures prominently in the
economies of many coastal communities,                       Our very dependence       The crisis confronting our oceans has
including Seward, Alaska, where anglers fish
                                          on and use of ocean    many dimensions.
for salmon in Resurrection Bay.

s Coastal development and associated sprawl
  destroy and endanger coastal wetlands and

                                                              © 2003 Norbert Wu/
  estuaries that serve as nurseries for many
  valuable fishery species. More than 20,000
  acres of these sensitive habitats disappear
  each year. Paved surfaces have created
  expressways for oil, grease, and toxic pol-
  lutants into coastal waters. Every eight
  months, nearly 11 million gallons of oil run          Nutrient pollution of coastal waters causes excessive
                                  algae growth on coral reefs, such as this one off
  off our streets and driveways into our
                                  Hawaii. Other major threats to reefs include climate
  waters—the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez            change, overfishing, and sediment runoff resulting
                                  from development and agriculture.
  oil spill.
                                  overfished or are being fished unsustain-
s More than 60 percent of our coastal rivers
                                  ably. An increasing number of these species
  and bays are moderately to severely
                                  are being driven toward extinction. Already
  degraded by nutrient runoff. This runoff cre-
                                  depleted sea turtle, marine mammal, sea-
  ates harmful algal blooms and leads to the
                                  bird, and noncommercial fish populations
  degradation or loss of seagrass and kelp
                                  are endangered by incidental capture in
  beds as well as coral reefs that are impor-
                                  fishing gear. Destructive fishing practices
  tant spawning and nursery grounds for fish.
                                  are damaging vital habitat upon which fish
  Each summer, nutrient pollution creates a
                                  and other living resources depend.
  dead zone the size of Massachusetts in the
                                  Combined, these aspects of fishing are
  Gulf of Mexico. These types of problems
                                  changing relationships among species in
  occur in almost every coastal state* and the
                                  food webs and altering the functioning of
  trends are not favorable. If current practices
                                  marine ecosystems.
  continue, nitrogen inputs to U.S. coastal
                                s Invasive species are establishing them-
  waters in 2030 may be as much as 30 per-
                                  selves in our coastal waters, often crowd-
  cent higher than at present and more
                                  ing out native species and altering habitat
  than twice what they were in 1960.
                                  and food webs. More than 175 introduced
s Many ecologically and commercially cru-
                                  species thrive in San Francisco Bay alone.
  cial fish species, including groundfish and
                                  Nearly one million Atlantic salmon
  salmon populations along the Atlantic and
                                  escaped from farm pens on the western
  Pacific Coasts, face overfishing and numer-
                                  coast of North America in the last 15
  ous other threats. Thirty percent of the fish
                                  years. The species is now successfully
  populations that have been assessed are

*As used in this report, the terms “state” or “states” mean any or all of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the Virgin
Islands, Guam, and any other commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

     reproducing in British Columbia rivers and       springs and upon which all living things,
     diluting the gene pool of native species by       including humans, depend.
     hybridizing with Pacific salmon. New
     species are regularly finding a home          SEEDS OF CRISIS
     around our coastlines as hitchhikers in         The root cause of this crisis is a failure of
     ship ballast water or on ship hulls,          both perspective and governance. We have
     escapees from fish farms, and even as          failed to conceive of the oceans as our largest
     discarded home aquarium plants and ani-         public domain, to be managed holistically for
     mals. Of the 374 documented invasive          the greater public good in perpetuity. Our
     species in U.S. waters, 150 have arrived        oceans span nearly 4.5 million square miles,*
     since 1970.                       an area 23 percent larger than the nation’s
       In addition to these varied threats, cli-      land area. Similarly, we have only begun to
   mate change over the next century is project-       recognize how vital our oceans and coasts
   ed to profoundly impact coastal and marine         are to our economy as well as to the cultural
   ecosystems. Sea-level rise will gradually inun-      heritage of our nation. Finally, we have come
   date highly productive coastal wetlands, estu-       too slowly to recognize the interdependence
   aries, and mangrove forests. Coral reefs that       of land and sea and how easily activities far
   harbor exceptional biodiversity will likely        inland can disrupt the many benefits provided
   experience increased bleaching due to higher        by coastal ecosystems.
   water temperatures. Changes in ocean and              The foundation of U.S. ocean policy was
   atmospheric circulation attributable to climate      laid in a very different context than exists
   change could adversely affect coastal           today. The principal laws to protect our
   upwelling and productivity and have signifi-        coastal zones, endangered marine mammals,
   cant local, regional, and global implications       ocean waters, and fisheries were enacted 30
   on the distribution and abundance of living        years ago, on a crisis-by-crisis, sector-by-sec-
   marine resources.                     tor basis. Much of what exists of an ocean
       These are just some of the signs that our      governance system in this country can be
   interactions with the oceans are unsustain-        traced to recommendations of the Stratton
   able. Our activities, from those that release       Commission—the nation’s first review of
   pollutants into rivers and bays to the overfish-      ocean policy in 1969. Driven by the need to
   ing of the seas, are altering and threatening       ensure the “full and wise use of the marine
   the structure and functioning of marine          environment,” Stratton focused on oceans as a
   ecosystems—from which all marine life           frontier with vast resources, and largely rec-

   *This is the approximate area (in square statute miles) of the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)—the area of
   the oceans over which the United States exercises exclusive environmental and economic jurisdiction. The U.S. EEZ was
   established by Presidential Proclamation in 1983. The establishment of an EEZ extending 200 nautical miles from the shore-
   line of a coastal nation is recognized and accepted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Deb Antonini/Pew Oceans Commission

                   Commissioners tour a cannery in Kodiak, Alaska, home port for more than 700 trawl, longline, and crab vessels.

                                                 A 30-YEAR REVIEW OF OCEAN POLICY
                   ommended policies to coordinate the devel-
                                                 More than 30 years after the Stratton
                   opment of ocean resources.
                                                 Commission issued its recommendations, the
                      Reflecting the understanding and values
                                                 state of our oceans and coasts is vastly
                   of this earlier era, we have continued to
                                                 altered. Although some of the problems that
                   approach our oceans with a frontier mentali-
                                                 were considered 30 years ago remain with us
                   ty. The result is a hodgepodge of ocean laws
                                                 today, new environmental, economic, and
                   and programs that do not provide unified,
                                                 policy challenges have emerged. These chal-
                   clearly stated goals and measurable objec-
                                                 lenges exceed the capacity of today’s gover-
                   tives. Authority over marine resources is frag-
                                                 nance framework and management regimes.
                   mented geographically and institutionally.
                                                    Our perspective on ocean resources and
                   Principles of ecosystem health and integrity,
                                                 policy has also changed over 30 years. We are
                   sustainability, and precaution have been lost
                                                 increasingly aware that development activities
                   in the fray. Furthermore, the nation has sub-
                                                 can change marine environments. We are
                   stantially underinvested in understanding and
                                                 learning more about complex interactions in
                   managing our oceans. The information we do
                                                 marine ecosystems and the need to maintain
                   have in hand is often underutilized. Plagued
                                                 the diversity and resilience of those complex
                   with systemic problems, U.S. ocean gover-
                                                 and adaptive natural systems. Today, there is a
                   nance is in disarray.

         clear sense that we must do a better job of                         For more than two years, the Commission
         protecting the oceans if we hope to continue                     conducted a national dialogue on ocean issues.
         to enjoy their benefits.                               We convened a series of 15 regional meetings,
             The Pew Oceans Commission, a biparti-                     public hearings, and workshops to listen to
         san, independent group of American leaders,                      those who live and work along the coasts. From
         was created to chart a new course for the                       Maine to Hawaii, Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico,
         nation’s ocean policy. Our mission is to identi-                   we spoke with hundreds of citizens, fishermen,
         fy policies and practices necessary to restore                    scientists, government officials, tourism opera-
         and protect living marine resources in U.S.                      tors, and business leaders. Commissioners held
                                       waters and the ocean    a series of 12 focus groups with fishermen,
                                       and coastal habitats    including one in Kodiak, Alaska, which is
                                       on which they       among the nation’s oldest and largest fishing
                     Chris Mann/Pew Oceans Commission

                                       depend. The        communities. Believing that experience is the
                                       Commission was also    best teacher, Commissioners went lobster fishing
                                       charged with raising    in Maine, toured a pineapple plantation in
                                       public awareness of    Hawaii to learn about ways to control polluted
                                       the principal threats to  runoff, and visited coastal habitat restoration
                                       marine biodiversity    projects in New York and South Carolina.
Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) welcomes
                                       and of the importance      By speaking with those who live and
Leon Panetta, Dana Beach of the South
Carolina Coastal Conservation
                                       of ocean and coastal    work along the coasts and around the country,
League, and Deb Antonini of the Pew
                                       resources to the U.S.   and by collecting the best scientific informa-
Oceans Commission at the release of Mr.
Beach's report on coastal sprawl.
                                       economy.          tion available, the Commission learned a great
             The Commission brought together a                       deal about the problems facing our oceans,
         diverse group of American leaders from the                      the consequences to coastal communities and
         worlds of science, fishing, conservation, gov-                    the nation if we fail to act, and actions needed
         ernment, education, business, and philanthro-                     to overcome the crisis facing our oceans. The
         py. It secured the help of leading scientists to                   status quo is unacceptable. Future generations
         determine priority issues and to write reports                    will judge this generation on whether it shoul-
         summarizing the best scientific information                      ders its responsibility.
         available on those subjects (see list of publica-
         tions on page 136). The Commission organized                     CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
         into four committees to review the core issues                    The fundamental conclusion of the Pew
         of governance, fishing, pollution, and coastal                    Oceans Commission is that this nation needs
         development. It also investigated marine aqua-                    to ensure healthy, productive, and resilient
         culture, invasive species, ocean zoning, cli-                     marine ecosystems for present and future gen-
         mate change, science, and education.                         erations. In the long term, economic sustain-

ability depends on ecological sustainability.    ocean resources.
   To achieve and maintain healthy ecosys-   2. Encourage comprehensive and coordinated
tems requires that we change our perspective     governance of ocean resources and uses at
and extend an ethic of stewardship and        scales appropriate to the problems to be
responsibility toward the oceans. Most impor-    solved.
tantly, we must treat our oceans as a public     a. The regional scale of large marine ecosys-
trust. The oceans are a vast public domain that     tems is most appropriate for fisheries man-
is vitally important to our environmental and      agement and for governance generally.
economic security as a nation. The public has    b. Coastal development and pollution con-
entrusted the government with the stewardship      trol is most appropriately addressed at
of our oceans, and the government should        the watershed level.
exercise its authority with a broad sense     3. Restructure fishery management institutions
of responsibility toward all citizens and their   and reorient fisheries policy to protect and
long-term interests.                 sustain the ecosystems on which our fish-
   These changes in our perspective must     eries depend.
be reflected in a reformed U.S. ocean policy.   4. Protect important habitat and manage
National ocean policy and governance must      coastal development to minimize habitat
be realigned to reflect and apply principles of   damage and water quality impairment.
ecosystem health and integrity, sustainability,  5. Control sources of pollution, particularly
and precaution. We must redefine our rela-      nutrients, that are harming marine
tionship with the ocean to reflect an under-     ecosystems.
standing of the land-sea connection and
organize institutions and forums capable of       The Commission recommends the fol-
managing on an ecosystem basis. These       lowing actions to achieve these objectives.
forums must be accessible, inclusive, and
accountable. Decisions should be founded     Governance for Sustainable Seas
upon the best available science and flow from   1. Enact a National Ocean Policy Act to pro-
processes that are equitable, transparent, and    tect, maintain, and restore the health, integri-
collaborative.                    ty, resilience, and productivity of our oceans.
   To embrace these reforms and achieve    2. Establish regional ocean ecosystem coun-
our goal, the nation must realize five priority   cils to develop and implement enforceable
objectives:                     regional ocean governance plans.
                         3. Establish a national system of fully protect-
1. Declare a principled, unified national      ed marine reserves.
  ocean policy based on protecting ecosys-    4. Establish an independent national
  tem health and requiring sustainable use of    oceans agency.

   5. Establish a permanent federal interagency   2. Address unabated point sources of pollu-
    oceans council.                  tion, such as concentrated animal feeding
                             operations and cruise ships.
   Restoring America’s Fisheries           3. Create a flexible framework to address
   1. Redefine the principal objective of        emerging and nontraditional sources
    American marine fishery policy to protect     of pollution, such as invasive species
    marine ecosystems.                and noise.
   2. Separate conservation and allocation deci-   4. Strengthen control over toxic pollution.
   3. Implement ecosystem-based planning and     Guiding Sustainable Marine Aquaculture
    marine zoning.                 1. Implement a new national marine aquacul-
   4. Regulate the use of fishing gear that is     ture policy based on sound conservation
    destructive to marine habitats.          principles and standards.
   5. Require bycatch monitoring and manage-     2. Set a standard, and provide international
    ment plans as a condition of fishing.       leadership, for ecologically sound marine
   6. Require comprehensive access and alloca-     aquaculture practices.
    tion planning as a condition of fishing.
   7. Establish a permanent fishery conservation   Science, Education, and Funding
    and management trust fund.           1. Develop and implement a comprehensive
                             national ocean research and monitoring
   Preserving Our Coasts                strategy.
   1. Develop an action plan to address non-     2. Double funding for basic ocean science
    point source pollution and protect water     and research.
    quality on a watershed basis.         3. Improve the use of existing scientific infor-
   2. Identify and protect from development       mation by creating a mechanism or institu-
    habitat critical for the functioning of      tion that regularly provides independent
    coastal ecosystems.                scientific oversight of ocean and coastal
   3. Institute effective mechanisms at all levels   management.
    of government to manage development and    4. Broaden ocean education and awareness
    minimize its impact on coastal ecosystems.    through a commitment to teach and learn
   4. Redirect government programs and subsi-      about our oceans, at all levels of society.
    dies away from harmful coastal develop-
    ment and toward beneficial activities,        This nation must decide how it will
    including restoration.             choose to meet the crisis in our oceans.
                            Fundamentally, this is not a decision about us.
   Cleaning Coastal Waters              It is about our children, and actions we must
   1. Revise, strengthen, and expand pollution    take to bequeath them thriving oceans and
    laws to focus on nonpoint source pollution.  healthy coastlines.

                       This is our challenge. To meet this chal-      Americans about the oceans.
                   lenge, the nation must substantially increase           If properly executed, this investment
                   its investment in understanding and managing        will be paid back manyfold in the form of
                   its oceans. We need a much greater financial        abundant living ocean resources for centuries
                   commitment to strengthen governance and          ahead. Without this investment, we risk further
                   management infrastructure, to improve our         decline in ocean ecosystem health and serious
                   scientific understanding of marine ecosystems       consequences for human well-being far into
                   and human impacts, and to educate all           the future.
Justin Kenney/Pew Oceans Commission

                   Commissioner Carlotta Leon Guerrero (above) joined Hawaiian schoolchildren for a taping of KidScience, produced
                   jointly by the Hawaii Department of Education and Hawaii Public Television, during the Commission’s visit to Hawaii in
                   February 2001.

                            Part One

Cushion sea star, Hurricane Hole, U.S. Virgin Islands
Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes
             Introduction THE OCEAN DOMAIN
Green sea turtle, Kona, Hawaii
© Chuck Davis/

      Who has the most hope in the world? It is a fisher-            problems are by no means limited to the East
      man, of course, for every time he casts out his line            Coast. In September 2002, the government
      he has hope. Perhaps that hope can motivate us so             imposed substantial restrictions on bottom
      that we can save and preserve the oceans and all its            fishing along the West Coast in an attempt to
      creatures from man, the apex predator.                   save four of the most depleted rockfish
                                  Steven Sloan    species. Populations of bocaccio rockfish,
                    Trustee, International Game Fish Association
                                            commonly sold as Pacific red snapper, have
             The oceans are our largest public domain.           been driven to less than 10 percent of their
             America’s oceans span nearly 4.5 million           historic numbers (MacCall and He, 2002).
             square miles, an area 23 percent larger than            One can find stories about the effects of
             the nation’s land area (Figure One). Their bio-        development, pollution, and overfishing all
             logical riches surpass those of our national         along our coastal waters—from Alaska to the
             forests and wilderness areas. The genetic,          Gulf of Mexico to Hawaii’s coral reefs. Often
             species, habitat, and ecosystem diversity of         the tale begins far inland.
             the oceans is believed to exceed that of any            The greatest pollution threat to coastal
             other Earth system. Yet, incredibly, we are          marine life today is the runoff of excess nitrogen
             squandering this bounty.                   from fertilized farm fields, animal feedlots, and
                  Humanity’s numbers and the technologi-       urban areas. Airborne nitrogen—from industrial
             cal capacity of our age result in unprecedented        smokestacks, automobile exhaust pipes, and
             impact upon the oceans and coasts (Box One,          ammonia rising from huge manure lagoons—is
             pages 4–5). The disturbing signs of these impacts       also deposited in the ocean.
             can be found nearly everywhere we look.               Just as they fertilize the land, nutrients
                  Most obviously we are depleting the         fertilize coastal waters, and excess amounts
             oceans of fish, and have been for decades. The        can cause massive blooms of algae. These
             government can only assure us that 22 percent         blooms can trigger a chain of events that
             of managed fish stocks are being fished sus-         deplete the ocean waters of oxygen, turning
             tainably. The decline of New England fisheries        vast areas into hypoxic areas, also known as
             is most notorious. By 1989, New England cod,         dead zones. Some of these algal blooms pro-
             haddock, and yellowtail flounder had reached         duce toxins that can be fatal to fish, marine
             historic lows.                        mammals, and occasionally people.
                  In U.S. waters, Atlantic halibut are com-         The deaths of one million menhaden in
             mercially extinct—too rare to justify a directed       North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound in 1991, 150
             fishing effort. In addition, by the mid-1990s,        endangered Florida manatees in 1996, and
             we halved the breeding population of Atlantic         400 California sea lions along the central
             swordfish (Safina, 1994). However, such            California coast in 1998 (Continued on page 6)

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan established the United States Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles* from our shores. In
doing so, he created an “underwater continent” larger than our land area, encompassing nearly 4.5 million square miles.

      America’s Oceans                              ARCTI C
          United States Exclusive Economic Zone                OCEAN
          (U.S. EEZ)



                                                        UNITED STATES
                                    PACI FI C
                    Midway             OCEAN
             North            H aw
                                                                           Puerto Rico
                                  n Is                                        & U.S. Virgin
             Islands                    lan                      IC
                                      ds                                      Islands
       Guam                  Atoll
                                    Palmyra Atoll
                       Howland           Reef
                                            How Big
                                            Is the
                        Island           Jarvis
                                            U.S. EEZ?
                                            The U.S. Exclusive
                                            Economic Zone,
                                            totaling 4,453,068
                                            square miles, is
                                            nearly one and one-
                                            half times larger than
                                            the landmass of the
                                            lower 48 states.

*A nautical mile equals 1.15 statute miles.                                                Lucidity Information Design, LLC

  BOX ONE                                               Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes

    Major Threats to Our Oceans
                  s A recent National Academy of Sciences study estimates that the oil running off
                  our streets and driveways and ultimately flowing into the oceans is equal to an
                  Exxon Valdez oil spill—10.9 million gallons—every eight months (NRC, 2002a).
                  s The amount of nitrogen released into coastal waters along the Atlantic
                  seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico from anthropogenic sources has increased
                  about fivefold since the preindustrial era, and may increase another 30 percent by
                  2030 if current practices continue (Howarth et al., 2000).
                  s Two-thirds of our estuaries and bays are either moderately or severely degrad-
                  ed by eutrophication (Bricker et al., 1999).
    s More than 13,000 beaches were closed or under pollution advisories in 2001, an increase of 20 percent from
    the previous year (NRDC, 2002).

                               POINT SOURCE POLLUTION
    s In the U.S., animal feedlots produce about 500 million tons of manure each
    year, more than three times the amount of sanitary waste produced by the
    human population (EPA, 2002).
    s Based on EPA estimates, in one week a 3000-passenger cruise ship generates
    about 210,000 gallons of sewage, 1,000,000 gallons of gray water (shower, sink,
    and dishwashing water), 37,000 gallons of oily bilge water, more than 8 tons of
    solid waste, millions of gallons of ballast water containing potential invasive
    species, and toxic wastes from dry cleaning and photo-processing laboratories
    (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., 1998; Eley, 2000; Holland America, 2002).

                   INVASIVE SPECIES
                   s Introduced species crowd out native species, alter habitats, and impose eco-
                   nomic burdens on coastal communities.
                   s The rate of marine introductions has risen exponentially over the past 200
                   years and shows no sign of leveling off (Carlton, 2001).
                   s More than 175 species of introduced marine invertebrates, fish, algae, and
                   higher plants live in San Francisco Bay (Cohen and Carlton, 1995, 1998; Cohen and
                   Carlton, unpublished data).

    s A December 2000 storm resulted in the escape of 100,000 salmon from a single
    farm in Maine, about 1,000 times the number of documented wild adult salmon in
    Maine (NRC, 2002b).
    s A salmon farm of 200,000 fish releases an amount of nitrogen, phosphorus,
    and fecal matter roughly equivalent to the nutrient waste in the untreated sewage
    from 20,000, 25,000, and 65,000 people, respectively (Hardy, 2000).
    s Over the past decade, nearly one million non-native Atlantic salmon
    have escaped from fish farms and established themselves in streams in the
    Pacific Northwest.

    Art: John Michael Yanson
                s Sprawl development is consuming land at a rate of five or more times the rate of population
                growth in many coastal areas. Sprawl needlessly destroys wildlife habitat and degrades water quality.
                s More than one-fourth of all the land converted from rural to suburban and urban uses since
                European settlement occurred during the 15-year period between 1982 and 1997 (the last year for
                which such figures are available) (NRI, 2000).
                s Coastal marshes, which trap floodwaters, filter out pollutants, and serve as “nurseries” for
                wildlife, are disappearing at a rate of 20,000 acres per year. Louisiana alone has lost half a million
                acres of wetlands since the 1950s.
     s As of 2001, the government could only assure us that 22 percent of fish stocks under
     federal management (211 of 959 stocks) were being fished sustainably (NMFS, 2002).
     s Overfishing often removes top predators and can result in dramatic changes in the
     structure and diversity of marine ecosystems (Dayton et al., 2002).
     s By 1989, populations of New England cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder had
     reached historic lows. In U.S. waters, Atlantic halibut are commercially extinct—too rare
     to justify a directed fishing effort. Populations of some rockfish species on the West
     Coast have dropped to less than 10 percent of their past levels (MacCall and He, 2002).
     s Rebuilding U.S. fisheries has the potential to restore and create tens of thousands of
     family wage jobs and add at least 1.3 billion dollars to the U.S. economy (POC, 2003).

                HABITAT ALTERATION
                s Fishing gear that drags along or digs into the seafloor destroys habitat needed by marine
                wildlife, including commercially fished species.
                s Typical trawl fisheries in northern California and New England trawl the same section of
                sea bottom more than once per year on average (Friedlander et al., 1999; Auster et al., 1996).
                s Bottom-dwelling invertebrates can take up to five years or more
                to recover from one pass of a dredge (Peterson and Estes, 2001).

         s Worldwide, scientists estimate that fishermen discarded about 25 percent of
         what they caught during the 1980s and the early 1990s, about 60 billion pounds
         each year (Alverson et al., 1994; Alverson, 1998).
         s Bycatch of albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters in longline fisheries is one of
         the greatest threats to seabirds (Robertson and Gales, 1998; Tasker et al., 2000).
         s Bycatch in the Atlantic pelagic longline fishery may be jeopardizing the con-
         tinued existence of the loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles off the eastern U.S. seaboard (NMFS, 2001).

                CLIMATE CHANGE
                s Global air temperature is expected to warm by 2.5 to 10.4oF (1.4 to 5.8oC) in the 21st cen-
                tury, affecting sea-surface temperatures and raising the global sea level by 4 to 35 inches (9
                to 88 cm) (IPCC, 2001).
                s Recent estimates suggest an increase in mean sea-surface temperature of only 2oF (1oC)
                could cause the global destruction of coral reef ecosystems (Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999).
                s Climate change will modify the flow of energy and cycling of materials within ecosystems—
                in some cases, altering their ability to provide the ecosystem services we depend upon.
s Increases in temperature may slow or shut down the Atlantic thermohaline circulation that powers the Gulf Stream,
causing reductions in sea-surface and air temperatures over the North Atlantic and northern Europe, changes in the geo-
graphic distributions of fisheries, and increased risk of hypoxia in the deep ocean.
  have all been attributed to harmful algal      increased dramatically from 1996 to 1998.
  blooms (McKay and Mulvaney, 2001). They       About 75 percent of the coral species in the
  disrupt aquaculture, wild fisheries, and coastal  Florida Keys show symptoms of a variety of
  tourism. In the past two decades, their effects   diseases. In addition, two-thirds of the moni-
  have expanded from a few scattered coastal     toring stations lost species between 1996 and
  areas to nearly all coastal states (Burke et al.,  2000, and the total stony coral cover had
  2000). But they are only one of the many      decreased by about 40 percent between 1996
  human-related impacts that are transforming     and 1999 (Porter et al., 1999). Scientists do
  our coasts.                     not know why so many species have simulta-
     Coastal counties are now home to       neously become susceptible to disease.
  more than half of the U.S. population. Another      Our current state of knowledge makes it
  25 million people will live along the coast by   difficult to unravel the relative roles of natural
  2015 (Beach, 2002), further straining our wet-   processes and human influence, whether from
  lands, mangrove forests, estuaries, coral reefs,  chemical pollution, nutrient enrichment, or cli-
  and other coastal habitats.             mate change. But scientists are finding increas-
     Florida has experienced some of the      ing human influence on the environment.
  nation’s most rapid coastal development. From       For example, in Puget Sound, PCB con-
  1940 to 1996, the state population increased    tamination may be a factor in the decline of
  700 percent, from 1.8 million to 14.3 million.   orcas, or killer whales, whose numbers have
     Development has altered both water      declined by 14 percent since 1995. PCB levels
  quality and water quantity, leading to the loss   in the Puget Sound population exceed that
  of more than half of the Everglades, the largest  known to suppress immune function in another
  contiguous wetland in the U.S. Freshwater      marine mammal, the harbor seal (Forney et al.,
  flow through the Everglades has declined by     2000; Ross et al., 2000). Similarly, increased
  approximately 70 percent since the 1940s and    levels of PCBs, DDT, and tributyltin (a compo-
  the population of wading birds has dropped     nent in boat paint) may be contributing to the
  by 90 percent (Koehler and Blair, 2001).      deaths of California southern sea otters.
     Much of Florida’s development has been    Scientists have also discovered that increasing
  concentrated in 16 southern counties that      sea-surface temperatures are associated with
  extend from Lake Okeechobee to the Florida     the northern spread of a pathogen that attacks
  Keys. The marine ecosystems of the Keys are     the eastern oyster. The pathogen, Perkinsus
  now undergoing rapid and profound changes.     marinus, was itself likely introduced into the
     Scientists recently conducted extensive    U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts via aquaculture.
  surveys at 160 monitoring stations throughout       The crisis in our oceans is such that
  the Florida Keys. They found that both the     many marine populations and ecosystems may
  number of diseased areas of coral and of the    be reaching the point where even a small
  number of diseased coral species had        disturbance can cause a big change. We must

BOX TWO                                                Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes

  Ecosystem-based management requires defining stan-     resilient community of species, irrespective of the
  dards of ecosystem health. Maintaining, protecting, and,  human activity permitted there. This requires a holistic
  where appropriate, restoring ecosystem health should be   approach to management, focusing not only on individ-
  the goal of our new ocean governance.            ual species but also on the interactions among them
                                and their physical environment. A healthy ecosystem is
  Marine ecosystems are too varied and complex to write a   capable of providing ecological goods and services to
  single definition—scientific or legal—of health. However,  people and to other species in amounts and at rates
  as in human health, where we take basic measurements    comparable to those that could be provided by a
  such as temperature, blood pressure, and cholesterol, we  similar undisturbed ecosystem.
  can identify and measure certain parameters in marine
  ecosystems to learn more about their health. These     Although often taken for granted, the goods and
  parameters include the number of species, population    services provided by coastal and marine ecosystems
  sizes of species, water quality, and habitat composition.  would be difficult—if not impossible—to replace.
  Marine scientists need to develop an understanding of    These benefits include protection from coastal storm
  what good health means for each major ecosystem in U.S.   damage, the filtering of toxic substances and nutrients,
  ocean waters, and then policymakers and those who use    production of oxygen, and sequestration of carbon
  ocean resources need to practice preventive medicine.    dioxide. In addition, fishing, tourism, and recreation
                                provide economic benefit, and support ways of life that
  The term “ecosystem health” refers to the ongoing      contribute to the social and cultural wealth of
  capability of an ecosystem to support a productive and   the nation.

  therefore initiate large changes ourselves, not   hensive review of our ocean policy was com-
  in the oceans, but in our governance of them     pleted in 1969, when the Stratton Commission
  and our attitude toward them. We must no       produced its seminal report, Our Nation and
  longer structure our thinking in terms of      the Sea. The recommendations of the Stratton
  maximizing the short-term commercial benefit     Commission, including the establishment of
  we derive from the oceans, but rather in terms    the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
  of maximizing the health and persistence of     Administration and the enactment of the
  ocean ecosystems (Box Two).             Coastal Zone Management Act, provided the
     Addressing the crisis of our seas will     blueprint for U.S. ocean policy (Cicin-Sain
  require a serious rethinking of ocean law,      and Knecht, 2000). But our oceans and
  informed by a new ocean ethic. The legal       coasts—and our society as well—have
  framework that governs our oceans is more      changed dramatically since that time.
  than 30 years old, and has not been updated         For example, nearly 30 years ago, in
  to reflect the current state of ocean resources   response to outrage over foreign overfishing of
  or our values toward them. The last compre-     abundant fish populations off America’s

                 FIG. TWO
  Art: John Michael Yanson

                Coral reefs—often called the “rain forests of the sea”—are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Pollution, destructive
                fishing activities, coastal development, and climate change contribute to the declining health of the world’s reefs.

                     shores, Congress took action to develop a              ing development of a more sophisticated
                     domestic fishing industry and capture the              approach called ecosystem-based manage-
                     wealth of fisheries for this country. Today, the           ment. An ecosystem is composed of all of the
                     problem is reversed. We are overfishing our             organisms living in a certain place and their
                     already depleted fish populations, harming              interactions with each other and with their
                     marine ecosystems, and leaving fishermen out             environment. Weather, currents, seafloor
                     of work.                               topography, and human activities are all
                         Over the past three decades our under-           important influences on ecosystems. The goal
                     standing of the oceans has also evolved. For             of ecosystem-based management is to maintain
                     too long we viewed the ocean as a limitless             the health of the whole as well as the parts. It
                     resource. We now know that ocean life is               acknowledges the connections among things.
                     finite. We overlooked the connections                     Maintaining healthy ecosystems is cru-
                     between the land and sea. Now, we know that             cial. When we sacrifice healthy ecosystems,
                     our activities on land—from building roads to            we must also be prepared to sacrifice econom-
                     logging trees to damming rivers—have a direct            ic and social stability. Indeed, once an ecosys-
                     impact on the oceans.                        tem collapses, it may take decades or centuries
                         Over time, experience on land has made           for it to recover, and the species that we so
                     biologists and ecologists aware of the many             valued may be permanently lost (Figure Two).
                     linkages within and among ecosystems, foster-                 The story of horseshoe crabs is a cau-

tionary tale. Every spring, hundreds of thou-   effectiveness of the nation’s ocean policy. Our
sands of horseshoe crabs migrate to the shores  approach encompassed extensive research, con-
of the Delaware Bay to spawn. The crabs pile   sultation with scientific and policy experts, and
up on the beaches, where each female may     testimony from Americans whose lives are inter-
lay up to 80,000 eggs.              twined with the ocean. We identified three pri-
   When they spawn, as many as 1.5 mil-    mary problems with ocean governance. The first
lion migrating shorebirds stop on the beaches   is its focus on exploitation of ocean resources
to gorge themselves on the eggs. Some       with too little regard for environmental conse-
species, such as red knots, nearly double their  quences. The second is its fragmented nature—
weight during a two-week stopover on their    institutionally, legislatively, and geographically.
migration from southern Brazil to Canada. If   Third is its focus on individual species as
the birds are unable to bulk up on the eggs,   opposed to the larger ecosystems that produce
they may never complete their flight north, or  and nurture all life in the sea.
may fail to breed once they arrive. Small        To correct this situation, we have identi-
mammals, diamondback terrapins, and mol-     fied five main challenges and corresponding
lusks also feed on the eggs.           recommendations for revising our laws and
   By the mid-1990s, scientists began to    institutions. The five challenges are: reforming
notice declines in horseshoe crab and shore-   ocean governance, restoring America’s fish-
bird counts. The declines coincided with an    eries, protecting our coasts, cleaning coastal
increase in offshore trawling for the crabs,   waters, and guiding sustainable aquaculture.
which are sold as bait to catch eels and        New laws and policies, however sub-
whelks. According to the National Marine     stantial, are not enough. A more fundamental
Fisheries Service, the catch of horseshoe crabs  change is needed. A change in values—not
in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland dou-    only what we value, but how we value—is
bled between 1990 and 1994 to at least a half   essential to protecting and restoring our
million crabs a year.               oceans and coasts.
   During this period, horseshoe crab        Our society needs an ethic of steward-
counts on spawning beaches were down dra-     ship and responsibility toward the ocean and
matically, on some beaches by 90 percent.     its inhabitants. Like the conservation land
The number of shorebirds declined sharply as   ethic that has taken shape in our nation over
well. Also threatened is a multimillion-dollar  many decades, an ocean ethic provides a
ecotourism industry centered on the annual    moral framework to guide the conduct of indi-
bird migrations.                 viduals and society. Extending environmental
                         protection beyond a single medium—such as
                         air, or water, or a single species of plant or
In July 2000, the Pew Oceans Commission      animal—to entire ecosystems is both a practi-
embarked on a journey of inquiry. We sought to  cal measure and our moral obligation as the
understand the state of our oceans and the    stewards of our planet.

      The Commission has framed six key prin-   healthy marine ecosystems. In the face of
   ciples that form the core of a new ocean ethic   uncertainty, we should err in our decisions on
   and that underlie all of our recommendations.   the side of protecting these ecosystems.

   The oceans of the United States are a vast     Human well-being and the well-being of our
   public domain that is vitally important to our   coasts and oceans are interdependent. We
   environmental and economic security as a      depend on marine ecosystems, and they
   nation. The public has entrusted the govern-    depend on our respectful treatment. Other
   ment with the stewardship of our oceans, and    interdependencies are likewise crucial:
   the government should exercise environmental    between land and sea; among species and
   and economic control over them with a broad    between species and their habitats; among all
   sense of responsibility toward all citizens and  levels of government with jurisdiction over the
   their long-term interests. Likewise, public and  marine environment; and among government,
   private users of ocean resources should be     the public, and the users of coastal and
   responsible in their use and should be held    marine resources. An ocean ethic requires us
   accountable for their actions.           to understand these connections, and use that
                            knowledge wisely.
   The essence of sustainable development is using  ENSURE DEMOCRACY
   our planet’s resources as if we plan to stay. In  Our current system of ocean governance, and
   the long term, economic sustainability depends   the patterns of ocean use resulting from it, too
   on ecological sustainability. We must reassess   often allows the needs and desires of a few to
   and, where necessary, change our actions to    dictate the availability of benefits for all of us.
   take out no more living things than the system   The public should be able to count on gover-
   can reliably replace and put in no more con-    nance decisions that respect broad and long-
   taminants than the system can safely absorb.    term societal goals; and to be confident those
   We must protect what should not be destroyed,   decisions are made by institutions that are
   and repair as much of the damage as we can.    accessible, efficient, and accountable through
                            processes that are transparent and collaborative.
   Despite the wealth of knowledge we have      IMPROVE UNDERSTANDING
   accumulated, there is a great deal of uncer-    We know enough about coastal and marine
   tainty in our understanding of the structure    ecosystems to improve their sustainable use.
   and functioning of coastal and marine ecosys-   With better information, we could do much
   tems. However, we depend on ecological and     more. Public and private institutions need to
   economic goods and services provided by      work together to fill the gaps in our knowl-

                  edge and to ensure that decision-makers have        how we affect ecosystems.
                  timely access to the information they need to            The scope of the problems before us
                  protect the public interest. In addition, they       requires sweeping change. With a strong
                  need to provide the public with understand-         ocean ethic to anchor us, we must place
                  able information about the structure and          conservation of ocean ecosystems and
                  functioning of coastal and marine ecosystems,        resources as the primary goal of a new
                  how ecosystems affect our daily lives, and         national ocean policy.
2002 Stephen Frink/The Waterhouse

                  Waving sea fans and octocorals frame a blue angelfish in the waters of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

          Chapter One
              AMERICA SPEAKS
© Lou

                                    headed a number of important initiatives to
       Knowledge of the oceans is more than a matter of
                                    ensure safe drinking water, clean air and water
       curiosity. Our very survival may hinge upon it.
                                    resources, and protect and improve coastal
                     President John F. Kennedy
                                    areas. Mike Hayden is the former governor of
                                    Kansas and past president of the American
          In June 2000, the 18 members of the inde-
                                    Sportfishing Association. He also served in the
          pendent Pew Oceans Commission embarked
                                    first Bush Administration as assistant secretary of
          on the first national review of ocean policies
                                    interior for fish, wildlife, and parks. Tony
          in more than 30 years. They brought together
                                    Knowles recently completed two terms as gov-
          their collective experiences from the worlds of
                                    ernor of Alaska. The former mayor of Anchorage
          fishing, science, conservation, education, gov-
                                    served on the North Pacific Fishery Management
          ernment, and business to develop recommen-
                                    Council, and brought his depth of experience to
          dations for a new national ocean policy to
                                    bear as chair of the Commission’s governance
          restore and protect natural ecosystems and
                                    committee, one of four such committee chairs.
          maintain the many benefits the oceans provide.
                                       Kathryn Sullivan is a former astronaut
             Each member of the Pew Oceans
                                    and chief scientist for NOAA, the National
          Commission brings a lifetime of personal and
                                    Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
          professional connections to the oceans.
                                    Dr. Sullivan currently directs a hands-on
          Former Congressman and White House Chief
                                    science center in Columbus, Ohio, devoted
          of Staff Leon Panetta is chair of the Pew
                                    to the public understanding of science and
          Oceans Commission. Mr. Panetta has lived
                                    improving science education. She chaired
          along California’s Big Sur coast his entire life
                                    the Commission’s pollution committee.
          and comes from a fishing family. He spent
                                    Joseph Riley has served as mayor of
          16 years in Congress representing California’s
                                    Charleston, South Carolina, since 1975.
          fishermen, farmers, and coastal residents. He
                                    During this time, he has become a leading
          authored the legislation establishing the
                                    expert on urban design and livability issues
          Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the
                                    and is a founder of the Mayors’ Institute for
          nation’s largest marine protected area.
                                    City Design. Mayor Riley served as chair of
             Mr. Panetta took over as chair after the
                                    the coastal development committee. Eileen
          Commission’s first chair, then-Governor
                                    Claussen is president of the Pew Center on
          Christie Todd Whitman, stepped down to
                                    Global Climate Change. She is a former assis-
          head the U.S. Environmental Protection
                                    tant secretary of state for oceans, environment,
          Agency. Governor Whitman is one of four
                                    and science. She chaired the Commission’s
          past or present governors who served on
                                    fishing committee.
          the Commission.
                                       Commercial fishermen Pat White, a
             George Pataki is serving his second term
                                    lobsterman from York, Maine, and Pietro
          as governor of New York, where he has spear-

Parravano, a salmon fisherman from Half Moon   David and Lucile Packard Foundation, are
Bay, California, gave the Commission a look    active in the areas of philanthropy, the envi-
into the lives of America’s fishing families   ronment, and education.
through their own experiences and by hosting a     In the ensuing two and a half years,
series of discussions with fishermen all around  commissioners traveled around the country
the country. Carlotta Leon Guerrero brought    to learn firsthand about the problems facing
the concerns and unique perspectives of the    our oceans. Along the way, they spoke with
residents of Guam, where she is a past member   thousands of citizens who live and work
of the senate, and of the Pacific islanders in  along the coasts. They heard from dozens of
general. John Adams of the Natural Resources   leading scientists and published a series of
Defense Council and Roger Rufe (Vice Admiral,   reports on pollution, coastal development,
United States Coast Guard, Retired) of The    marine reserves, fishing, aquaculture, and
Ocean Conservancy represented the interests of  introduced species.
hundreds of thousands of citizens concerned       Commissioners traveled from Maine
about the marine environment.           to Hawaii, from the Gulf of Alaska to the Gulf
   Throughout its deliberations, the      of Mexico. They studied coastal development
Commission sought the best available scien-    in Charleston, South Carolina, and Portland,
tific information, beginning with its choice of  Oregon. They met with sportfishermen in
commissioners. Jane Lubchenco is a professor   Florida, lobstermen in Maine, salmon fisher-
of marine biology at Oregon State University   men in Kodiak, and crabbers in Baltimore. The
and past president of the American        Commission toured aquaculture facilities
Association for the Advancement of Science    in Maine, Florida, and Washington, and
and the Ecological Society of America.      a pineapple plantation in Hawaii.
Charles Kennel is the director of the Scripps   Commissioners reviewed habitat restoration
Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.     programs in South Carolina, Maine, and
Geoffrey Heal is a professor of economics and   California. They traveled to Des Moines, Iowa,
finance at Columbia University. Along with    to talk with farmers about ways to limit pollut-
Dr. Sullivan, they ensured a solid scientific   ed runoff from fields and feedlots.
basis for the Commission’s deliberations.        The story that unfolded is one of a
   As CEO of American Water Works       growing crisis along America’s coasts.
Company, the nation’s largest private drinking  Although the issues and circumstances
water utility, Marilyn Ware brings extensive   vary from community to community, the
business experience to the Commission.      Commission found a shared sense of urgency
David Rockefeller, Jr., vice chair of the     and commitment to reverse the decline in the
National Park Foundation and trustee       health of the oceans.
of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and          What follows is a sampling of what the
Julie Packard, executive director of the     commissioners heard and learned at public
Monterey Bay Aquarium and vice chair of the    hearings held in cities around the nation.

   MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA                 of life in all reaches of the ocean, and the
   November 27, 2000                  cycling of its critical elements that support
   Several dozen fishermen, scientists, environ-    life and regulate climate.”
   mentalists, and state and local government         Dr. McNutt noted that scientists explor-
   officials attended the Commission’s first public   ing the deep canyons off Monterey routinely
   hearing in Monterey, California. The setting     discover ocean animals previously unknown
   was appropriate: Monterey was once a thriv-     to science. She compared the significance of
   ing fishing community. Its Cannery Row was      the discoveries to “knowing about cats but
   made famous by novelist John Steinbeck.       having never seen a lion.”
   However, the sardine fishery collapsed in the       Other people testified to the problems
   mid-20th  century, and other California fisheries  confronting marine mammals, including sea
   have followed suit. At the time of the        otters. Jim Estes of the U.S. Geological Survey
   Commission’s hearing, there was a growing      and the University of California, Santa Cruz,
   sense of crisis regarding the previously robust   described how the sea otter’s remarkable recov-
   bottom fish fishery. The population of bocac-    ery from near extinction is now in jeopardy.
   cio rockfish, commonly sold as Pacific red      “Protecting sea otters from hunting is not
   snapper, and other bottom fish had plummet-     enough,” said Dr. Estes. Sea otter declines as far
   ed to historic lows, signaling the difficulties   north as Alaska indicate that factors such as
   the fishery would soon face.             coastal pollution, habitat disturbances, and the
      Zeke Grader, of the Pacific Coast       ripple effects of overfishing on ocean food webs
   Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, direct-   are taking a growing toll on sea otter survival.
   ly addressed this crisis: “Our concern is that       While in the Monterey area, the
   this industry may soon be gone if we don’t      Commissioners visited the Elkhorn Slough
   develop strong ways of protecting oceans and     National Estuarine Research Reserve—one of
   ocean systems for the future livelihood of      more than two dozen such protected areas
   fishing communities.”                managed jointly by state and federal govern-
      Today, Monterey is a world-renowned      ments—and the Monterey Bay National
   center for ocean research, exploration, and     Marine Sanctuary, the largest of a national
   education, and leading scientists addressed     network of marine sanctuaries. Both of these
   the Commission.                   protected areas offer successful examples of
      Marsha McNutt, director of the         bringing different interests together from
   Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute       across a region to protect and maintain
   and chair of a presidential panel on ocean      coastal and ocean ecosystems.
   exploration addressed the panel saying,
   “It has been stated many times that we know     MAUI, HAWAII
   more about the backside of the moon than       February 7, 2001
   we do about the bottom of our ocean. We       Native Hawaiians, coral reef experts, and long-
   have just begun to learn about the diversity     line fishermen were among nearly 100 people

who attended the public hearing in Maui. The     purposes. “It does not grow in the ocean
hearing coincided with the announcement of      anymore,” he said.
court-ordered restrictions on the longline         Maxwell recalled the centuries-old
fishery to protect endangered sea turtles. This   concept of Ahu Pua’a, which allocated land
contentious issue, however, is not limited to    in sections that extended from the top of a
Hawaii; it affects the entire western Pacific,    mountain to the coastal ocean below. This
as did many of the issues addressed in Maui.     system implicitly respected the connection
   Robert Richmond, a marine biologist at     between the land and the sea. “The ancient
the University of Guam, addressed the dire state   Hawaiians had a deep respect for land as it
of the world’s coral reefs, highly diverse and    was the children of the gods.”
productive ecosystems often compared to rain        Captain Jim Coon also emphasized the
forests. Dr. Richmond noted that living coral    need to respect our natural resources. Coon
reefs—including those off Hawaii that account    comes from a fishing family, although since the
for 70 percent of the U.S. coral reefs—are of    early 1970s he has made his living watching
considerable ecological, economic, and cultural   wildlife instead of catching it. Coon started
value. Coral reefs provide the sand that blankets  Trilogy Excursions, Maui’s oldest sailboat com-
tropical beaches and protects these same shore-   pany. “We found that the most important agent
lines from waves and erosion. They provide      for change was education and we had a captive
nurseries and protection for myriad marine life   audience with our tourists. In the late ’70s and
important to commercial fisheries and tourism,    early ’80s, the message was ‘save the whales.’
and they are central to island cultures. Dr.     Twenty years later, the humpback whale popu-
Richmond detailed the consequences of poorly     lation has grown tenfold. It is our continuing
planned development, coastal pollution, and     goal to show, by example, that the ocean-
destructive fishing practices, which has led sci-  tourism industry can be profitable and operate
entists to estimate that 70 percent of the world’s  in a manner that is environmentally responsible
coral reefs may disappear within 40 years.      and embraces core Hawaiian values,” he said.
   Kahu Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell, who         While in Hawaii, Commissioners also met
has been working to protect Hawaii’s natural     with fishermen near Kihei, Maui. “We want fish-
resources and native traditions for decades,     eries that will last for seven generations, as
described how the decline of ocean resources     opposed to fishing it all out and putting the
has affected Hawaii’s native people.         money in the bank,” explained William Aila,
   “A true indicator that something’s wrong    who trolls and handlines for tuna from his 21-
is when we as Kanaka Maoli, native people,      foot boat. He pointed to the vessel monitoring
cannot meet our basic needs from the ocean,”     system as a promising management tool for pre-
he said. As an example, Maxwell described      serving small boat fishermen like him. “Large
the loss of limu, seaweed that Hawaiian       vessels are supposed to fish at least 75 miles off-
natives have traditionally used for condiments,   shore, while small vessels stay with the 50-mile
nourishment, and spiritual and medicinal       range. The vessel monitoring system offers a

   practical and inexpensive way of ensuring com-   “Abundant research on rivers and estuaries
   pliance,” he said—offering the Commission the    confirms that when impervious surfaces cover
   type of practical, constructive advice they     more than 10 percent of a watershed, the
   would hear across the nation from fishermen     rivers, creeks, and estuaries they surround
   and others struggling to find solutions.      become biologically degraded.”
      Commissioners also toured a pineapple        Personal experience testified to this trend.
   plantation to learn about efforts to curb pollut-  In the early 1950s, Fred Holland and his broth-
   ed runoff and heard from local officials about   ers spent their summer vacations in Myrtle
   ways to manage development to preserve       Beach. “We could gather enough fish, crabs,
   coastal habitats. The Commission would review    and oysters from the tidal creeks to feed us for
   similar issues at its next regional meeting.    the week. Today, it is unsafe to eat the shellfish
                             from most of the creeks and too few fish occur
                             in them to make fishing worthwhile,” Holland
   March 27, 2001                   told the Commission. Today, he runs the
   Close to 100 people packed the Commission’s     Hollings Marine Laboratory, and leads efforts
   daylong public workshop on coastal develop-     to preserve the state’s tidal creeks and estuaries.
   ment held at the College of Charleston. Many       “The hardest thing I have ever worked
   in the room were students from local colleges,   on is conversion of the science we developed
   as well as scientists and fishermen. Interest in  for tidal creeks into land-use ordinances that
   the topic had recently been piqued by the      did not infringe upon property rights,” he
   release of a Clemson University study that     said. However, after years of meetings with
   projected the region’s urban area would grow    the public, land-use planners, and decision-
   by 230,000 acres in 15 years, more than twice    makers, Holland said the efforts paid off. “We
   the size of Charleston’s existing urban area.    passed comprehensive land-use plans that
   The report urged action on existing local      maintained the quality of life and protected
   development plans to preserve open space      critical natural resources. These plans are far
   and the region’s coastal habitats.         from perfect. They are, however, a major step
      Similarly, in his report prepared for     in the right direction.”
   the Commission, Dana Beach of the South          Vince Graham spoke to the Commission
   Carolina Coastal Conservation League found     about his experiences as a developer in the
   that some large coastal metropolitan areas     region. “I used to think that people are bad.
   consume land 10 times as fast as they add      More people are worse. I sometimes refer to it
   new residents. Furthermore, Beach reported     as the ‘hate thy neighbor’ syndrome, and think
   that if today’s land consumption trends con-    it is a direct outgrowth of the damaging way
   tinue, more than one-quarter of the coast’s     we have grown over the past five decades with
   acreage would be developed by 2025.         zoning laws placing quantity over quality. What
      “These trends are a prescription for     we see now is an emphasis on inclusiveness
   severe ecological damage,” said Beach.       and community, where neighborhoods get bet-

ter over time. This form of development leads to                     region’s once-abundant groundfish fisheries.
a certain connectedness among residents that is                         Although Maine has had long-standing
absent in conventional subdivisions.”                          problems with depleted fisheries, the
   Development was also on the minds of                        Commission encountered one of the best
fishermen who came to Charleston to meet                         examples of innovation in fishery manage-
with the Commission. Ben Hartig talked about                       ment: the lobster fishery. Early on a foggy
the increasing number of fishermen who can                        morning, commissioners went lobstering with
no longer afford to live along the coasts and                      Captain Bob Baines and Captain David
must wake up hours earlier to tow their boats                      Cousens to learn about the fishery’s innovative
to the water from new homes far inland.                         management strategy, put in place in 1996.
Others worried about the loss of working                         Lobster is the highest revenue-producing
waterfronts and the infrastructure needed to                       fishery in the northeastern United States,
support the industry, as bait shops and boat                       generating 325 million dollars from 87.5 mil-
repair businesses give way to condominiums                        lion pounds of lobster. Entire communities
and art studios.                                     along Maine’s rugged coastline depend upon
   However, development is only one                          the lobster fishery.
part of the challenge facing fishermen.                             The Commission heard from James
Tony Iarocci, a commercial fisherman from                        Wilson, professor of Marine Sciences at
Marathon, Florida, believes that fishermen                        the University of Maine; fishery consultant
must stay engaged. “From New England to                         Robin Alden; Patrice Farrey of the Maine
Alaska, there are representatives of the com-                      Lobstermen’s Association; and others about
mercial fishing industry who should be includ-                      the fishery’s sometimes-contentious co-man-
ed in any new national policy regarding                         agement system that jointly involves fisher-
America’s oceans, with an emphasis on sus-                        men, scientists, and managers in decision-
taining the productivity and diversity of the
oceans’ resources and all user groups. It is
time all resource users put aside their person-
al agendas and work together.”
                          Justin Kenney/Pew Oceans Commission

June 13, 2001
Nearly 200 people, including lobstermen,
representatives of the aquaculture industry,
environmentalists, citizens, and local politi-
cians attended the Commission’s hearing in
Maine. The Commission’s visit came at a time                       During their visit to Maine, commissioners went lobster fishing off Spruce
                                             Head. Captain Bob Baines talks with Leon Panetta about innovative meas-
when fishermen, scientists, and fishery man-
                                             ures to manage the highest revenue-producing fishery in the Northeast.
agers continue to work toward rebuilding the

   making. Captains Baines and Cousens talked     threat posed to wild salmon populations when
   about the benefits of new trap and size limits,  farm-raised salmon escape.
   restrictions on catching female lobsters, and      Marine aquaculture is just one of
   the creation of lobster zones that resulted from  many possible ways invasive species can be
   this collaborative approach.            introduced into the natural environment,
      Other fishermen expressed concern      according to James Carlton, director of
   about the region becoming too dependent on     Williams-Mystic, the Maritime Studies
   lobster alone—as other fisheries become      Program of Williams College and Mystic
   depleted—especially if the lobster fishery     Seaport. In his report prepared for the
   begins to decline. Captain Steve Train, a     Commission and presented in Maine, Dr.
   commercial fisherman from Long Island, off     Carlton described a “game of ecological
   the Maine coast, recalled a different time.    roulette” playing out along our coasts as hun-
      “As a child I saw my relatives and      dreds of species arrive each day by way of
   neighbors involved in purse seining, gill     ships, ballast waters, fishing activities, and
   netting, dragging, scalloping, tub trawling,    other means. Dr. Carlton detailed that the rate
   lobstering, and more. These were all small     of marine introductions has risen exponential-
   boat fishermen who came home almost every     ly over the past 200 years and shows no sign
   night. The 25 boats here on the island now     of leveling off (Figure One).
   are all just lobster boats,” Train said.
      “About 180 people live here year-round.   ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
   Fifty to sixty of us are fishermen…. We are the  August 15, 2001
   ones who have children in the school, volun-    Alaska is home to some of the world’s most
   teer in the fire department, and serve on the   abundant populations of fish and marine
   school boards. The ability to adapt and move    mammals, the world’s largest eelgrass beds,
   among different fisheries is what keeps us and   and the greatest aggregation of seabirds. Its
   our communities alive.”              diverse marine ecosystems, wetlands, estuar-
      The Commission also heard consider-     ies, and river deltas form the basis of a tradi-
   able testimony about the growth of marine     tional subsistence lifestyle and are vitally
   aquaculture in Maine, and the pros and cons    important to the cultural, spiritual, and nutri-
   of raising salmon in nearshore pens.        tional well-being of people throughout the
      Donald Eley of the Friends of Blue Hill   state. Alaskans’ ties to the oceans were evi-
   Bay voiced concerns about the impacts of      dent at the Commission hearing, attended by
   aquaculture facilities on traditional fisheries  more than 200 people, including Alaska
   and the local ecology. He questioned the      natives, commercial and recreational fisher-
   effects of excess feed and feces generated     men, marine scientists, fishery managers, fish
   from salmon operations and the use of       processors, and environmentalists.
   chemical pollutants such as pesticides and        During the daylong public hearing,
   antibiotics. He also raised concerns about the   commissioners received testimony about a

number of pollution problems, from cruise
ship pollution in Glacier Bay to the buildup of
                                 FIG. ONE
contaminants in fish and marine mammals.
                          This graph shows the rate of invasions of marine invertebrates and
   Shawna Larson of Alaska Community       seaweeds based upon the number of new invasions occurring in the
                          U.S. coastal zone from 1790 to 1999. For example, there were 150
Action on Toxics was among those who
                          new invasions from 1970 to 1999. The total number of invasions
addressed the Commission.              plotted on this graph is 374 species.

   “Traditional foods are the spiritual and
                                        Rate of Invasions
cultural foundation for tribes,” she said. “But

                                                                                   tten Crab
the traditional foods that we gather from the

                                                                               e se Mi
ocean and from the land have contaminants.

                                                                              C h in
My Aunt Violet points out that we aren’t just
eating one contaminant. We eat the
whole fish. I care because it affects me
personally. I have a small daughter, and
I’m pregnant. I know that I’m passing the
contaminants from the ocean on to my
unborn baby. I want my children to grow up
unafraid to eat salmon and halibut and other
wild foods that are part of our tribal heritage,”
                           Number of Species

she said.
   Fishing is Alaska’s largest private
employer and more than half the fish caught                50
in the United States comes from its waters.
Accordingly, the Commission heard much
                                                                                         Art: John Michael Yanson
testimony about Alaska’s fisheries—arguably,







the best managed single-species fisheries in
the country. With rare exceptions, the man-
agers there have a record of not exceeding                                 Time Period
acceptable catch limits set by scientists. In    Source: Ruiz et al., 2000.

addition, Alaskans have done more to control
bycatch and protect habitat from fishing gear    done a reasonably good job.”
than any other region in the nation.                    The Commission also heard testimony
   While justifiably proud of their record,   about the threats posed by overfishing, its effects
managers were frank about some difficult      on marine mammals, including the Steller sea
issues yet to be resolved. “We don’t want to    lion, and pollution from cruise ships.
paint everything up here as perfect. It’s not,”               Following the public hearing, Commis-
said David Benton, chair of the North Pacific    sioners traveled to Kodiak, Alaska, the second-
Fishery Management Council. “But we’ve       largest island in the United States and a major

   fishing hub. In Kodiak, as elsewhere in the state,  coasts, the state of our oceans is largely over-
   commissioners spoke with fishermen, scientists,   looked,” he said. “It was the devastation to
   and fishery managers. Kodiak’s docks are home    wildlife on the American plains that President
   to more than 700 trawl, longline, and crab ves-   Theodore Roosevelt witnessed during his ranch-
   sels. The city boasts world-class ocean research   ing and hunting days that inspired his own con-
   facilities and bustling canneries.          servation ethos. He realized then that we were
      In a meeting held at the Fishermen’s Hall,   pushing species beyond their ability to recover.
   commissioners learned that despite the wealth    While much of conservation is driven by well-
   of the seas, salmon fishermen were losing      founded moral considerations, we must not
   ground because they could not compete with      overlook the fact that we also conserve in order
   low-priced farmed salmon flooding the market.    to survive…. We are the stewards of tomorrow’s
   They also heard about the pros and cons of the    prosperity and security.”
   fishery management technique known as IFQs,        Rick Moonen, chef and owner of rm
   or individual fishing quotas. IFQs divide the    Restaurant in New York, came to the hearing
   total allowable catch and assign portions of it   straight from his kitchen, dressed in his white
   to individual fishing enterprises.          chef’s outfit. Moonen said that he is constantly
                             aware of the oceans. “As a chef, I make my liv-
                             ing out of selling seafood. Chefs work with the
   November 29, 2001                  product—fish, shellfish—every day. So, I notice
   Under the 96-foot-long blue whale in the       things. I don’t think of myself as an activist. I’m
   American Museum of Natural History’s Hall      just a businessperson looking into the future and
   of Ocean Life, the Commission met with        not liking the picture I see. We—chefs, con-
   more than 100 people. The interesting mix      sumers, fishermen, and policymakers—have a
   included fishermen from Long Island, authors,    responsibility to ensure that the seafood choices
   a chef, academics, environmentalists, and      we make today are the best ones for the ocean.”
   government officials.                   Bonnie Brady, executive director of the
      In New York, as elsewhere, local and      Long Island Commercial Fishing Association,
   regional issues regarding the oceans and       with two children in tow, urged the Commis-
   coasts were prominent in the news, as debate     sion to remember that, “Those working to
   continued over whether to require General      achieve sustainable fisheries should not leave
   Electric to remove PCB contaminants from the     out of the equation the fishermen and their
   Hudson River, which the U.S. Environmental      communities…and remember that humans are
   Protection Agency later ruled it must.        part of the environment.”
      In his testimony before the Commission,       Brady’s husband, Dave Aripotch,
   Theodore Roosevelt IV called upon all        works out of Montauk, Long Island, aboard
   Americans to extend our conservation ethic      his 70-foot dragger, Cory & Leah, and a 65-foot
   to the sea.                     dragger, Samantha & Mairead. “In our
      “With the possible exception of our      community, the commercial fishing community

is probably about 200 to 300 people, plus an
additional 200 to 300 people employed by the

                           Deb Antonini/Pew Oceans Commission
charter boat and recreational fishing industries.
We have every kind and size of boat you can
imagine: 12-foot clamming skiffs, 40- to 60-foot
inshore draggers, 50- to 60-foot longliners, and
65- to 90-foot offshore draggers. Commercial
fishing here is 24/7, fishing for flounder, fluke,
cod, haddock, whiting, squid, porgies, tilefish,                     Retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral Roger Rufe, president of The Ocean
                                             Conservancy, welcomes his fellow commissioners aboard the U.S. Coast
tuna, lobsters, clams, and more.”
                                             Guard cutter Katherine Walker during the Commission’s visit to New York.
   While in New York, commissioners
                                             the Gulf of Mexico,” she said. “But I am also
toured habitat restoration and waterfront
                                             concerned about the impact of nutrient pollu-
redevelopment projects along the New York and
                                             tion on the health of Iowa’s water resources.”
New Jersey shorelines. They visited the Fulton
                                                 In the marine pollution report he pre-
Fish Market—the nation’s largest wholesale
                                             pared for the Commission, Dr. Donald Boesch
seafood market—getting a glimpse of the scale
                                             of the University of Maryland found that nutri-
of the industry in this megalopolis.
                                             ents running off our farms and cities have
                                             emerged as the most widespread pollution
                                             problem for coastal waters. As these nutrients
December 10, 2001
                                             flow off our farm fields, lawns, and golf cours-
Des Moines is situated near the heart of the
                                             es to our coastal waters, they in effect “fertil-
Mississippi River watershed, which drains
                                             ize” the oceans, triggering a depletion of the
more than 40 percent of the continental
                                             oxygen and degradation of habitat that marine
United States into the Mississippi River and
                                             species need to survive. The result: dead zones
ultimately into the sea.
                                             where no life exists, including such a zone off
   It was appropriate, therefore, that this
                                             the mouth of the Mississippi River that has in
one-day hearing in Des Moines featured
                                             recent years grown as large as Massachusetts
presentations from agronomists and marine
                                             (Figure Two, page 22).
biologists as well as farmers and fishermen.
                                                 For the Commission, the Des Moines
Throughout the day, panelists and public com-
                                             hearing highlighted this problem of nutrient
mentators drew connections between farming
                                             pollution. The Mississippi—like the Hudson,
practices in the heartland and the health of
                                             the Susquehanna, the Columbia, and
our waters.
                                             America’s other great rivers—has become an
   Susan Heathcote of the Iowa
                                             expressway for nutrients and toxic substances
Environmental Council spoke to the
                                             bound for the sea.
Commission. “I am here because I am con-
                                                 Nancy Rabalais of the Louisiana
cerned about the impact that nutrient pollution
                                             Universities Marine Consortium pointed to
from Iowa and the upper Midwest is having on


    U.S. Coastal Dead Zones Associated with Human Activity
    Many coastal ecosystems around the United States have documented low levels of dissolved oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia. Often these hypoxic
    areas—also known as dead zones—are a result of both natural and anthropogenic events. The map below shows the distribution of dead zones in U.S. coastal
    waters that are associated with human activity.

    Dead zones are concentrated along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts because of the proximity of heavily populated areas and the intense agricultural practices that
    create the discharge of large quantities of nutrients into coastal waters. Warmer summer temperatures in these waters stratify the water column, a component
    in the development of hypoxia. Waters along the Pacific coast of the U.S. are not prone to stratification of the water column.

                                                The color-coded flags indicate the decade or year in which the hypoxic event was first discov-
                                                  ered (see map key). A location with more than one flag indicates it was identified as a
                        AN                             hypoxic area from data in more than one decade or year. The prevalence of multiple
                      CE                                events shows hypoxic conditions have not improved in any of our coastal and
                  IC                                       estuarine systems.


                                                                                 32 33
                                                                            25    30
                                                                                     34 35     36
                    3                                                       24
                                                                                28 29
                           4                                              21
                             6            8
                        5                                                     26 27
                                             11                                          N
                               G              10                   17                  E
                         M                                                     O
                               O      F                16
                           E      F
                               I                   13
                                 C                                                 Chronology of Hypoxic Events
                                                     15                               1970s
                                             14                                       1990s
      1  Hood Canal           10  Mobile Bay             19  Pamlico River          28  Barnegat Inlet         Scale varies in this perspective.
      2  Los Angeles Harbor       11  Perdido Bay             20  York River           29  New York Bight
      3  Corpus Christi Bay       12  St. Joseph Bay           21  Rappahannock River       30  Raritan Bay
      4  Texas Shelf, Shallow      13  Hillsborough Bay          22  Potomac River          31  New York City Harbor
      5  Texas Shelf, Deep        14  Florida Keys            23  Chesapeake Bay Mainstem     32  Flushing Bay
      6  Freeport            15  St. Lucie River           24  Townsend-Hereford Inlet     33  Hudson River
      7  Louisiana Shelf         16  St. Johns River           25  Delaware River         34  Long Island Sound
      8  Lake Pontchartrain       17  Cape Fear River           26  Great Egg Harbor River     35  Pettaquamscutt River
      9  Bon Secour Bay         18  Neuse River             27  Mullica River          36  Waquoit Bay

Source: Robert J. Diaz, College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science. This map is based solely on data from published scientific research.
Map: Jerome N. Cookson

                successful efforts to curb nutrient runoff in the                   proven successes of reducing nutrients, are rea-
                U.S. and around the world as reason to be                       sons enough for continued and expanded efforts
                hopeful. “The growing decline of coastal water                     to prevent excess nutrients from reaching the
                quality nationwide and globally, but also the                     sea,” Dr. Rabalais told the Commission.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA               to their home in Barataria, Louisiana, to talk
March 15, 2002                   with the Commission about the fishing industry.
Commissioners traveled to New Orleans and      They spoke about increased competition from
the mouth of the Mississippi River to consider   imported shrimp—much of it caught or farm
the pollution issues raised in Des Moines and    raised in countries lacking sufficient environ-
other issues facing the Gulf of Mexico and its   mental safeguards. They expressed frustration at
residents. About 75 people gathered in a      watching refrigerator trucks full of imported
Bourbon Street hotel, including members of     shrimp drive from the airport to local process-
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state politi-   ing plants, while they are unable to sell their
cians, scientists, environmentalists, shrimpers,  local catch. Others talked about the effects of
and recreational fishermen. The hearing coin-    the continued loss of wetlands, which serve as
cided with the release of a new report from     nurseries for many commercially important
the Governor’s Committee on the Future of      fisheries, as well as about the problems of pol-
Coastal Louisiana.                 lution and coastal development.
   King Milling, chair of that committee
and president of Whitney National Bank,       THE BIG PICTURE
spoke for many coastal residents when he      In addition to their regional meetings, members
addressed the Commission.              of the Pew Oceans Commission traveled to
   “The loss of Louisiana’s marshes will     Portland, Oregon, to study coastal development;
incrementally destroy the economy, culture,     held a fishery management workshop in Seattle,
ecology, and infrastructure, not to mention the   Washington; and hosted a workshop on ocean
corresponding tax base of this state and this    governance in Monterey, California.
region,” he said. “From an ecological and envi-      Commissioners attended conferences
ronmental point of view it is a clear disaster.   on marine aquaculture in San Diego,
The very existence of coastal towns and com-    California, and Providence, Rhode Island.
munities will be called into question. Many of   They met with hundreds of fishermen,
them will have to be abandoned. Jobs will be    including a public hearing with recreational
lost. Lives will be disrupted and, in many     fishermen at the International Game Fish
instances, placed at risk.”             Association Hall of Fame and Museum in
   The committee has called for a        Dania, Florida. All told, commissioners
$14 billion investment from state, federal,     spoke with thousands of scientists, fishermen,
and private sources to correct the runaway ero-   students and teachers, coastal residents,
sion of Louisiana’s coastline, exacerbated by the  businessmen and women, government offi-
Corps of Engineers’ efforts to tame the       cials, and countless others. They found an out-
Mississippi River.                 pouring of concern and a shared commitment
   Before the Commission’s hearing, shrimp    to restore, protect, and maintain the health of
fisherman Michael Roberts and his wife, Tracy    the oceans for the benefit of current and
Kuhns, invited several of their fellow fishermen  future generations.

                                    Part Two
                       A PUBLIC GOOD AT RISK

Cushion sea stars, Virgin Islands National Park, U.S. Virgin Islands
Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes
          Chapter Two
© Lou

                                        were established.
…laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the
                                           Not a system at all, U.S. ocean policy is a
progress of the human mind. As that becomes more
                                        hodgepodge of individual laws that has grown
developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are
                                        by accretion over the years, often in response to
made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions
                                        crisis. More than 140 federal laws pertain to the
change, with the change of circumstances, institutions
                                        oceans and coasts (Box One). Collectively these
must advance also to keep pace with the times.
                                        statutes involve at least six departments of the
                           Thomas Jefferson
                In a letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816
                                        federal government and dozens of federal
                                        agencies in the day-to-day management of our
          Dams in the Columbia River basin have
                                        ocean and coastal resources.
          devastated salmon populations in the Pacific;
                                           Authority over marine resources is
          fertilizer running off fields in the corn belt
                                        fragmented geographically as well. The
          has created a huge dead zone in the Gulf of
                                        Submerged Lands Act of 1953 gave most
          Mexico one thousand miles away; declines in
                                        states authority over submerged lands and
          sea otters lead to the loss of kelp forests. The
                                        overlying waters from the shoreline out three
          land is connected to the ocean and the oceans
                                        miles. Federal territorial sovereignty extends
          themselves are complex systems of interrelated
                                        12 miles offshore, and, consistent with the
          parts. Yet, we have approached them as though
                                        United Nations Convention on the Law of the
          they are collections of disconnected compo-
                                        Sea, the federal government controls ocean
          nents, problems, and opportunities.
                                        resources out 200 miles or more. This
             To govern the oceans for the long-term
                                        federal/state division of ocean jurisdiction
          public good, we need to manage with the
                                        makes it difficult to protect marine ecosystems
          entire ecosystem in mind, embracing the
                                        because it divides their management into a
          whole as well as the parts. The preeminent
                                        nearshore and an offshore component with
          goal of our ocean policy should be to pro-
                                        insufficient means or mandate to harmonize
          tect, maintain, and restore marine ecosys-
                                        the two.
          tems. To reach this goal, we must first under-
          stand the fundamental problems of today’s
          laws and programs.                      FAILING ECOSYSTEM, FAILED GOVERNANCE
                                        The plight of salmon in the Pacific Northwest
                                        illustrates the complex problems facing our
                                        oceans and coasts, as well as the problematic
          Governance is a reflection of the knowledge
                                        nature of our response. The Northwest’s
          and values of the society that creates it. Our
                                        Columbia River Basin was historically spawn-
          ocean governance needs updating to reflect
                                        ing ground for some 10 to 16 million salmon
          substantial changes in our knowledge of the
                                        that returned from the Pacific Ocean each year
          oceans and our values toward them since our
                                        to lay their eggs. But decades of damming,
          major ocean laws, policies, and institutions

BOX ONE                                                   Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes

                                  s The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) covers both
  Beginning 30 years ago, a formidable body of environmen-
  tal law was enacted in the United States to protect our air,   terrestrial and aquatic species. The ESA prohibits the killing,
  water, coastal zone, endangered species, marine mammals,     injury, or harassment of species that are in danger of extinc-
  and fisheries. According to a recent study by the Sea Grant   tion. It establishes a process through which the secretary of
  Law Center of the University of Mississippi (Sea Grant Law    the interior (generally for terrestrial and freshwater species
  Center, 2002), over 140 laws pertain to oceans and coasts.    and birds) or the secretary of commerce (generally for
  Forty-three of these (including three presidential proclama-   marine species) may designate species as endangered or
  tions) are considered major statutes.              threatened, triggering the protections of the act. The ESA
                                  also provides for the protection of habitat critical to the sur-
  Although our coasts and oceans would no doubt be in       vival of endangered species and requires federal agencies
  worse condition without them, environmental quality has     whose actions are likely to jeopardize a listed species to
  nonetheless deteriorated since enactment of these laws.     consult with the appropriate authority (either the
  They were intended to address specific issues, but collec-    Department of the Interior or the Department of
  tively fail to provide an overall governance framework to    Commerce) regarding alternatives to the proposed action.
  maintain the health of marine ecosystems.
                                  s The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 was enacted
  In addition to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which is dis-      in response to the public outcry over high dolphin mortality
  cussed in detail in Chapter 3, a number of the major laws    in the Pacific tuna fishery, the clubbing of baby seals, and the
  affecting our oceans are listed below.              commercial “fishery” for whales. It generally prohibits the
                                  killing or harassment of marine mammals in U.S. waters or
  s The Clean Water Act of 1972 (CWA) is the primary feder-    by U.S. citizens on the high seas. It provides for limited take
  al statute controlling water pollution by requiring, wherev-   of marine mammals for subsistence purposes by Alaska
  er attainable, that navigable waters of the United States be   Natives and for take incidental to other activities, such as
  made “fishable and swimmable.” The CWA dramatically       fishing. Its management and recovery actions focus on main-
  improved the nation’s water quality by providing for the     taining sustainable populations of marine mammals. The
  establishment of national water quality standards for pollu-   Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection
  tants, by requiring that polluters obtain and abide by the    Act, while effective at protecting many species, are stopgap
  terms of a pollution discharge permit, and by establishing    measures applied on a case-by-case basis that do little to
  baseline technology that must be used to treat discharges    address environmental factors critical to species’ survival.
  of pollutants.
                                  s The Ocean Dumping Act of 1972 was enacted to regulate
  s The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA)         the disposal of wastes in U.S. marine waters. It gives the
  established a voluntary program under which coastal       U.S. Environmental Protection Agency primary responsibili-
  states and territories could receive federal funding and     ty for regulating the disposal of wastes at sea, except for
  technical assistance to develop programs to manage        dredge spoils, which are controlled by the Army Corps of
  growth and development in coastal areas that is compati-     Engineers. The 1988 amendments to the act required a
  ble with protection of natural resources. The CZMA recog-    phaseout of the disposal of sewage sludge and industrial
  nized that good coastal management is in the national      wastes in the sea, a practice that ended in the early 1990s.
  interest. At the same time, its structure reflects the reality
                                  s The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 established strict liability for
  that the type of land-use planning required has traditional-
  ly been a state or local government function. An important    damages resulting from oil spills, broadened the categories
  feature of the CZMA is a provision requiring that federal    of compensable damages, increased civil penalties for
  actions likely to affect the coastal zone be consistent with   negligent discharges of oil, required measures to prevent
  a state’s coastal zone management plan.             oil spills, and required preparedness for oil-spill cleanup.
                                  The Exxon Valdez oil spill prompted passage of this act.

   hydropower production, habitat loss, and      of the vast dam and reservoir system of the
   overfishing have contributed to a 98 percent    260,000-square-mile river basin, it alone
   decline in wild salmon populations, including   cannot bring on board the local officials
   the extinction of Columbia River coho salmon.   whose land-use decisions are critical to the
   In the last decade, at least 12 major salmon    health of tributaries.
   and steelhead trout runs have been listed        During the period in which wild salmon
   under the Endangered Species Act (Koehler     have nearly vanished from the Columbia River
   and Blair, 2001).                 Basin, the Bonneville Power Administration,
      Concerned about the dwindling salmon,    under the Northwest Power Planning Council’s
   in 1980 Congress established the Northwest     guidance, has spent more than 3.5 billion
   Power Planning Council with the dual mission    dollars on salmon restoration. The fragmenta-
   of protecting the region’s fisheries and ensur-  tion of responsibility for planning, funding,
   ing an adequate power supply. The council     and implementing; the failure to establish firm
   consists of two members appointed by each of    restoration goals; the lack of legal and institu-
   the basin’s four state governors. There is no   tional mechanisms to ensure that restoration
   federal representative on the council. The     goals are achieved; and the failure to bring all
   council develops a regional fish and wildlife   relevant parties to the negotiating table have
   restoration program but is dependent on the    been major obstacles to salmon restoration in
   Bonneville Power Administration, a power      the Columbia River Basin.
   marketing agency, for restoration funding.
      Under this structure, the council—whose   GOVERNANCE THAT WORKS
   members are not required to have expertise     In its investigations, the Commission encoun-
   in salmon restoration—has often rejected the    tered a number of examples of governance
   recommendations of fisheries experts. Dam     that appear to be working. Successful efforts
   operators are only required to consider the    evolved where necessity and ingenuity com-
   council’s plans in dam operations, not to     bined to push people to reach out across tra-
   adhere to them. And ultimately the water      ditional jurisdictional lines, to form innovative
   agencies have often failed to implement      partnerships, and to address environmental
   elements of the programs that are approved.    issues comprehensively.
      In 1999, the council’s failure to halt the
   decline of Columbia basin salmon, highlighted   THE ATLANTIC STATES MARINE
   by the endangered status of many salmon      FISHERIES COMMISSION
   runs, led to the formation of a “Federal      Every spring, hundreds of thousands of horse-
   Caucus,” whose goal was to ensure that feder-   shoe crabs migrate from offshore onto the
   al agencies involved with salmon were work-    beaches of Delaware Bay to spawn, where
   ing together to improve compliance with the    each female may lay up to 80,000 eggs in the
   Endangered Species Act. While the caucus      sand. These nutritious eggs provide fuel for as
   may be able to improve the “fish-friendliness”   many as 1.5 million shorebirds that migrate to

nesting grounds in Canada. If the birds are
unable to gorge themselves on the eggs, they
may never complete their arduous flight north,
or they may be unable to successfully breed
once they arrive.
   By the mid-1990s, scientists began to
notice declines in horseshoe crab and shorebird
counts. It is estimated that the horseshoe crab
population in the Delaware Bay has been cut in
half, and counts on some spawning beaches are
down by 90 percent. Although man-made inlets    © Heather R. Davidson

and other shoreline alterations have probably
contributed to the problem, the decline in
horseshoe crabs coincided with a dramatic
increase in offshore trawling for the crabs used
                                      Chesapeake Bay produces about 40 percent of the nation’s blue crab harvest
as bait in other fisheries.
                                      but catches have declined in recent years.
   The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission (ASMFC) is an interstate body                  and parts of six states and is home to more
empowered by Congress to develop uniform                  than 15 million people. The Chesapeake Bay
management plans for fisheries that span state               is also home to more than 3,600 species of
boundaries and to coordinate with federal                 plants and animals. It is a major nesting
fisheries managers to ensure that interstate                ground along the Atlantic Flyway and yields
and federal fisheries management plans dove-                half a billion pounds of seafood each year,
tail to the maximum extent possible. The                  including about 40 percent the U.S. blue crab
ASMFC compact has a powerful compliance                  harvest. However, the bay is in trouble and
mechanism that allows federal intervention                 has been for some time.
under certain conditions to enforce an inter-                   Seagrass beds that provide nursery and
state plan. In 2001, the ASMFC broke new                  foraging areas for a variety of species cover lit-
ground in ecosystem-based fisheries manage-                tle more than 10 percent of their historic area.
ment by limiting the harvest of horseshoe                 Water clarity, which is important for seagrass
crabs out of concern for the impact of the fish-              recovery, is fair to poor in most of the lower
ery on shorebirds that depend on the crabs’                bay. Water oxygen levels remain too low in
eggs during their migrations.                       many areas to support much life. The oyster
                                      population is only about one percent of its
                                      historic level. The decline of oysters partly
The Chesapeake Bay is the United States’                  explains the loss of water quality: oysters feed
largest estuary. Its 64,000-square-mile water-               by filtering microscopic plants called phyto-
shed encompasses the District of Columbia                 plankton from the water. Before their decline,

   oysters may have been able to clean the entire   and shorelines, as well as millions of acres of
   volume of water in the Chesapeake Bay every     seagrass beds. These habitats provide food and
   few days (Newell, 1988). The blue crab popu-    shelter for a variety of ecologically, commercial-
   lation declined precipitously in the early     ly, and recreationally important species.
   1970s but seemed to rebound in the 1980s.         By the late 1980s, the strain of competing
   The recent trend is again downward.         uses on the Florida Keys’ marine environment
      Concerned with declining water quality    was evident. Live coral cover was decreasing
   and dramatic die-offs of seagrasses, Congress,   and reefs in the northern half of the tract were
   in 1983, established the Chesapeake Bay       increasingly overgrown by algae. In addition,
   Program, whose efforts to reduce nutrient      severe water quality problems in Florida Bay,
   pollution and restore critical habitats through   mainly related to human-induced changes in
   a watershed approach have become a model      the water flowing from the Everglades, were
   studied and emulated worldwide. This volun-     devastating seagrass beds. Although physical
   tary, cooperative effort among the states com-   damage to coral by boats and treasure salvors
   prising the bay’s watershed and the federal     had long been a concern, several high-profile
   government set clear, ambitious goals for      ship groundings on the reefs galvanized efforts
   restoration. Although the program has not      in Congress to protect the Keys, culminating
   achieved all of its numerical targets, pollution  with the designation of a 2,800-square-nautical-
   has been reduced substantially in the face of    mile area of the ocean surrounding the Keys as
   dramatic population growth—and its accom-      a national marine sanctuary in 1990.
   panying development—in the region. A recent        The Florida Keys National Marine
   revision to the program included targets for    Sanctuary has substantially improved gover-
   habitat protection and reduction of the rate of   nance of the marine ecosystems of the Keys
   land conversion, thus incorporating land use    through the use of ocean zoning. This program
   into the watershed equation.            relies on cooperation and coordination among
                             federal and state agencies, involves stakeholders
                             at all stages of the management process, prac-
                             tices adaptive and science-based management,
   The reef tract of the Florida Keys is the largest  provides opportunities for a variety of human
   coral reef within the continental United States   activities consistent with conservation goals,
   and is the third largest coral reef on the plan-  and protects core conservation areas from all
   et. It comprises a 220-mile arc of nearly con-   extractive or disruptive human activities.
   tinuous reef parallel to the Atlantic shore of
   the Florida Keys, supporting more than 400     LESSONS FROM THE LAND
   species of fish, nearly 40 species of sponges,   The failure to conceive of the oceans as the
   and more than 80 species of echinoderms.      largest component of our public domain, to be
      In addition to the well-known reefs, the   managed holistically for the greater public good
   Florida Keys contain extensive mangrove islands   in perpetuity, is perhaps the greatest flaw of U.S.

BOX TWO                                                                                        Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes

                       MARINE RESERVES

                                                                        Human activities and natural phenomena constantly
                                                                        disturb ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems are resilient, in
                                                                        that they are able to resist and recover from change
                                                                        following a disturbance. Marine reserves increase
 Kip F. Evans/National Geographic Society

                                                                        ecosystem resilience by protecting a portion of the
                                                                        ecosystem, providing marine habitats and species a safe
                                                                        haven in which to flourish.

                                                                        Protecting a variety of marine habitats within a network of
                                                                        reserves is vital to protect sea life that moves from one
                                                                        habitat to another during different life stages. A network of
                                                                        marine reserves is important to ensure the persistence of
                       A coral reef biologist counts fish in the                             individual reserves by providing connectivity among them.
                       Dry Tortugas Ecological Reserve.
                                                                        Connectivity and linkages ensure larval dispersal and juve-
                   The area of the ocean under U.S. jurisdiction protected in                        nile and adult migration to surrounding reserves.
                   marine reserves—where all extractive and disruptive activi-
                   ties are prohibited—is a small fraction of one percent. As a                       A wide range of choices exists for reserve design and
                   comparison, 4.6 percent of the land area of the United                          placement. Advances in mapping, remote sensing, and
                   States is protected as wilderness.                                    geographic information systems expand the ability of deci-
                                                                        sion-makers and the public to compare alternatives. Fine-
                   Although protecting areas on land has been a well-accept-                                          scale ocean monitoring
                   ed conservation practice for more than a century, reserves                                         and new research tech-
                   are a relatively new approach to marine conservation. Re-                                          niques that track move-
                   serves can improve our scientific understanding of marine                                          ment of key species
                                                   Kip F. Evans/National Geographic Society

                   ecosystems and provide enriched opportunities for nonde-                                          enhance our ability to
                   structive human activities and education. Recent scientific                                         evaluate the health of
                   studies document that marine reserves can be effective in:                                         marine ecosystems.
                                                                                         These techniques and
                   s restoring ecosystems and enhancing populations by                                             technologies provide
                   increasing abundance, diversity, and productivity of marine                                         flexibility in choosing
                   organisms within reserve boundaries (Figure One, page 34);                                         sites that balance social,
                   s protecting the structure and functioning of marine                                            economic, and biological
                                                                        Superintendent of the Florida
                   ecosystems and habitats;                                                          considerations, and allow
                                                                        Keys National Marine Sanctuary
                   s replenishing adjacent areas via spillover (dispersal of                                          for effective management
                                                                        Billy Causey prepares to dive in
                   juveniles and adults to adjacent areas) and larval export.                                         and evaluation.
                                                                        the Tortugas Ecological Reserve.

                   ocean policy. America’s oceans span nearly 4.5    behalf of all citizens of the United States.
                   million square miles, an area 23 percent larger        Our nation’s stewardship of the land,
                   than the nation’s land area. It is a vast three-   though flawed in practice, nonetheless offers
                   dimensional place over which our federal and     useful insights for improving ocean gover-
                   state governments exercise jurisdiction on      nance. To minimize conflicts among public

                           FIG. ONE
                          Marine Reserves Increase Fish Biomass                                     management procedures.
                          Around the world, marine reserves have demonstrated the ability to increase fish bio-
                                                                                    Although the organic legislation guiding
                          mass inside their borders. In most reserves studied, fish biomass doubled within five
                          years. The larger fish found within reserves also produce more eggs. For example, ling
                                                                                 our public lands is flawed, these laws at least
                          cod within a reserve in Washington State produced 20 times more eggs per unit area
                          than cod outside the reserve (Palumbi, 2003).                                 provide a framework within which the cumula-
                                                                                 tive effects of all uses of public lands can be
Map: Jerome N. Cookson; Art: John Michael Yanson

                                                                                 assessed, coordinated, and managed. For
                                                          Red Sea
                                                                                 example, the National Forest Management Act
                                                          +20%          Philippines
                                                                                 requires the federal government to develop
                                                             +800%            New
                                                                                 comprehensive forest management plans on a
                                                                                 regional basis that take into account the wide
                                                                                 variety of uses and benefits, including biologi-
                                      +496%                Africa
                                                                                 cal diversity, of our national forests. Although
                                                                                 these plans vary widely in their attention to
                                                                                 biological diversity, this law has improved
                          Source: Data are from 32 studies summarized by Halpern (2003) that were published in peer-reviewed journals.

                                                                                 forest management overall by establishing a
                                       and private uses of land, there is a well-estab-                   clear, practicable methodology for assessing
                                       lished and detailed system of zoning on land.                    and managing forest diversity on the ground
                                       Used properly, zoning spatially segregates                      where it counts.
                                       incompatible uses while providing predictabil-
                                       ity to landowners about acceptable land uses                     DEFINING ECOSYSTEM HEALTH
                                       within an area. In addition, we have created a                    To successfully protect ecosystem health, we
                                       world-renowned system of public parks and                      must be able to give the concept meaning in
                                       wilderness areas to preserve the benefits of                     the real world. Extensive review of existing
                                       nature for future generations. With few excep-                    organic legislation for our public lands has
                                       tions, society has not extended these protec-                    shown that a major failing has been the lack
                                       tions to the sea (Box Two, page 31).                         of clear standards against which management
                                            At a workshop in Monterey, California,                   actions can be measured. Ecosystem health is
                                       the Commission reviewed our nation’s experi-                     the standard against which actions should be
                                       ence in managing our parks, national forests,                    measured. The Commission believes that pro-
                                       and other public lands for possible ocean gov-                    tecting, maintaining, and—where appropri-
                                       ernance models. All the major land compo-                      ate—restoring that health should be given pri-
                                       nents of the public domain—the National Park                     ority as multiple, and sometimes competing,
                                       System, the National Wildlife Refuge System,                     uses are weighed.
                                       the National Forest System, and the public                         Given the variability among ecosystems,
                                       lands management by the Bureau of Land                        the inherent variability within a single ecosys-
                                       Management—have “organic acts” guiding                        tem, and our incomplete knowledge of their
                                       their management. An organic act establishes                     structure, functioning, and history, it is not
                                       the purposes of the system, its goals, and its                    possible to write a single definition that speci-

fies the elusive state of health for all ecosys-  and resilient marine ecosystems, coastal
tems. However, we do know that certain char-    economies and entire industries would be
acteristics are indicative of ecosystem health—   decimated and our quality of life would be
number of species, populations of major       immeasurably harmed.
species, habitat composition, and water quali-
ty, for example. With the help of marine scien-   SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
tists, the parameters and the range of their val-  1. Enact a National Ocean
ues that are indicative of a healthy state for   Policy Act (NOPA).
each marine ecosystem can be established.      Congress should enact a National Ocean Policy
   This approach has not been widely used    Act requiring federal, state, and territorial agen-
in the oceans, but precedent exists on land. To   cies to protect, maintain, and restore marine
implement the National Forest Management      and coastal ecosystems, and reorienting nation-
Act, the U.S. Forest Service has established    al and regional decision-making bodies to these
detailed procedures for identifying and monitor-  ends. This legislation should provide clear and
ing indicators of ecosystem health for each     measurable goals and standards to govern activ-
management region. The forest service focuses    ities affecting the oceans, establish mechanisms
mainly on maintaining “viable populations” of    to ensure compliance with the national policy,
indicator species (whose well-being is consid-   and establish national and regional institutions
ered indicative of overall ecosystem health). In  capable of carrying out that policy.
the oceans, this approach could be expanded to
include other environmental quality parameters,   2. Establish regional ocean
bringing the essential task of ecosystem-based   ecosystem councils.
management within practical reach.         As part of the National Ocean Policy Act,
                          Congress should establish regional ocean
                          ecosystem councils consisting of appropriate
                          federal, state, and tribal representatives. These
Once considered inexhaustible, the fish and     councils should be charged with developing
other living resources of the sea are succumb-   and overseeing implementation of enforceable
ing to the onslaught of our numbers and our     regional ocean governance plans to carry out
technology. But change is coming in the way     the national policy to protect, maintain, and
we use our oceans, if only because the oceans    restore marine ecosystems. To be enforceable,
are changing in response to our actions.      plans must include performance goals and indi-
   To be effective, ocean governance must    cators, must be binding on all parties, and must
break the cycle of unsustainable marine       meet federal standards established under the
resource use by making the shift to long-term    National Ocean Policy Act. The geographic
economic and environmental thinking.        extent of authority for each regional ocean
Maintaining the health of marine ecosystems     council should be specified by statute. Each
is in our national interest. Without productive   regional ocean council should establish perma-

   nent advisory committees to obtain the views    s Chesapeake Bay Program and the National
   and advice of fishermen, scientists, environmen-   Estuaries Program of the Environmental
   tal organizations, local government, the public,   Protection Agency;
   and others with an interest in ocean resources.  s aquaculture programs for marine species
      The regional ocean ecosystem          from the Department of Agriculture;
   councils should utilize ocean zoning to      s shoreline protection and estuarine restoration
   improve marine resource conservation,         activities of the Army Corps of Engineers.
   actively plan ocean use, and reduce user
   conflicts. Ocean zoning should allow for the       The national oceans agency will be
   protection of key habitats or resources while   responsible for ensuring compliance with the
   facilitating a variety of human activities.    National Ocean Policy Act, chairing the
                            regional ocean ecosystem councils, providing
   3. Establish a national              technical and financial assistance to the coun-
   system of marine reserves.             cils, and reviewing and approving regional
   Congress should enact legislation mandating the  ocean governance plans.
   establishment of a national system of marine
   reserves to protect marine ecosystems, preserve  5. Establish a permanent
   our national ocean treasures, and create a lega-  interagency oceans council.
   cy for our children. Congress should authorize   Congress should enact legislation establishing
   regional ocean ecosystem councils to create    a permanent national ocean policy council
   marine reserves within the areas of their juris-  within the Executive Office of the President.
   diction but should itself take action to protect  The head of the national oceans agency
   areas of national significance.          should chair the national council. Its
                            membership should be specified by law to
   4. Establish an independent            include the heads of federal departments or
   national oceans agency.              agencies whose activities have a significant
   Congress should establish an independent      effect on the oceans. Council duties would
   agency outside the Department of Commerce     include coordinating and overseeing agency
   to address the national interest in the oceans   implementation of the National Ocean Policy
   and atmosphere. This agency should consoli-    Act, resolving interagency disputes regarding
   date under one roof as many federal ocean     NOPA implementation, and coordinating and
   programs as is practical. At a minimum, the    certifying agency ocean budgets to address the
   agency should consist of the programs of the    national ocean policy. To assist the President
   s current National Oceanic and Atmospheric     and the national ocean policy council in
    Administration as well as the ocean miner-   carrying out NOPA, a position of national
    als, marine mammal, and seabird programs    oceans adviser should be established within
    of the Department of the Interior;       the Executive Office of the President.

Chapter Three
                                           Lobster buoys in York, Maine
                                            Deb Antonini/Pew Oceans Commission

From Moby Dick to The Perfect Storm, the          Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
drama and the lore of fishermen’s lives is              Why, as men do a-land: the great ones
embedded in America’s consciousness, and its                     eat up the little ones.
place is well deserved. Fishing is our oldest    William Shakespeare
                          Pericles, Act 2, Scene 1
industry and has been a way of life since Native
Americans first lived along our prolific coasts.
The fishermen’s heritage has enriched the social,  and hikers value land-based wildlife, divers,
cultural, and economic life of our nation.     snorkelers, and whale-watchers are passionate
   Fishing figures prominently in both the    about oceanic wildlife. These nature lovers
national and regional economies. Commercial     are the heart of a large and growing marine
fishing is a multibillion-dollar industry tightly  ecotourism industry.
connected to the global economy. In 2001, the       The multidimensional uses of our
domestic commercial seafood industry con-      marine wildlife reveal a national public inter-
tributed 28.6 billion dollars to the U.S. gross   est in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems.
national product and American consumers ate
an average of 15.2 pounds of seafood per per-    THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM
son (NMFS, 2002a). Fishing is the number one    Many of those ecosystems and the fishing her-
employer in Alaska, which typically commands    itage they support are now at risk. As Theodore
close to half the total annual U.S. commercial   Roosevelt IV told the Commission (Roosevelt,
fish landings. Around the coasts, fishing is the  2001), “We may be seeing the last great buffalo
backbone of the economy and culture for       hunt taking place on the world’s seas.”
many coastal communities.                 The principal problem is that we catch
   Fishing-related activities grease the     too many fish, and far too quickly, for nature
engine of coastal tourism. Recent estimates     to replace. Currently, we know of 93 U.S. fish
indicate more than 17 million marine recre-     populations that are already overfished or that
ational fishers spend approximately 25 billion   are currently being fished at unsustainable
dollars per year on fishing-related activities   rates—nearly a third of the 304 fish popula-
and products (NRC, 1998). Recreational fish-    tions that scientists have assessed (NMFS,
ing is important to the economies of California   2002b). The majority of the already overfished
and the South Atlantic and Gulf coast regions,   populations are still being fished unsustain-
particularly Florida.                ably, frustrating rebuilding efforts. The status of
   Across the country, the Commission      another 655 populations, including 120 major
heard as well about a broader public interest    stocks (those with landings of at least 200,000
in wild fish populations. Just as bird-watchers   pounds of fish a year) is unknown (Dayton et

   al., 2002), and new assessments are expected    Bocaccio and canary rockfish are less than
   to show even more overfished populations in     10 percent of their historic numbers. Commonly
   need of rebuilding (NMFS, 1999; Figure One).    sold in restaurants as Pacific red snapper, bocac-
      In addition to overfishing, wasteful     cio was once the dominant rockfish species
   bycatch, the destruction of fish habitat, and    caught by commercial trawl fishers on the West
   fishing-induced changes in marine food webs     Coast. At the height of the fishery in the late
   are diminishing the ocean’s biodiversity and    1970s, more than 11,000 metric tons of bocac-
   altering marine ecosystems. Marine animals     cio were landed a year. By 2001, the catch had
   currently considered at risk of extinction     dropped to 214 metric tons. The 2002 stock
   include northern right whales, the Hawaiian     assessment recommends a catch of 0 to 20
   monk seal, the Pacific leatherback turtle, sev-   metric tons (MacCall and He, 2002). Biologists
   eral species of California abalone, and about    predict it will take 90 years or more for the
   82 marine fish populations in North America,    stock to recover if all fishing for bocaccio is
   including Atlantic salmon, bocaccio, and      halted, including those caught accidentally.
   barndoor skate (Dayton et al., 2002).           Even before the closure, the Secretary of
      Fishing has contributed to large changes   Commerce had declared the West Coast
   in coral-reef ecosystems in the Caribbean, and   groundfish fishery a “disaster,” leading
   to significant changes in community structure    Congress to appropriate 5 million dollars for
   in the ecosystems of the Bering Sea off Alaska,   assistance. Now the livelihoods of an estimat-
   Georges Bank off New England, Chesapeake      ed 1,200 to 1,800 commercial fishing-boat
   Bay, and elsewhere (NRC, 1999). The tragic     operators are in jeopardy. An untold number
   irony is that the benefits we so value from our   of recreational fishermen and charter boat
   fisheries depend on the very biodiversity and    operations will also be affected.
   ecosystem productivity that unsustainable fish-      The West Coast rockfish collapse is
   ing practices threaten.               reminiscent of earlier disasters: the collapses
                             of California’s Monterey-based sardine fishery
                             and New England’s cod population, both of
   In September 2002, West Coast fishermen faced    which are still struggling to recover. And prior
   a new reality when they learned that severe     to the cod debacle, Atlantic halibut were so
                             heavily overfished in the 19th century that
   restrictions would be placed on bottom fishing
   on much of the continental shelf from Canada    they have never recovered. Once thought
   to Mexico. The Pacific Fishery Management      impossible, we now know that we can push
   Council implemented the strictest regulations in  marine fish to the edge of extinction (Musick
   the history of West Coast fishing in a final-hour  et al., 2000).
   attempt to save rockfish.                 Of course, not every fishery ends in
      The status of four rockfish species drove   collapse. Although no region is immune to
   the decision: bocaccio, canary rockfish, dark-   problems, fisheries have generally fared better
   blotched rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish.     in Alaska, which takes a more conservative

Status of Marine Fish Stocks
The U.S. Department of Commerce listed 959 stocks in its 2001 Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries.
The data in the pie charts below are drawn from information in the annual report.

                                    *Major stocks are those with landings of at least 200,000 pounds.
                                    In 2001, 295 major stocks produced the majority of landings,
                                    totaling more than 8 billion pounds, compared with 9 million
                                    pounds from 664 minor stocks.

                                    Lucidity Information Design, LLC

BOX ONE                                                 Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes


   A small shark known as spiny dogfish is one of the     fallen 80 percent by 2000. Scientists realized that the
   most recent victims of unregulated fishing. Netted and   stock and the 8-million-dollar fishery it supported
   hooked in New England waters and off the mid-       were in imminent danger of collapse. It took anoth-
   Atlantic coast, most of the dogfish catch is exported to  er two years before the Secretary of Commerce
   Great Britain for fish and chips. Slow to reach sexual   implemented a plan to establish a significantly
   maturity, dogfish are very susceptible to overfishing.   reduced fishing quota and begin rebuilding the
                                overfished stock.
   For 10 years, the fishery operated without a Fishery
   Management Plan. Between 1987 and 1996, commer-      Alaska, California, and Maine—along with several
   cial fishing for spiny dogfish had increased catches    countries worldwide—have adopted emerging fishery
   nearly tenfold and recreational fishing increased     policies to prevent fisheries from operating without
   threefold. Because the industry targets females (they   management plans (see emerging fishery recommen-
   grow faster than males), the female population had     dation on pages 110–111 in Chapter 11).

       approach to fishing. For federal fisheries off     ery of Atlantic striped bass demonstrates what
       Alaska, a planning team of scientists recom-      can be achieved through aggressive single-
       mends acceptable catch levels to a Scientific     species management techniques. Bottom trawl
       and Statistical Committee, which reviews        closures to protect high-relief living habitat
       them and makes recommendations to the fish-      essential for juvenile red king crab were
       ery management council. The council allo-       instrumental in the 1990s recovery of the red
       cates this allowable catch among the fishery      king crab fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska (Ackley
       participants, and it has very rarely raised a     and Witherell, 1999). More recently, due to
       catch level above the scientists’ advice.       aggressive efforts in New England, cod stocks
          The San Francisco Bay herring fishery      are starting to show signs of rebuilding. Strict
       and the International Pacific Halibut         catch limits and other measures are allowing
       Commission are also frequently noted as more      summer flounder and scup to recover off the
       successful management models.             mid-Atlantic states.
       Unfortunately, experience reveals these exam-        Though the occasional recovery offers
       ples are the exception rather than the rule. All    hope, the Commission is convinced that we
       too often, it is not until overfishing has       must prevent overfishing in the first place.
       occurred that effective constraints on fishing     Scientists at a Commission workshop in Seattle
       are applied or, in some cases, that manage-      described new studies that suggest fish popula-
       ment plans are implemented at all (Box One).      tions are less resilient than once believed and
          In some cases, strict management and      that recovery of depleted populations may take
       favorable circumstances can allow fish popu-      longer than expected (Figure Two). One study
       lations to recover from overfishing. The recov-    analyzed 90 populations that declined 13 to

                            FIG. TWO
99 percent over a 15-year period. Fifteen years
                                      The Challenge of Rebuilding
after these initial declines, 12 percent of the
                                      Overfished Stocks
populations for which data was available had              0   25    50     75    100    125
                              TA R G E T
recovered but 40 percent had experienced no      BIOMASS (%)

recovery at all. All of the species that had fully
recovered were fish that mature quickly, such as    GULF OF MAINE
herring and sprat. Prized fish, such as cod and
haddock, had not recovered (Hutchings, 2000).
                            GEORGES BANK

The Bering Sea crab fleet now numbers
                            GEORGES BANK
around 250 boats, and many believe the fleet        HADDOCK

has up to five times the fishing power needed
to catch available crabs. As far back as 1991,     GULF OF MAINE
overcapacity had shortened the fishing season
for Bering Sea red king crab into a dangerous
seven-day scramble. Managers can have a dif-      GEORGES BANK
ficult time assuring that catches stay within
safe limits under these circumstances.
   This type of fishing fleet overcapacity       SOUTHERN
                            NEW ENGLAND
often goes hand in hand with overfishing. But      YELLOWTAIL

the situation is not merely one of “too many
boats chasing too few fish.” Excess fish-catch-        WITCH
ing capacity, or fishing power, is a combined
result of the number of boats, their size, and
                                                                Art: John Michael Yanson

their enhanced technology.
                           GEORGES BANK
   New technology has made it hard for fish       WINTER

to hide and has vastly increased fishing effi-
ciency. Geographic information systems and
other computer technology have increased our     Once abundant off New England’s coast, many groundfish have been
                           depleted and have only recently begun to rebuild under aggressive
ability to locate schools of fish we previously   conservation measures. Though their populations are on the rise,
                           many have a long way to go before they recover. The famed Georges
could not “see.” Boats today have larger,      Bank cod population, for instance, is estimated to be less than a third
                           of the size it was just 20 years ago. Most of the major New England
stronger, and heavier gear capable of fishing in
                           groundfish stocks are currently below their target population levels,
previously inaccessible areas. New rockhopper    and many are far from approaching the population abundance (target
                           biomass) that would support maximum sustainable yield.
gear and bigger roller gear allow bottom trawl
                           Source: NEFSC, 2002.
nets to hop, roll over, and crush complex bot-
                           Note: The eight species in this graph were selected from the NEFSC
tom habitat where previously gear would snag     report because they are the principal species listed in the NMFS 2001
                           Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries and the
and become damaged or lost. Our technology      species whose status is known.

   is simply outstripping natural obstacles and the  the high-valued stocks become depleted has
   ability of fish to replenish.           propped up commercial fishery landings,
      Even where fish populations appear to    masking the broader influence of fishing on
   be healthy, fleet overcapacity can weaken fish-  marine ecosystems.
   ermen’s social and economic situations.         This serial overfishing is related to a
   Accelerating competition for increasingly     phenomenon known as fishing down the food
   scarce resources produces chronic economic     web. Large-bodied, top carnivore species such
   instability and lowers fishermen’s net incomes.  as tuna, swordfish, salmon, and many sharks,
   This can lead to severe conflict in the alloca-  are prime targets for fisheries. Serious deple-
   tion process and continuous pressure to      tion of their populations is thought to destabi-
   increase allowable catches. Excess fleet      lize the rest of marine food webs, and, thus,
   capacity can also generate a dangerous and     entire ecosystems. Further disruption is likely
   environmentally damaging race for fish, which   when depletion of these top carnivore species
   weakens regulatory efforts.            results in fishing down the food web (i.e.,
      Because access to fisheries has largely   intense fishing pressure shifting to mid-trophic
   been free and open and the government has     and finally low-trophic species). This phenom-
   subsidized the development of a domestic      enon causes additional disruption as succes-
   fishing fleet, the amount of capital and labor   sively more and more of the ecological checks
   in many U.S. fisheries exceeds that needed to   and balances in a system are removed.
   take ecologically sustainable catches and pro-      The consequences of this disruption can
   vide economically viable fishing operations    be severe. Diversified food webs with suffi-
   for many fishermen. The economic system      cient population sizes at all trophic levels
   supporting fishermen is only as strong as the   allow predators to switch among prey as the
   ecosystem supporting fish.             abundance and mix of species in a system
                            naturally fluctuates. Overfishing of top-trophic
                            species and subsequently mid- and low-troph-
   The decline of one fish population often trig-   ic species removes this natural benefit of bio-
   gers the development of fisheries for new     diversity by gradually disrupting and truncat-
   species. Fishermen in New Hampshire told the    ing trophic relationships. This leads to unpre-
   Commission about how the government        dictable changes, such as increased disease
   encouraged them to direct their fishing effort   outbreaks and the proliferation of previously
   to new stocks such as spiny dogfish—previ-     suppressed pests and weedy species. Thus,
   ously considered a low-value “trash” fish—     fishing down the food web may hinder
   after highly prized cod, haddock, and yellow-   recovery of depleted populations even after
   tail flounder stocks were overfished. Ten years  recovery plans are in place (Pauly et al., 1998;
   of largely unregulated fishing then overfished   Pauly et al., 2002).
   spiny dogfish. Shifts to fishing new, usually      Serial overfishing and fishing down the
   low-valued species, such as spiny dogfish, as   food web reduce the populations and sustain-

               FIG. THREE
              Fishing directly affects the abundance of marine fish populations (harvest mortality) as well as the age of maturity, size structure, sex ratio, and
              genetic makeup of those populations. Fishing affects marine biodiversity and ecosystems indirectly through bycatch, habitat degradation, and
              through biological interactions (incidental mortality). Through these unintended ecological consequences, fishing can contribute to altered ecosys-
              tem structure and function. As commercially valuable populations of fish decline, people begin fishing down the food web, which results in a
              decline in the mean trophic level of the world catch.

              Ecosystem Overfishing

                                              PHYSICAL IMPACT           •Economic discards
                                              OF FISHING GEAR           •Regulator y discards
                                                                •Collateral mor tality

                  HARVEST                                        INCIDENTAL
                 MORTALITY                                        MORTALITY

                                                Habitat             Discarded
                                               Modification or         Bycatch and Of fal

                                                              E IN
                                                                   N    TROP
                                                                            HIC LE
                                            BIOLOGICAL INTERACTIONS
                                           •Predator-prey interactions
                                           •Competitive interactions
                                           •Changes in marine food webs
Art: John Michael Yanson

                                      ALTERED ECOSYSTEM STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION

              Source: Adapted from Pauly et al., 1998; Goñi, 2000.

              ability of entire assemblages of fish popula-             the same fish. Scientists attending the
              tions—not just a few economically valuable               Commission’s fishery management workshop
              populations. Together, they can cause major              in Seattle, Washington, reported that these
              ecosystem disruption (Figure Three).                  types of competitive interactions are poorly
                                                 accounted for in current management regimes
                                                 (POC, 2002).
              Fishing affects marine wildlife other than                   At the Commission’s public hearing in
              targeted fish in a variety of ways. Humans               Alaska, citizens described how litigation drove
              share the oceans and the fish with marine               changes in management to reduce the potential
              mammals, seabirds, and other wildlife. We               for competition between fisheries and Steller
              can often outcompete these animals for                 sea lions. Similar situations exist elsewhere. In

   New York, the Commission heard how public      species composition, abundance, diversity,
   pressure drove changes in the mid-Atlantic     and the productivity of associated marine life
   horseshoe crab fishery to ensure that migrating   (NRC, 2002; Auster, 2001; Watling, 2001).
   shorebirds would have enough horseshoe crab     Destruction of bottom habitat features used by
   eggs to consume.                  adults for foraging or spawning may also hin-
      Because U.S. fisheries depend on wild     der recovery of overfished populations (Koenig
   fish populations, they also rely on productive   et al., 2000).
   and resilient ecosystems to support those pop-      The total extent of habitat destruction by
   ulations. All marine wildlife has evolved and    fishing gear is unknown. However, we do
   adapted to coexist with competitors, as prey    know its extent is far greater and it occurs
   and predators in functioning ecological com-    more frequently than do most natural distur-
   munities. To thrive, wildlife also needs healthy  bances (reviewed in Dayton et al., 2002). A
   habitat for living space and adequate food     typical section of northern California’s seafloor
   resources on which to subsist and raise young.   is trawled an average of one and a half times
                             per year with other areas trawled as often as
                             three times per year. Areas of New England’s
   From rain forests to the Florida Everglades,    Georges Bank are trawled three to four times
   people are generally aware of the danger that    per year. Adverse effects caused by these prac-
   habitat loss poses to wildlife on land, where it  tices can be both chronic and cumulative,
   is a leading cause of extinction. Habitat loss is  leading to reductions in biodiversity with
   also a danger in the seas.             potentially broad adverse effects on ecosystem
      Fishing gears such as bottom trawls and    function (reviewed in Dayton et al., 2002).
   dredges can damage the physical structure of
   marine habitats as they scrape or plough the    BYCATCH
   seafloor. Three-dimensional structures built up   Bycatch also takes a toll on marine life and
   over centuries can be crumpled with the       ecosystems when fishermen accidentally catch,
   swipe of a dredge. Sponge reefs, oyster beds,    injure, and kill marine life they do not intend or
   and coral colonies—living reefs as well as     want to capture. Scientists estimate that fisher-
   forests of fossilized coral—are vulnerable. So,   men discard about 25 percent of what they
   too, are boulder fields and seamounts that     catch worldwide (reviewed in Dayton et al.,
   provide shelter for juvenile fish. Even the     2002; Figure Four). If the same discard rate
   ocean sediment, with its complex communi-      occurs in U.S. fisheries, some 2.3 billion
   ties of burrowing fish, worms, and other inver-   pounds of marine wildlife would have been
   tebrates, can be altered in ways that affect    tossed—injured or dead—back into the oceans
   marine ecosystems.                 in 2000. Leading experts say that bycatch is one
      As the Commission heard from a num-      of the most significant environmental and
   ber of scientists, mechanized harvesting that    economic problems affecting marine fisheries
   reduces habitat complexity can change        today (Hall et al., 2001; Hall, 1999).

                            FIG. FOUR
   Bycatch contributes to overfishing,
prolongs population recovery, and contributes
to conflict among user groups. As Chris                           H ARE DI
                                            F FIS     SC
                                          O           AR
Dorsett, formerly with the Gulf Restoration                                  DE

Network, explains, “Two of the most valuable

fisheries in the Gulf are always at each other’s

                                                           Y YE
                              2.3 BIL
throats because shrimp trawls catch too many

juvenile red snapper as bycatch. We could
stop all directed catches of red snapper tomor-
row and they still wouldn’t bounce back in the
near future unless juvenile mortality from
shrimp trawling is reduced significantly.” The

                                                 FIS E

Commission’s investigation led it to conclude                    O
                                          C A F TOTA L A R D
                                           T C H DI S C
that marine fisheries will remain on the tread-
mill of overexploitation until bycatch is
effectively limited.
   Bycatch is also a serious concern for
noncommercial marine wildlife. Dramatic
declines of leatherback sea turtles, blue mar-
lin, smalltooth sawfish, and the barndoor skate
suggest that, in extreme cases, bycatch may be   Art: John Michael Yanson

the leading reason a species is in jeopardy     Bycatch is the incidental catching, discarding, or damaging of living marine
                          resources when fishing for targeted species. Though there is no comprehen-
(reviewed in Dayton et al., 2002). Bycatch     sive estimate of bycatch in U.S. marine fisheries, globally it is estimated that
                          60 billion pounds of unwanted fish were discarded each year during the
poses the most significant threat to U.S. sea    1980s and early to mid-1990s—representing 25 percent of the world’s
                          catch. If that rate occurs in U.S. fisheries, then the total landings of 9.1 bil-
turtle populations, all six of which are either
                          lion pounds in 2000 would have been accompanied by about 2.3 billion
threatened or endangered (Hall, 1999; NRC,     pounds of discards (with a range of 1.7 billion to 3.3 billion pounds).
                          Because discards represent only a portion of the total bycatch, the total
1990). It has also seriously depleted a number   amount of life accidentally captured and killed in fishing operations could
                          exceed these discard estimates. Bycatch is a major factor in the significant
of marine mammal populations, such as dol-     decline of many marine mammal populations, most species of sea turtles,
                          several species of albatross, and several skates and rays.
phins in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean,
                          Source: Dayton et al., 2002.
and concern about its impact on seabirds is
increasing. Most harmful to seabirds are the    ty, and resilience of marine ecosystems on
effect of longline bycatch on albatrosses,     which economically valuable species and fish-
petrels, and shearwaters and the effect of gill   eries depend. Breaking the cycle of overfishing
nets on shearwaters and auks (reviewed in      requires a shift in perspective and manage-
Dayton et al., 2002)                ment techniques. Sustainable management of
   Together, the unintended consequences     wild capture fisheries will require incorporat-
of overfishing, bycatch, and habitat degrada-    ing and applying ecosystem principles in fish-
tion can alter the very biodiversity, productivi-  ery management (Box Two, page 44).

BOX TWO                                                Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes


   The need to shift to ecosystem-based management      be balanced between fish for human consumption and
   has become a common mantra within the last five      fish for the rest of the ecosystem;
                                s ecosystems are complex, adaptive systems.
   years (NRC, 1998), and it is often misunderstood.
   Ecosystem-based management does not require that
   we know everything about marine ecosystems or the     Ecosystem-based management requires that we
   effects of fishing upon those systems. It also does    reconsider what is meant by “overfishing.” We need
   not require that we know much more than we cur-      to get away from traditional, problematic maximum
   rently do, at least to start. Nor does it mean a whole-  sustainable yield and surplus-production models to
   sale and immediate abandoning of all single-species    consider the level of fishing that has detrimental
   management techniques.                  effects in the ecosystem, even though it may not have
                                an adverse effect on a particular target species
   Ecosystem-based management entails developing       (Murawski, 2000). Flexible, adaptive management that
   a new perspective that acknowledges and          incorporates new knowledge and provides some
   understands that                     level of insurance for unpredictable and uncontrol-
   s there are limits to our knowledge;           lable events embodies ecosystem-based manage-
   s marine ecosystems are inherently unpredictable;     ment. However, ecosystem-based management is not
   s ecosystems have functional, historical, and evolu-   a substitute for single-species management. Instead,
   tionary limits that constrain human exploitation;     it should be implemented to augment the best of
   s there is a fundamental trade-off in fishing that must  single-species management techniques.

       FRAYED NET OF GOVERNANCE               than sustaining natural systems that support
       In many ways, the crisis in marine fishery      and enhance wild fish populations. Although
       management is a crisis of governance. The       authority to sustain fishery resources exists
       Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and       within the law, it has been overwhelmed by
       Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) pro-      the drive to maximize catches. As a result, sin-
       vides the broadest articulation of American      gle-species management techniques, the
       marine fisheries policy and the basis of some     desire for short-term profits over sustainable
       aspects of state and interstate fishery manage-    long-term income, and advances in technolo-
       ment regimes. Originally crafted in 1976, the     gy have driven fishery conduct.
       law is based upon what we now understand to         Second, the management structure and
       be outdated principles. Though the law was      process suffer from regulatory capture, a state
       strengthened in 1996, underlying structural      of affairs in which government regulators (in
       and systemic problems remain.             this case, fisheries managers) have come to
          Three fundamental problems afflict the     believe that their role is to defend the interests
       Magnuson-Stevens Act. First, its management      of the regulated community rather than
       regime emphasizes short-term commodity pro-      promote the public interest. Resource users—
       duction, revenues, and employment rather       principally commercial interests—drive

management decisions. They exercise power                        The current system also relies on scientific
through eight regional fishery management                        uncertainty to justify risk-prone decisions
councils that were originally established to                       (Rosenberg et al., 1993; Hanna, 1998). Fishery
assure that management would be tailored to                       after fishery has foundered on the shoals of
regional differences and local needs. In prac-                      this approach.
tice, resource users dominate the councils’                           Today, productive ecosystems, and the
voting memberships.                                   fishing industries and communities that
   The law establishes the councils as the                      depend upon those ecosystems, are in a dan-
lead managers to formulate fishery-manage-                        gerous state of decline. Increased scientific
ment policy applicable to their region. In prac-                     understanding has revealed that fishing can
tice, councils make both conservation (How                        profoundly affect biodiversity and marine
much should be caught?) and allocation (Who                       ecosystems. This knowledge is shifting societal
gets to catch it?) decisions. This often leads to                    attitudes about exploitation of living marine
short-term allocation considerations overriding                     resources. An adjustment in the principles,
long-term conservation imperatives needed to                       laws, and institutions governing marine fish-
ensure a sustainable fishery. Thus, councils                       eries is required to reflect the needs and
avoid making tough decisions about limiting                       understanding of this new era.
who can fish and how much they can catch.
   The Commission’s investigation has iden-
tified no other publicly owned American natu-
ral resource managed through a process that
allows resource users to decide how much of
the public resource can be taken for private
benefit. In the majority of fisheries examined
by the Commission, this system has created
nearly insurmountable obstacles to managing
the resource for sustainable catches and for the
broad public benefit over the long term.
   Third, the law codified an open access,
laissez-faire approach. This fosters a reactive
                          Ron Niebrugge/

management philosophy that focuses more on
day-to-day fishing needs than on restoring and
maintaining sustainable resources for the
future. The emphasis on producing commer-
cial commodities overwhelms the kind of
management that would more effectively limit
the taking of commercial species and protect
                                             The oceans provide many benefits that cannot be easily measured,
noncommercial species and critical habitats.                       such as time spent between a parent and a child.

   TOWARD REFORM                                            The limited success of the SFA under-
   As conservation needs have become more                            scores the need for more far-reaching reform.
   apparent, the government has taken steps to                          The fact that restoring ecosystems and fish
   reform the law and its implementation. The                          populations could create tens of thousands of
   Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (SFA) amend-                        family-wage jobs and substantially boost our
   ed the Magnuson-Stevens Act, requiring actions                        coastal economy suggests such reform is well
   to stop overfishing, rebuild depleted popula-                         worth the effort. The National Marine Fisheries
   tions, minimize bycatch, and protect habitat                         Service (NMFS) estimates that the nation could
   from harmful fishing gear while minimizing eco-                        increase fish catches by 64 percent above
   nomic harm to fishing communities. However,                          recent yields—or an additional 6.9 billion
   the reforms neither clarified ambiguous, outdat-                       pounds per year—by restoring populations and
   ed management objectives nor lessened or                           natural systems. These increased annual catch-
   removed the problem of regulatory capture.                          es could add at least 1.3 billion dollars to the
   They also left in place the open access, laissez-                       U.S. economy (McCallum, pers. comm.). If we
   faire management presumption. Many of the                           want marine fish populations to continue to
   reforms that were passed have not yet been                          provide the ecological, social, cultural, and
   implemented, seven years after the fact.                           economic benefits we cherish, the U.S. must
                                                  chart a clearer course, reorder institutions, and
                                                  change the underlying incentives to protect
                                                  biodiversity and marine ecosystems.

                                                  SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
                                                  Congress should amend the Magnuson-
                                                  Stevens Act and other applicable fisheries laws
                                                  to codify the following recommendations as
                                                  national marine fishery policy:

                                                  1. Redefine the principal objective of
                                Dave Bjorn/Photo Resource Hawaii

                                                  American marine fishery policy to protect,
                                                  maintain, and restore marine ecosystems.
                                                  The principal objective of fishery management
                                                  should be to protect the long-term health and
                                                  viability of fisheries by protecting, maintain-
                                                  ing, and restoring the health, integrity, produc-
   An estimated 17 million marine recreational fishermen
                                                  tive capacity, and resilience of the marine
   across America, including these in Hawaii, depend on
   fish for subsistence and recreation. Altogether, they                     ecosystems upon which they depend. The
   spend approximately 25 billion dollars per year on fish-
                                                  objective should apply to all U.S. ocean
   ing-related activities and products (NRC, 1998).

waters. In cases of conflict between this     fisheries, such as bycatch and habitat dam-
objective and short-term social or economic    age, must be managed and mitigated as a
needs, or in cases where information is uncer-   condition of fishing. Before fishing begins,
tain or inconclusive, the need to protect,     the government should determine where and
maintain, and restore these features of marine   when the fishing shall occur, how much
ecosystems should always be the top priority.   exploitation is acceptable, and how the fish-
                          ing should be conducted. The government
2. Separate conservation and            should make these decisions only after con-
allocation decisions.               sidering how the entire ecosystem that sup-
There should be a clear separation between     ports the fishery—not just the target species—
conservation and allocation decisions in the    will be affected by fishing. For new fisheries,
fishery-management planning process. The pur-   this requires enactment of an emerging fish-
pose of this change is to assure that ecological  eries policy. Plan implementation should
sustainability takes precedence over short-term  incorporate comprehensive zoning to parti-
economic or political considerations.       tion planned areas into sections designated
Conservation and allocation decisions are     for specific uses.
discrete processes that require different
management skills and different types of      4. Regulate the use of fishing gear that
decision-making organizations. Conservation    is destructive to marine habitats.
decisions should be made by NMFS, or a       Fishing gear should be approved for use
revamped fishery service within a new national   subject to a zoning program. The program
oceans agency. They should be based upon      should designate specific areas for bottom
recommendations from regional science and     trawling and dredging if scientific information
technical teams composed of federal, state,    indicates that these activities can be conduct-
and academic scientists. Conservation deci-    ed without altering or destroying a significant
sions should precede and remain unchanged     amount of habitat or without reducing biodi-
by allocation decisions, with one exception:    versity. Zones not designated suitable for
allocation decision-makers may adopt more     these purposes should be closed to bottom
conservative policies than those set in the con-  trawling and dredging. Sensitive habitats as
servation planning process. Regional fishery    well as areas not currently trawled or dredged
councils should take the lead on allocation    should be closed to such use immediately.
decisions subject to final approval by NMFS.    Gear modification and conversion programs,
                          with funding provisions, should accompany
3. Implement ecosystem-based            the new zoning regime. Funding should also
planning and marine zoning.            be provided for research into possible ways to
Fishing should not proceed in the absence of    reduce habitat impacts of bottom trawls and
an approved plan. Core problems in existing    dredge gear.

        5. Require bycatch monitoring and                                Reduction Teams that is subject to
        management plans as a condition of fishing.                           statutory standards.
        Bycatch monitoring and minimization plans
        should be approved before the commence-                             6. Require comprehensive access and alloca-
        ment of fishing. The statutory goal of these                           tion planning as a condition of fishing.
        plans should be to reduce bycatch to levels                           Regional fishery councils should develop allo-
        approaching zero. Individual bycatch quotas                           cation plans, before the commencement of
        for valuable fish species (except threatened                           fishing, that limit access and allocate catch in
        and endangered species) appear to provide                            a manner consistent with conservation goals.
        the most rational approach to managing                              At a minimum, each plan should: (1) help
        toward that goal. Conservative catch quotas                           match the size of fishing fleets and their catch-
        should be set for species, accounting for                            ing capacity to the health of exploited popula-
        intended and unintended catch. Fishermen                             tions and their ecosystems; (2) manage fishing
        should be allowed to keep fish they catch                            effort with privileges, such as total allowable
        within conservative limits, rather than being                          catches, that control exploitation of fish popu-
        forced to discard and waste one species                             lations within ecologically safe limits; and (3)
        because they are in a target fishery for anoth-                         allocate privileges in a manner that properly
        er. A plan should be developed for each                             aligns incentives, allows for the orderly opera-
        fishery, using a stakeholder process modeled                           tion of a fishery (e.g., individual or community
        on the Marine Mammal Protection Act Take                             fishing-quota programs), and maintains flexi-
                                                        bility, resilience, and adaptability within the
                                                        industry and fishing communities.

                                                        7. Establish a permanent fishery conservation
                                                        and management trust fund.
                                                        A permanent trust fund for marine fisheries
                                                        should be available, without appropriation or
                                                        fiscal year limitation, solely for the purposes
                                                        of improving fishery research, data collection,
                                     © 2003 Norbert Wu/

                                                        management, and enforcement; for habitat
                                                        restoration; and—in the first 5 to 10 years of
                                                        operation—for transitional buyback and com-
                                                        munity-development programs. Potential rev-
                                                        enue sources include revenues generated by
                                                        royalty payments on landed catch (e.g., royalty
                                                        payments collected as part of an individual or
   A sea turtle is caught in a trawl net off the coast of Florida.
   Although steps have been taken to reduce mortality in the shrimp                      community fishing quota auction process) and
   fishery, accidental capture in fishing operations remains the most
                                                        fees collected from fines and other penalties.
   significant threat to U.S. sea turtle populations.

                        Chapter Four
                             PRESERVING OUR COASTS
                                                                               Miami Beach, Florida
                                                                           Cameron Davidson/Stock Connection

                        THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM                   In Louisiana, the issue is not whether we live on the
                        Throughout history, the coast—the place             coast. In a sense, everyone lives on the coast. For
                        where land and rivers meet the sea—has been          hundreds of years, we all have lived and worked on
                        an area of astounding biological abundance.           the fingers of rivers and bayous. In between those
                        Diverse and unique habitats and abundant fish             waterways has been the natural protection of
                        and other wildlife have graced our coasts.          swamp and marsh. The loss of this marsh will incre-
                        Even Americans who live far inland reap the            mentally destroy the economy, culture, ecology,
                        coasts’ benefits when they dine on succulent             and infrastructure of this state and this region.
                        saltwater fish or visit the ocean shores.           King Milling, President, Whitney National Bank
                                                       An excerpt from Mr. Milling’s testimony at the
                            In the United States today, our coasts
                                                       Pew Oceans Commission Public Hearing,
                        are deceptive in their beauty. Surface appear-        New Orleans, Louisiana, March 15, 2002

                        ances mask a crisis that extends from upper
                        watersheds to depleted offshore coral reefs.         of the nation’s land area. As a result, popula-
                        The problem, simply put, is that we are loving        tion density along the coasts is about five
                        our coasts to death.                     times the national average. The latest census
                            Today, more than half the population of        data indicate that this population
                        the United States lives in coastal counties.         will increase by another 20 percent by 2015
                        Yet, these counties comprise just 17 percent         (Beach, 2002), as some 3,600 people move
                                                                  to the coasts each day.
                                                                     Permanent residents
                                                                  are not the only source of
                                                                  pressure on coastal ecosys-
                                                                  tems, for the beach is a
                                                                  favorite destination.
                                                                  Tourism is the second largest
                                                                  contributor to the U.S. gross
© Streano & Havens/Stock Connection

                                                                  domestic product and coastal
                                                                  tourism and recreation
                                                                  account for 85 percent of all
                                                                  tourism revenue (NOAA,
                                                                  1999). In California alone,
                                                                  coastal tourism is valued at
                                                                  nearly 10 billion dollars
                   Coastal tourism and recreation account for 85 percent of all tourism revenue, which is
                                                                  annually, far exceeding the 6
                   the second largest contributor to the U.S. gross domestic product. Yet, the infrastructure
                   and services required to accommodate tourism can damage the environment that attracts
                                                                  billion dollars generated
                   visitors to the nation’s coasts.

    FIG. ONE

   Expansion of Metropolitan
   Coastal Areas
   Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology
   has recently made it possible to graphically depict
   the expansion of metropolitan areas.

   The developed “footprints” (burgundy) of many coastal
   regions are expanding faster than the national average.

   The metropolitan regions of New York City (below, left)

   and San Francisco (at right) experienced physical growth

   rates far in excess of population growth.

                                                          c o

                            Long Island

                            CO                                        Fra


                                      Long Island


                                              Long Island



                                                TIC                                     0   20 mi
                                             ATL EAN                                      0  20 km
                                  0      25 mi

                                  0   25 km

   Sources: NOAA, 2002; Map images for New York adapted from maps created by Craig Campbell, using
   data provided by a partnership of Regional Plan Association, the United States Geological Survey, and
   Cornell University. Source for San Francisco map images: United States Geological Survey.
   Art: John Michael Yanson
   Maps: Jerome N. Cookson

by port traffic and dwarfing the 550 million
dollars generated by the state’s fisheries and
                                           FIG. TWO
mariculture, or saltwater aquaculture (Wilson
                               The Rate of Land Development
and Wheeler, 1997).
                               and the Rate of Population Growth
   With these throngs comes new develop-          Land in the United States has been developed at more than twice the rate of
                               population growth since 1982. This increase is a result of a consistent decline in
ment, which increases demand for housing,           development densities over the past few decades. If this trend continues through
water, food, recreation, waste disposal, roads,        the year 2025, the nation will consume another 68 million acres of rural land—an
                               area the size of the state of Wyoming. The total developed land in the United States
and cars. All of this is polluting the water and       will reach 174 million acres by 2025—an area larger than the state of Texas.

air and endangering coastal habitats.
   Habitat destruction and the decline of
coastal water quality are the primary threats to
species with which we share the coastal envi-                                                                                Sources: Data and
                                                                                                      extrapolations from
ronment. Those threatened include many                                                                                   National Resources
                                                                                                      Inventory, 2000; U.S.
ecologically and economically impor-                                                                                    Census Bureau, 2000.

tant species, as well as rare and unique
habitats. Urban sprawl, for example,                                                              150


                                                                                  Ac res of Developed Lan d (m ill io n
contributed to the decline of 188 of                                                 LAN
                          U. S. Pop ulation (mill ion s)

                                                        S OF                     100
the 286 California species that are
                                                         U.S. POPU LATIO N
listed under the Endangered
                                          200                                    50

Species Act, making it the leading                         100

cause of species decline in that                                                                0
                                          1982  1987  1992   1997   2000   2005    2010  2015  2020  2025

state (Doyle et al., 2001).
   We are fundamentally changing
                          Art: John Michael Yanson
the natural ecosystems that attract us to the
coasts. In some areas, we have converted                          The population explosion on our coasts
expansive wetlands into cities, protected on       will continue. It is up to us to manage that
all sides by levees. In others, we have con-       development in ways that protect coastal
verted sand dunes into irrigated golf courses       ecosystems. If not, we will find ourselves
and subdivisions.                     impoverished, along with our coasts.
   The problem is not just one of popula-
tion; our patterns of land use amplify the        CHANGING LAND USE PATTERNS
effects of population growth on coastal          In the decades following World War II,
ecosystems. In addition, government agencies       Americans fled crowded inner cities in record
and programs have engaged in environmen-         numbers. Between 1950 and 1990, the urban
tally harmful development in coastal water-        population of the United States grew by about
sheds for decades.                    15 percent and the rural population decreased

   slightly, while the suburban population more
   than tripled (Diamond and Noonan, 1996).
                                    FIG. THREE
   During this period, affordable automobiles,
   cheap gasoline, and a rapidly expanding and
                                            Increases in Vehicle Miles
   heavily subsidized road system allowed—for
                                            Outstrip Increases
   the first time—large numbers of people to live
                                            in Population
   miles from where they worked.
      In many ways, the coasts led these                     The number of miles Americans have
                                            driven annually over the past 20
   changes. Coastal development extends from
                                            years has increased at four
   the floodplains of rivers and estuaries to barri-                 times the rate of population
                                            growth. Suburban development
   er islands. Fourteen of the nation’s 20 largest                  patterns have contributed
                                    2,000     to this trend.
   cities and 19 of the 20 most densely populat-

                             x 1 Million

   ed counties lie along the coast. Furthermore,           1,500

   the rate of land consumption in many of these

   major metropolitan areas is four or more times                                              e
   the population growth rate (Figure One, page

                                                                                         Art: John Michael Yanson

   50). If nationwide land development trends                            U.S . Pop ula tion Gr owt h
   continue, by 2025 we can expect an addition-










   al 68 million acres—an area of land roughly
   the size of Wyoming—to be converted to resi-
                             Source: Adapted from Beach, 2003. Compiled by Michelle Garland, Surface Transportation
   dential and commercial use (Beach, 2002;      Policy Project; Federal Highway Administration, Office of Highway Information
                             Management. Highway Statistics Summary to 1995; Federal Highway Administration, Office
   Figure Two, page 51). Most of this growth will   of Highway Information Management. Highway Statistics Series, 1995 to 1999; Federal
   occur along our coasts.               Highway Administration, Office of Highway Information Management. Traffic Volume
                             Trends, December 2000; United States Census Bureau. Historical National Population
      Sprawl—low density, automobile-        Estimates: July 1, 1900 to July 1, 1999; United States Census Bureau. Monthly Population
                             Estimates, 1990 to 2000.
   dependent development that separates
   residential areas from jobs, goods, and services  basic goods and services, sprawl gobbles up
   —has become the predominant pattern of       land and exacerbates traffic and pollution.
   urban development in the United States. This              Since 1960, the number of vehicle miles
   approach to development is, by definition,     traveled by Americans has more than tripled
   inefficient in its use of land. The use of zoning  (NRDC, 2001; Figure Three). As a result, vehi-
   ordinances to mandate large lot size and to     cle exhaust is contributing a growing share of
   separate residential development from com-     the total air pollution. We now know that
   mercial areas was intended to protect home-     atmospheric deposition—air pollution that
   owners from the kind of crowding and pollu-     eventually settles down on land or water—is a
   tion that originally drove people from the     major source of nitrogen pollution in our
   inner cities. But by spreading out development   nation’s waterways. This is particularly a prob-
   and separating residents from even the most     lem along the Atlantic seaboard and in the

                                                         contributed to billions of dollars
                                                         worth of real estate development
                                                         in high-risk and environmentally
                                                         fragile coastal areas. Low-cost
                                                         federal flood insurance has sub-
                                                         stantially reduced the financial
                                                         risk of this development, and
                                                         government-financed flood con-
                                                         trol, beach restoration, and
                                                         shoreline hardening projects
                                                         have created a false sense of
                                                         security for residents in these
                                                         low-lying areas.
                                                            Government projects have
                                                         dramatically altered our rivers
                                                         and coastal waterways. These
                                                         often-massive efforts spur devel-
                                                         opment while paying scant atten-
                                                         tion to environmental conse-
                                                         quences. The economic benefits
Cameron Davidson/Stock Connection

                                                         they have provided—particularly
                                                         to agriculture and shipping—
                                                         come at a high ecological price
                                                         (Box One, page 54). Habitats,
                                                         species, and whole ecosystems
                                                         are threatened by the elimination
                                                         of wetlands, the channelization
                  Intensive beachfront development destroys wildlife habitat, impairs water
                  quality, and reduces the ability of barrier islands to protect the mainland  and damming of rivers, and the
                  from storms and flooding.
                                                         stabilization of inherently unsta-
               Mississippi River watershed, where high rain-            ble beaches and barrier islands.
               fall combines with air pollution to exacerbate               These changes have not been random.
               atmospheric deposition (Puckett, 1994).               The Army Corps of Engineers, established in
                                                 1779, is the nation’s main water resources
                                                 management agency. It is responsible for
               Substantial growth in many American’s personal           building and maintaining more than 1,500
               wealth, combined with cheap flood insurance             federal water projects. These include the
               and a period of relatively few hurricanes, have           construction and maintenance of more than

BOX ONE                                                      Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes


   Louisiana is gripped by a major crisis brought on by      floodwaters and exacerbate erosion and saltwater
   decades of misguided development of our land and        intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico. Navigation chan-
   waters. Due to channels and levees constructed by the      nels that crisscross the region also contribute to
   Army Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi itself now       large-scale erosion of the delta. Thus, the delta has
   flows more like a ditch than a river, shunting fertilizers   lost more than 1,000 square miles since 1950, and
   and pesticides downstream. One result is a low-         continues to lose 25 to 35 square miles per year. If
   oxygen dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico off the         current loss rates continue, more than 630,000 acres
   mouth of the Mississippi that can span more than        of Louisiana wetlands will be converted to open
   8,000 square miles of coastal ocean. The zone is        water by 2050.
   caused by excess nutrients—mostly nitrogen—that
   drain into the ocean from agricultural lands along       The Commission heard testimony about this crisis at
   the Mississippi River. As they sink and decay on        a public hearing in New Orleans. Following are
   the bottom, algal blooms resulting from the excess       excerpts from the testimony of King Milling,
   nutrients drain oxygen from the Gulf waters.          President of the Whitney National Bank, New
                                   Orleans, and chair of the governor-appointed
   The extensive channel and levee system along the        Committee on the Future of Coastal Louisiana.
   Mississippi blocks sediments formerly supplied by

   Louisiana, the Mississippi Delta, and the Gulf of Mexico, as reflected by the hypoxia problem, are all victims of
   national policy. I don’t say this to assess blame. It’s a fact. The channelization of the Mississippi River and its tributar-
   ies, not to mention the dredging of numerous navigational waterways, has created an impact that shall absolutely
   devastate south Louisiana and the lower delta.

   The loss of Louisiana’s marshes will incrementally destroy the economy, culture, ecology, and infrastructure, not to
   mention the corresponding tax base of this state and this region. From an ecological and environmental point of
   view, it is a clear disaster. An ecosystem contributing 30 percent of the commercial fish harvested in these United
   States will be destroyed.

   As these wetlands are destroyed, the present insurable value of adjoining manufacturing, commercial, utility and
   other infrastructure will be placed at risk. Ultimately much of that infrastructure may become totally uninsurable.

   This state, in cooperation with our federal partners, has to step back and develop a holistic engineering program to
   reestablish a sustainable coastline. Leading scientists and engineers believe that it can be done. The cost is 14 billion
   dollars. That is a lot of money. The cost of doing nothing shall be well in excess of 100 billion.

       140 ports, the construction of an 11,000-mile        tion, construction of seawalls and jetties, and
       network of inland navigation channels, 8,500        beach rebuilding. As a result, it has a profound
       miles of levees and floodwalls, and more than        effect on the environmental health of the nation’s
       500 dams (Stein et al., 2000). The Corps          waterways, floodplains, wetlands, and coastlines.
       also manages shoreline protection and restora-           The Corps has long been criticized for

                                                     According to Steve Ellis, of Taxpayers
                                                  for Common Sense, “What Army Corps offi-
                                                  cials lose sight of when they promote a
                                                  wasteful project is that the federal taxpayer is
                                                  the primary client, and is the majority stake-
                                                  holder of virtually all Corps projects. The
                                                  Corps needs to be made accountable to the
                                                  nation as a whole, and its mandate should be
                                                  a civil works program that will benefit the
                                                  overall national economy and the welfare of
                                                  its citizens.”
                                                     Although perhaps the most influential,
                                                  the Corps is not the only government agency
                                                  or program whose actions unnecessarily harm
© Doug Perrine/

                                                  coastal ecosystems. For example, as part of
                                                  the Central Valley Project, the Bureau of
                                                  Reclamation helped drain the vast wetlands of
                                                  California’s Central Valley and channelized its
                                                  rivers. The project resulted in the loss of
               Newly hatched loggerhead turtles head for the sea. Sea turtle nest-
               ing beaches are threatened by development, pollution, and rising   95 percent of the wetlands of the Sacramento
               sea level.
                                                  River Delta. Winter run Chinook salmon have
                   building expensive and environmentally dam-         declined by more than 90 percent over the
                   aging projects, often with dubious economic         life of the project and an estimated 95 percent
                   justification. Analyses of the Corp’s practices       of salmon and steelhead spawning habitats
                   by the National Academy of Sciences, the           are now gone (Koehler and Blair, 2001).
                   General Accounting Office, the Army Inspector        This development program has necessitated
                   General, and independent experts have shown         a 20-billion-dollar restoration program for
                   a pattern of flawed economic and environmen-         fish and wildlife in the river delta and
                   tal analyses, a process that is strongly biased in      San Francisco Bay.
                   favor of project approval, and a failure to fol-
                   low through with environmental mitigation.          COASTAL DEVELOPMENT
                   The projects resulting from this flawed           AND HABITAT LOSS
                   approval process frequently fail to deliver pre-       Like Louisiana’s bayous, all coastal habitat
                   dicted economic benefits while producing far         types are affected by development to a greater
                   more environmental damage than anticipated.         or lesser degree, depending on their desirabili-
                   In addition, the Corps has failed to complete        ty for human uses and their sensitivity to near-
                   much of the environmental mitigation required        by development. Maritime forests, for exam-
                   for its development projects.                ple, have largely disappeared under the plow

   or by residential development. Rapid growth      degrade water quality and habitats far from
   in south Florida has led to the destruction of    the sources of pollution.
   mangroves and seagrass beds, depriving some         Surfaces that are impervious to water—
   fish of feeding and nursery grounds.         such as paved roads, parking lots, and
      Residential and commercial construction     rooftops—greatly exacerbate the problem of
   destroys wildlife habitat, including habitat not   runoff. A one-acre parking lot, for example,
   actually built upon. The alteration of water flows;  produces about 16 times the volume of
   the loss of water quality; the breakup of large    runoff that comes from a one-acre meadow
   areas by roads, canals, and other infrastructure;   (Beach, 2002). Impervious surfaces affect
   and the creation of vulnerable exposed “edge”     watersheds in two major ways. First, they
   areas all degrade wildlife habitat.          alter the pattern and rate of flow of rainwater
      Wetlands are particularly valuable and     to water bodies. Second, they collect pollu-
   vulnerable. They support fish and wildlife pop-    tants—hydrocarbons and other harmful
   ulations of economic, ecological, and social     substances emitted by automobiles, as well as
   importance. They also provide ecological serv-    fertilizers and pesticides from lawns and golf
   ices by slowing down and absorbing stormwa-      courses—and provide a conduit for their rapid
   ter, filtering pollutants from urban and agricul-   transfer to water bodies.
   tural runoff, and buffering coastal areas from       In general, the abundance and diversity
   storms and erosion.                  of aquatic species decline as the amount of
      From the 1780s to the 1980s, the United     impervious surface in a watershed increases
   States (excluding Alaska) lost more than half     beyond about 10 percent (Schueler and
   of its original wetlands (Dahl, 1991). With      Holland, 2000). Since suburban development
   protection under the Clean Water Act and       averages about 40 percent impervious cover,
   other statutes, the rate of wetlands loss has     environmental quality quickly begins to suffer
   dramatically decreased from a peak of about      in rural watersheds once suburban develop-
   490,000 acres a year to about 60,000 acres a     ment begins. For example, in Maryland, the
   year today. Most wetland loss today stems       abundance of brown trout declines at about
   from residential and commercial development      10 to 15 percent of imperviousness as does
   rather than from agriculture, which previously    the abundance of coho salmon around Seattle.
   accounted for the lion’s share of loss.        Similarly, studies have shown that the diversity
                              of aquatic insects plummets in urban streams.
   Probably the most harmful impact of develop-     THE LOGIC OF WATERSHED PLANNING
   ment on marine and freshwater ecosystems is      Watersheds—areas of land that drain to a
   the degradation that results from polluted      common waterway—provide a logical and
   runoff. As evidenced by the dead zone in the     appropriate scale for protecting and restoring
   Gulf of Mexico, transported pollutants can      water quality. Identifying the major threats to

water quality, inventorying their sources, and   such as fishing and swimming.
determining the pollution reductions needed       At its core, the problems of coastal
to protect, maintain, and restore water quality  development are about human beings and the
are best done on a watershed-by-watershed     demands we place on natural resources and
basis. Forty-six percent of the U.S. population  ecosystems. We are currently making more
inhabits coastal watersheds (NOAA, n.d.), but,   demands on coastal and marine ecosystems
in a sense, we all live in a coastal watershed   than they can reliably meet. To preserve and
since all rivers drain eventually to the sea.   restore the bountiful coastal environment that
   At the local and regional levels, the    we have enjoyed in the past and that we want
sources, magnitude, and effects of nutrient    for our children and grandchildren, we must
and toxic pollution from both point and      alter our relationship to the environment.
nonpoint sources vary dramatically. As a      Given the certainty of substantial future
result, a one-size-fits-all approach to making   population growth in coastal areas, only by
our waters fishable and swimmable will not     changing the way we live and the way our
work. But approached on a watershed basis,     communities grow can we maintain, much
we can address problems such as nonpoint      less restore, healthy coastal ecosystems.
source pollution, particularly nutrient pollu-
tion—the greatest threat to water quality in    SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
our rivers, bays, and coastal waters.       1. Develop an action plan to address
   We need an approach that manages       nonpoint source pollution and protect
sources and effects across jurisdictional     water quality on a watershed basis.
boundaries, provides the resources and incen-   Addressing the complex array of point and
tives needed to achieve results, and is flexible  nonpoint sources of pollution related to devel-
enough to allow solutions tailored to meet     opment requires a comprehensive, watershed-
local circumstances.                based approach to water quality protection.
   The essential programmatic elements of    States should establish and enforce water
a watershed-based approach to water quality    quality standards for nutrients, thus providing
protection are already in place. The Clean     an enforceable benchmark against which
Water Act requires the establishment of water   progress can be measured. The Clean Water
quality standards for pollutants as well as the  Act and state water quality laws should be
calculation of the maximum amount of a       amended to require action to reduce nonpoint
given pollutant that a water body can absorb    source pollution. States should determine
and still satisfy water quality standards (the   the total maximum daily load (TMDL) of
total maximum daily load, or TMDL). The act    pollutants that a water body can accept and
also requires an ongoing planning process for   still attain water quality standards. The states
complying with water quality standards and     should then implement meaningful plans for
maintaining designated uses of water bodies—    achieving the point and nonpoint source pol-

   lution reductions indicated by TMDLs.       areas where it is not desirable, and to reduce
   Implementation also requires watershed-based   impervious surface cover wherever possible.
   water quality compliance planning, which the   States should take an active role in developing
   federal government can encourage by provid-    a consensus on growth management, encourag-
   ing a complementary suite of incentives for    ing urban growth boundaries to protect agricul-
   improving water quality and disincentives for   ture and environmentally sensitive lands, and
   activities that harm water quality.        restricting state development funding to desig-
                            nated growth areas. Congress should make fed-
   2. Identify and protect from development     eral funding for transportation and development
   habitat critical for the functioning of      available only to states that comply with the
   coastal ecosystems.                Clean Water Act and other federal environmen-
   Congress should provide a significant,      tal laws. Federal grants and loans should be
   permanent, and dedicated source of funding    required to be used consistent with state and
   for habitat protection. Comprehensive habitat-  local growth-management efforts.
   protection planning by the states is important
   to ensure that federal, state, and local funds  4. Redirect government programs and
   provide the maximum benefit in protecting     subsidies away from harmful coastal
   habitat and water quality. The broadest possi-  development and toward beneficial
   ble array of financial tools and incentives    activities, including restoration.
   should be made available to government and    The Army Corps of Engineers should be
   private land-protection efforts. Lastly, strong  reformed to ensure that its projects comport
   partnerships among all levels of government,   with the agency’s missions, are environmental-
   private land trusts and foundations, and the   ly and economically sound, and reflect
   business community are crucial for large-scale  national priorities. Congress should transform
   habitat protection.                the Corps into a strong and reliable force for
                            environmental restoration, working in partner-
   3. Institute effective mechanisms at all levels  ship with natural resource management
   of government to manage development and      agencies. Tax structures should be examined
   minimize its impact on coastal ecosystems     at all levels of government to ensure that they
   and their watersheds.               are supporting compact, appropriately sited
   Substantial changes in development patterns    growth. The National Flood Insurance Program
   and practices on private lands are needed.    should be reformed by setting premiums that
   Municipalities and counties should change     reflect the true risk of coastal hazards, phasing
   their zoning and subdivision codes to promote   out coverage of repetitive loss properties, and
   compact growth in areas where it is desirable,  denying coverage for new development in
   to discourage growth in relatively undeveloped  hazardous or environmentally sensitive areas.

Chapter Five
     CLEANING COASTAL WATERS                                     Getty Images Inc.

THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM                  I want my children to grow up unafraid to eat
The images of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in       salmon and halibut and other wild foods that are
Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1989, and the    part of our tribal heritage. But the traditional foods
sight of trash washing up with the seaweed on     that we gather from the ocean have contaminants.
our favorite beaches are all too familiar.      My Aunt Violet points out that we aren’t just eating
   What we are less aware of, however, is            one contaminant. We eat the whole fish.
the amount of pollution that travels daily from   Shawna Larson
                          Alaska Community Action on Toxics
each of our lawns, vehicle tailpipes, driveways,
                          Pew Oceans Commission hearing, Anchorage, Alaska, August 15, 2001
and the fields where our food is produced into
our coastal waters. A recent study by the      species that live their entire lives far out in the
National Research Council found that the same    Pacific are too contaminated with mercury to be
amount of oil released in the Exxon Valdez     safe to eat.
spill—10.9 million gallons—washes off our         These are the signs of a silent crisis
coastal lands and into the surrounding waters    in our oceans.
every eight months (NRC, 2002). The Mississippi      Fortunately, we have set a good precedent
River, which drains nearly 40 percent of the    for addressing water pollution. In response to
continental United States, carries an estimated   public outcry over such environmental calamities
1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen into the Gulf  as the burning of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio,
of Mexico each year (Goolsby et al. 1997).     Congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) in
Overall, the amount of nitrogen released into    1972. The law requires the U.S. Environmental
coastal waters along the Atlantic seaboard and   Protection Agency (EPA) to establish national
the Gulf of Mexico from anthropogenic, or      technology standards and science-based criteria
human-induced sources, has increased about     for water quality protection. The states then con-
fivefold since the preindustrial era (Howarth et  trol identifiable sources of pollution by issuing
al., 2000).                     pollution discharge permits based on these tech-
   The consequences of this polluted       nology and water quality requirements.
runoff are most acute along the coasts,          Efforts resulting from the provisions of the
where more than 13,000 beaches were         Clean Water Act have succeeded in removing
closed or under pollution advisories in 2001    the worst pollution from the rivers and lakes that
(NRDC, 2002). Two-thirds of our estuaries and    surround us. Some coastal waters, such as those
bays are either moderately or severely degraded   off Los Angeles and San Diego, have dramatical-
from eutrophication (Bricker et al., 1999).     ly improved. There, inputs of many pollutants
However, pollution’s reach extends far beyond    have been reduced by 90 percent or more over a
our major cities. Scientists report that killer   25-year period, leading to the recovery of kelp
whales have higher PCB levels in their blubber   beds, fish communities, and certain seabird pop-
than any animal on the planet and that fish     ulations (Boesch et al., 2001).

                                                    toxic drainage from abandoned mines.
                                                       The current legal framework is ill
                                                    equipped to address this threat. Rather than
                                                    confronting individual cases, the situation
                                                    requires that we apply new thinking about the
                                                    connection between the land and the sea, and
                                                    the role watersheds play in providing habitat
                                                    and reducing pollution.
                                                       One of the major nonpoint pollutants is
   Cameron Davidson/

                                                    nitrogen, a nutrient that encourages plant
                                                    growth. Although nitrogen is essential to life, in
                                                    excess it can significantly damage and alter
                                                    ecosystems. In fact, scientists now believe that
                                                    nutrients are the primary pollution threat to liv-
                                                    ing marine resources (NRC, 2000). Most nitro-
                                                    gen in the oceans arrives from nonpoint
                     Runoff from a sugar field in central Florida carries nutri-
                     ent and other chemical pollution into an adjacent ditch.   sources, including storm runoff from roads and
                     Nutrients, particularly nitrogen, flowing from farm fields,
                                                    agricultural fields, and airborne nitrogen emitted
                     streets, and yards across the nation represent the largest
                     pollution threat to coastal waters.              from power plants and car tailpipes.
                                                       We have also learned that marine species
                         But in the 30 years since the Clean
                                                    accumulate toxic substances. From single-celled
                     Water Act was passed, as scientific knowledge
                                                    marine life to top ocean predators, including
                     and experience has improved, the focus of our
                                                    humans, toxic substance levels in body tissue
                     concern has shifted. Although controlling
                                                    increase as predators consume contaminated
                     point sources remains critical, the subtler
                                                    prey. In addition, new forms of pollution are
                     problem of nonpoint sources has moved to the
                                                    emerging. Non-native species, introduced by
                     fore. In our oceans, now, we are experiencing
                                                    accident or design, have proliferated to stress
                     a crisis as great as a burning river. It is a crisis
                                                    entire ecosystems, crowding out native species,
                     we must address through changes in both pol-
                                                    altering habitat, and in some instances, intro-
                     icy and commitment.
                                                    ducing disease. And human-generated sound in
                         Today, nonpoint sources present the great-
                                                    the oceans is affecting marine life in ways we
                     est pollution threat to our oceans and coasts.
                                                    are just beginning to understand.
                     Every acre of farmland and stretch of road in a
                                                       Finally, we have not fully dispensed with
                     watershed is a nonpoint source. Every treated
                                                    the problem of point source pollution. Legal
                     lawn in America contributes toxics and nutrients
                                                    loopholes and poor enforcement allow signifi-
                     to our coasts. Nonpoint pollutants include
                                                    cant point sources of pollution to go unregulat-
                     excess fertilizers and pesticides used in farming,
                                                    ed. These include cruise ships, ballast-water dis-
                     oil and grease from paved surfaces, bacteria and
                                                    charge from ships, and concentrated animal
                     nutrients from livestock manure, and acidic or


    The Eutrophication Process

                                               Lighter, fresher, warmer surface layer
                                     Wind and waves
                                 02              02               02
                                     sur face layer

                             Pycnocline layer blocks oxygen flow to bottom waters
   Nutrients, primarily from
   agricultural and urban sources,                     Organic material, from
   are delivered by stormwater runoff                    sources such as dead or
   and atmospheric deposition.                                          Heavier, saltier,
                                       dying algae and plankton,
                                                          cooler lower layer
                                       falls to the seafloor and

                                                                       Art: John Michael Yanson
                                   Oxygen is consumed as
              Mobile animals sometimes
                                   organic matter decomposes, leaving
              move out of hypoxic areas.
                                   slow-moving or attached animals to suffocate.

Eutrophication is a long-term increase in the supply of organic matter to an ecosystem—often because of excess nutrients.
Eutrophication creates two harmful effects in marine ecosystems: reduced water clarity and oxygen depletion. Reduced water clarity
can starve seagrasses and the algae that live in corals for light, reducing their growth or killing them. While wind and waves aerate sur-
face waters, the pycnocline—a layer of rapid change in water temperature and density—acts as a barrier to oxygen exchange in bottom
waters. Oxygen is consumed in this deep layer as bacteria decompose plankton, dead fish, and other organic matter falling from the
surface. When dissolved oxygen levels reach two milligrams per liter or less—a condition called hypoxia—most slow-moving or attached
animals suffocate, creating areas known as dead zones in the bottom waters.
Source: Boesch et al., 2001; EPA, 2000.

                                    WHEN NUTRIENTS POLLUTE
feeding operations. Animal feeding operations
                                    The immediate cause of the 1991 event
alone produce more than three times the
                                    that killed one million menhaden in North
amount of waste that people do—about 500 mil-
                                    Carolina’s Neuse River was a single-celled
lion tons of manure every year (EPA, 2002a).
                                    creature called Pfiestera piscicida. Known as
     Through witness testimony from around
                                    the killer alga, P. piscicida can emit a strong
the country, commissioned papers, and its own
                                    neurotoxin when in the presence of schools of
research, the Commission investigated five types
                                    fish. It feasts on the dead and dying fish,
of pollution—nutrients, toxic substances, cruise
                                    reproduces, and then settles back into the sed-
ship discharges, invasive species, and anthro-
                                    iment. Scientists have found that P. piscicida
pogenic sound. It reviewed the current state of
                                    thrives in coastal waters that are enriched with
our laws and changes necessary to control new
                                    nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen.
and overlooked sources of pollution.

   The Neuse River outbreak was linked by        dense they block the light needed by corals and
   analyses of the event to nutrients flowing from   by submerged vegetation such as seagrasses.
   manure lagoons and other agricultural sources    Severe light deprivation will kill the plants and
   in the watershed.                  cause corals to expel the algae they host, which
      We are degrading the environment along     leads to coral bleaching.
   our coasts. Nutrient pollution has been linked to     After the phytoplankton die and sink to
   harmful algal blooms, such as the Pfiestera out-   the ocean floor, bacteria decompose them.
   break. It has also been linked to dead zones,    Decomposition pulls oxygen from the water,
   such as the area in the Gulf of Mexico that     leaving the remaining plants and animals oxy-
   appears annually and has reached the size of     gen-starved. Areas with little oxygen, called
   Massachusetts (more than 8,000 square miles).    hypoxic, are unable to support fish and shrimp
   In addition, this pollution results in the loss of  populations, and the stress of hypoxia can make
   seagrass and kelp beds, destruction of coral     them more vulnerable to invasive species, dis-
   reefs, and lowered biodiversity in estuaries and   ease, and mortality events. In addition to the
   coastal habitats (Howarth et al., 2000). The inci-  well-known hypoxic dead zone at the mouth of
   dence of harmful algal blooms along the United    the Mississippi River, hypoxic zones have devel-
   States coastlines increased from 200 in the     oped in 39 estuaries around the U.S. coast
   decade of the 1970s to 700 in the 1990s, and     (Bricker et al., 1999).
   now includes almost every coastal state in the       Of the myriad sources of nutrient pollu-
   U.S. (Burke et al., 2000) One bloom off the     tion, agriculture is the most significant. Nitrogen
   coast of Florida was implicated in the deaths of   in fertilizer is easily dissolved in and transported
   more than 150 manatees (NOAA, 2002).         by water. Animal wastes are also nitrogen rich,
      The continued loss of wetlands is further   and are generally applied to farmland, where
   evidence of this trend in degradation. Wetlands   the nitrogen can be washed into water bodies
   serve a critical function as natural filters that  by rainstorms. Aggravating this problem, tile
   remove nutrients before they can reach the sea,   drainage systems constructed to collect and
   but they are being lost at the rate of approxi-   shuttle excess water from fields—particularly
   mately 60,000 acres per year (Dahl, 2000). If    common in the corn and soybean fields of the
   current practices of nutrient input and habitat   Midwest—provide an expressway for nitrogen
   destruction continue, nitrogen inputs to U.S.    flowing into waterways.
   coastal waters in 2030 may be 30 percent high-       Until recently, atmospheric deposition—
   er than at present (Howarth et al., 2002).      the settling of airborne pollutants on the land
      When too many nutrients—particularly      and water—has been an overlooked source of
   nitrogen—enter the marine environment, the      nitrogen pollution in coastal waters. It is now
   result is eutrophication—the overenrichment of    clear that it is widespread and quantitatively
   the water that stimulates extraordinary growth of  important in some regions. Most atmospheric
   phytoplankton and attached algae (Figure One,    deposition of nitrogen originates as nitrogen
   page 61). Phytoplankton blooms can be so       oxide emissions from power plants and automo-

Atmospheric Release, Transport, and Deposition Processes

                                GAS                     S

                                     LOCAL OR                          WET
                              PARTICULATE  LONG-DISTANCE
                                     TRANSPORT          INDIRECT
                                     CHANGES IN
              •Natural Sources •Anthropogenic Sources
                                                                GAS EXCHANGE

                                                                        Art: John Michael Yanson
                                                              DIRECT DEPOSITION

                                                         S URFACE WAT E R BODY
                                                N D WAT

Atmospheric deposition is the process by which air pollution directly or indirectly finds its way into our lakes, rivers, and—ultimately—
the oceans. Natural and anthropogenic sources of air pollution produce gases (such as oxides of nitrogen and sulfur) and particles
(such as soot, which may contain hydrocarbons, various forms of sulfur and nitrogen, and other pollutants). Particles can settle on their
own on land or in water (dry deposition), or when washed from the atmosphere by precipitation (wet deposition). Particles settling on
land can be resuspended in storm runoff and find their way into water bodies. Gases in the atmosphere are absorbed to varying
degrees by water. They are sometimes absorbed directly across the surface of a water body. Gases are also absorbed by water in the
atmosphere, and eventually precipitation brings them to water bodies.
Source: Boesch et al., 2001; 2003; EPA, 2000.

biles, and ammonia gas released from animal                waste to land, which fouls waterways with
wastes (Boesch et al., 2001; Figure Two).                 runoff, is a significant environmental problem.
     In addition to nonpoint sources, there                 Although they are regulated under the
are major point sources of nutrients, particu-              CWA, CAFOs have largely avoided pollution
larly concentrated animal feeding operations               restrictions because of exemptions in outdated
(CAFOs). Most animal wastes from CAFOs are                regulations and the states’ failure to enforce
stored in open lagoons, which can be larger                permitting requirements. Of the approximately
than five and a half football fields and contain             15,500 operations that meet EPA’s definition
20 to 45 million gallons of wastewater (NRDC               triggering regulation, less than 30 percent have
and CWN, 2001). If not properly managed,                 permits, reducing the government’s and the
lagoons can leach nutrients and other sub-                public’s ability to monitor and control CAFO-
stances into waterways and overflow during                related pollution. EPA recently revised its
rainstorms. The liquid effluent, rich in nitrogen             CAFO regulations, which now expressly
and phosphorous, is sprayed onto agricultural               require all CAFOs over a certain size to obtain
fields as fertilizer, often at many times the               a point source discharge permit. EPA’s new reg-
amount needed for crop growth. On a day-to-                ulations require CAFOs to develop a nutrient
day basis, the over-application of animal                 management plan by 2006, but EPA has not set

   enforceable standards for these plans, which     for food. The Commission focused on three
   will be written by the operators and not sub-     toxic substances of particular concern: PAHs,
   ject to government or public review. In        PCBs (polycholorinated biphenyls), and heavy
   exchange for developing and implementing a      metals like mercury. These substances are both
   nutrient management plan, CAFOs are shield-      pervasive and persistent. They are decomposed
   ed from liability for pollution that is discharged  very slowly, if at all, by bacteria, and do not
   off the facility’s land application area.       leave the marine environment quickly or com-
      Regardless of its source, nitrogen has     pletely. Although now banned in domestic man-
   become one of the most pervasive and harmful     ufacture of electrical transformers, plastics,
   pollutants in coastal waters. A revitalized pol-   paints, and other materials, PCBs are still pres-
   lution policy must reflect this understanding.    ent in many imported materials and at many
                              industrial and military sites. Mercury levels are
                              on the rise in some regions. Nearly 80 percent
   When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska      of the mercury in the marine environment
   and spilled its oil cargo in March 1989, scien-    arrives as air emissions from coal-fired power
   tists, managers, and hundreds of volunteers      plants and other combustion sources, some of
   rushed to rescue thousands of seabirds and sea    them overseas (Heintz et al., 1999).
   otters. They picked the birds off soiled beaches      Landfills, urban runoff, ocean dumpsites,
   and attempted to clean their plumage before the    ocean vessels, and the burning of fossil fuels are
   birds lost their ability to float and to stay warm.  just a few of the pathways that bring toxic sub-
   In the end, some 30,000 seabirds perished as     stances to the oceans.
   well as 1,000 or more sea otters, and untold        Toxic compounds enter marine food
   numbers of fish. Congress has since passed the    chains either directly from the water or from
   Oil Pollution Act to reduce the risk of similar    concentrated deposits in sediments.
   tanker accidents.                   Organisms accumulate toxic substances in
      New evidence strongly suggests that com-    their tissues, where they may be passed up the
   ponents of crude oil, called polycyclic aromatic   food chain. Some of these compounds are
   hydrocarbons (PAHs), persist in the marine envi-   concentrated at each step in the chain. The
   ronment for years and are toxic to marine life at   ocean’s top predatory fish and marine mam-
   concentrations in the low parts-per-billion range   mals therefore often have the highest concen-
   (Carls et al., 1999). Chronic exposure to PAHs    trations of toxic compounds in their bodies.
   can affect development, increase susceptibility    Killer whales, walruses, and tuna are among
   to disease, and jeopardize normal reproductive    those most contaminated.
   cycles in many marine species.               Accumulated toxic substances disrupt
      PAHs represent just one class of toxic     hormone cycles, cause birth defects, suppress
   substances that threaten the health of marine     the immune system, and cause disorders
   species and of humans who depend upon them      resulting in cancer, tumors, and genetic abnor-

malities. In some instances, accumulated toxic           CWA, no ambient air quality standards for
substances can even cause death in marine ani-           mercury under the Clean Air Act (CAA), no
mals (MMC, 1999).                          systematic monitoring of toxics levels in most
   The contamination of certain commercial            species consumed by humans, and there is
species may pose particular problems                insufficient effort to clean up toxic contami-
for humans. Recent studies sponsored by               nants in sensitive marine environments. These
The Mobile Register indicated that the presence           policy shortcomings should be addressed
of methylmercury (the bio-available form of             without delay.
mercury, and the form most prevalent in fish) in
several species of fish in the Gulf of Mexico,           CRUISE SHIPS
including ling, amberjack, and redfish, may be           Cruise ships can offer spectacular views and
so great that Food and Drug Administration             unparalleled wildlife experiences. For many
standards would prohibit selling them to the            Americans, cruises provide their only expo-
public. In 2001, of the 2,618 fish advisories            sure to the oceans and marine wildlife, and
issued in U.S. waters, almost 75 percent were            the popularity of this activity is increasing. In
for mercury contamination (EPA, 2002b). In
Alaska and other polar regions, the evidence of
correlation between increased toxic loads and
declining health in humans and animals alike is
mounting (AMAP, 2002).
   The Arctic and Antarctic are hard hit by
certain persistent toxics, especially heavy met-
als and organochlorines, which include PCBs,
due to the peculiar mechanisms by which
these compounds are preferentially transport-
ed to the polar regions. Airborne toxics are
repeatedly deposited and volatilized as they
are swept by atmospheric circulation from
their points of origin toward the polar regions.
This process is known as the grasshopper
effect because the substances “hop” from their
                          Joel W. Rogers

sources to their ultimate repositories in the
polar marine environment.
   Not enough is being done to address
                                  Cruise ships with as many as 5,000 passengers visit
the dangers that toxic substances pose to              some of our most spectacular coastal destinations.
                                  Sewage and other waste discharges from these floating
marine species and to humans. There are no
                                  cities can have significant impacts on marine life and
water quality standards for PAHs under the             the environment.

   recent years the cruise ship industry has         human pathogens, nutrients, and hazardous
   grown at an average annual rate of eight per-       substances directly to the marine environment.
   cent, and expansion continues. In 2001, the        The wastewater pollution from these ships is
   North American cruise industry set a record        compounded by air pollution from burning trash
   when it carried 8.4 million passengers. In San       and fuel emissions that enter the marine envi-
   Francisco Bay, a new cruise terminal is          ronment via atmospheric deposition.
   expected to more than double the number of            Despite the fact that cruise ships
   ship visits per year. Cruise ships make frequent      discharge waste from a single source, they
   stops in Florida, the Caribbean, along the         are exempted from regulation under the CWA
   West Coast, Maine, and Alaska.               point source permitting system.
      While taking a cruise can provide an            The CWA allows the discharge of
   invaluable experience for passengers, cruise        untreated black water anywhere beyond three
   ships can pose a particular risk to the very        miles from shore, and does not require any
   environments they seek to explore. With as         treatment of gray or ballast water. Only in
   many as 5,000 people onboard, a cruise ship        Alaskan waters are cruise ships required to
   is akin to a floating city, where people go        meet federal effluent standards; treat gray
   about many of the same activities as they do        water discharges; and monitor, record, and
   at home: showering, cleaning, cooking. In         report discharges to state and federal authori-
   addition, cruise ships offer such amenities as       ties. In addition, the CWA authorizes the U.S.
   photo developing, hairdressing, and dry          Coast Guard to inspect the discharge logs and
   cleaning. The waste from these activities,         pollution control equipment aboard ships.
   however, is not regulated like waste produced       However, Coast Guard officers are not
   from cities.                        required to test discharges for compliance.
      In one week, a typical cruise ship             The CWA and the Act to Prevent
   generates 210,000 gallons of black water          Pollution from Ships together regulate bilge
   (sewage), 1,000,000 gallons of gray water         water, which must be run through an oil-
   (shower, sink, dishwashing water), 37,000         water separator before it is discharged. The
   gallons of oily bilge water, more than eight tons     National Invasive Species Act encourages all
   of solid waste, millions of gallons of ballast       oceangoing vessels to exchange ballast water
   water containing potential invasive species, and      but does not require them to do so. The air
   toxic wastes from dry cleaning and photo          emissions from ships are covered under the
   processing laboratories* (Royal Caribbean         CAA amendments of 1990, but the EPA has
   Cruises Ltd., 1998; Eley, 2000; Holland          yet to impose regulations.
   America, 2002). This effluent, when discharged          In short, the legal regime that covers
   untreated—as too often happens—delivers          cruise ships is complex but not comprehen-

   *Based on a 3,000-passenger cruise ship and EPA estimates of per capita waste generation.

sive. Unless we take greater steps to control
discharges and reduce pollution, we will con-
tinue to harm the very places we love to visit.

Invasive species—non-native species whose
introduction harms or is likely to harm the
environment, economy, or human health—
present one of the most significant threats to
biodiversity and healthy ecosystems (GISP,
2002). Once introduced, they have the poten-
tial to establish themselves alongside, or in
place of, existing species. They can compete
with native species for prey and habitat, facili-
tate the spread of diseases, introduce new
genetic material, and even alter landscapes.
Invasive species can impede endangered
                          Ron Silva

species conservation and restoration efforts. In
the marine environment, some compete with
                                Invasive species, such as these Chinese mitten crabs, represent
commercially significant fish species for food
                                one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Invasive species com-
and habitat, or they clog nets and eat bait. On         pete with native species for prey and habitat, and are responsible
                                for about 137 billion dollars in lost revenue and management costs
land and in the sea, invasive species are
                                in the U.S. each year.
responsible for about 137 billion dollars in
                                port and discharged in another. Every day,
lost revenue and management costs in the
                                some 7,000 species are transported around
U.S. each year (Pimentel et al., 1999).
                                the world via ballast water (Carlton, 2001).
   Invasive species are hard to identify and
                                    Another important vector is aquaculture.
eradicate before they take hold in an ecosys-
                                Species such as Atlantic salmon, grown on the
tem, which can occur remarkably quickly. For
                                western coasts of the U.S. and Canada, act as
example, every 14 weeks, a new invasive
                                invasive species if they escape or are released
species is discovered in the San Francisco Bay
                                unintentionally from aquaculture facilities into
(Cohen and Carlton, 1998).
                                the surrounding waters. Once in the wild, they
   Ballast water is the primary vector for
                                can compete with native species for food, shel-
the release of invasive species into marine
                                ter, and other resources, as well as spread dis-
waters (Carlton, 2001). Ballast water—and all
                                ease. In some cases, species raised for aquacul-
the living creatures contained within it—is
                                ture may interbreed with native species, poten-
pumped into and out of oceangoing vessels
                                tially threatening the viability of native stocks.
for stabilization. Often it is taken up in one

          Other vectors include the home aquari-         In an increasingly global economy, all
       um industry, ship hulls, oil platforms, and       this mobility represents a serious threat to the
       marine debris. Invasive species arrive in sea-      health of living marine resources.
       weed used to pack live bait and via the pet          Our laws are not equipped to deal with
       trade industry. They also reach U.S. waters as      these threats. Biological pollution by invasive
       live food imports. The Internet has significantly    species is the focus of the National Invasive
       aided the introduction of new species. Today,      Species Act of 1996 (NISA). However, under the
       consumers need only a credit card, access to a      NISA structure, invasive species are managed on
       computer, and a delivery address to purchase       a case-by-case, crisis-by-crisis basis, and the
       marine life for food, for use as bait, or as pets.    national focus is on terrestrial invasive species.

BOX ONE                                                   Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes


   A green alga known as Caulerpa taxifolia—native to      fying patches of the seaweed. They covered the patch-
   tropical waters of the world—became popular as a       es with heavy plastic tarps to contain the seaweed and
   decorative plant in saltwater aquariums after a fast-    injected chlorine under the tarps—a treatment that
   growing, cold-tolerant strain of the species was cul-    killed not only C. taxifolia but also everything else
   tured. If released into the wild, this seaweed can pro-   under the tarps.
   liferate, carpeting the ocean floor and crowding out
   native species that provide food and shelter within the   Eradication efforts appear to have been effective.
   ecosystem. It is unpalatable to most fish because of a    A survey in the fall of 2002 found no trace of the
   toxin it contains. A piece as small as one centimeter    seaweed, but scientists caution that it could
   can grow into an infestation.                reappear when summer brings increased sunlight
                                 and warmer waters.
   In the early 1980s, C. taxifolia was introduced into the
   Mediterranean Sea. By 2001, it had spread across more    Intensive media coverage of the Carlsbad invasion led
   than 30,000 acres of the seafloor, displacing native     to the discovery of a second infestation in Huntington
   communities in its path. Scientists believe the alga is   Harbour, near Los Angeles. Biologists are treating this
   so widespread in the Mediterranean Sea that eradica-     invasion in a similar manner with equally encouraging
   tion is no longer a possibility.               results. Scientists hope that the rapid response to this
                                 threat will prevent an invasion like the one in the
   In June 2000, two divers in California discovered C. tax-  Mediterranean Sea. Two invasions of the alien sea-
   ifolia in native seagrass beds in a coastal lagoon in    weed have also occurred in Australia.
   Carlsbad. They reported their discovery to an algal
   expert, who alerted government authorities. Scientists    The experience with C. taxifolia in the U.S.
   suspect the seaweed was inadvertently released into a    demonstrates the merits of prevention to avoid
   lagoon from a home aquarium.                 the uncertainties and costs of eradication. So far,
                                 nearly 2 million dollars have been spent to fight the
   A rapid response team was formed, and an effort to      California invasion. In January 2003, California
   eradicate the invading seaweed was mobilized within a    approved an additional 1.3-million-dollar grant for
   few days. Biologists surveyed the infested areas, identi-  further eradication efforts.

   To the extent that NISA addresses      such inconsistency, neighboring states could
marine species, it does so almost exclusively   simultaneously be working to promote and
in the context of ballast-water discharges,    eradicate the same species, and one agency’s
despite the existence of many other vectors.    food list could be another agency’s most want-
Ballast-water exchange (BWE) is a procedure    ed list of invaders. The lack of regulatory clari-
in which ships in the open ocean dump bal-     ty was brought home by the discovery of the
last water taken aboard in foreign ports. Its   invasive snakehead fish in a Maryland pond.
purpose is to lessen the chance of introducing   Federal regulations did not prohibit the impor-
coastal invasive species into potentially hos-   tation or interstate transportation of this Asian
pitable habitats in destination ports. However,  fish and state law provided only a mild penalty
BWE does not always dislodge species and it    for release of the fish, for which the statute of
does not apply to coastwise travel, which can   limitations had expired. Furthermore, state
also allow species to be transported to new    managers had no clear legal authority to eradi-
environments. Additionally, BWE is not       cate the population that had established itself.
mandatory under NISA. Although the U.S.      This type of confusion results in invasive
Coast Guard is required to check ship logs to   species—literally—slipping through the regula-
determine whether an exchange occurred, it is   tory cracks and getting into the environment
not required to check the ballast tanks.      without anyone noticing.
Current guidelines encourage ship operators to
report voluntary exchange, but compliance     SOUND
with this minimal requirement is weak.       The use of anthropogenic sound as a tool in
   There is little law focusing on other    the ocean has become enormously valuable
vectors of invasive species. For example, there  for scientists, engineers, fishermen, and the
is no uniform regime in place to track live    military. It allows fishermen to locate schools
imports either entering or traveling around the  of fish and to keep predators from raiding or
country. There is no systematic process for    becoming entangled in their nets. The use of
determining which management approach       sound also helps mariners detect icebergs
is best when a species is found, no central    and other obstructions, biologists study
source of information for researching species,   behavior changes in marine species,
and no dedicated source of funding to control   oceanographers map the bottom of the ocean
invasive species. For species like the destruc-  floor, geologists find oil and gas, climatolo-
tive seaweed, Caulerpa taxifolia, which grows   gists research global climate change, and the
as much as three inches a day, any delay in    U.S. Navy detect submarines.
response could have severe environmental         Many marine species, including marine
and economic ramifications (Box One).       mammals, turtles, and fish, also rely on sound.
   Currently, agencies at different levels of  They use vocalizations and their ability to
government report commodities using a differ-   hear to detect predators, prey, and each other.
ent nomenclature and verification system. With   In the oceans, as on land, sound is essential

                      for communication.                     sity and frequency, and thus can have varied
                          Anthropogenic sound in the ocean is on        effects on species. Sounds in the same frequen-
                      the rise, mainly due to increased vessel traffic.      cy ranges used by marine species can mask
                      Coastal development is bringing more pleas-         acoustic communication among animals and
                      ure craft, and globalization and international       interfere with detection of prey and predators.
                      trade require more commercial vessels. In          High-intensity sounds can cause pain and, in
                      addition, the navies of the United States and        some circumstances, tissue and organ damage.
                      other nations are increasingly using active         If the pressure resulting from the sound is
                      sonar systems to patrol coastal waters for         intense enough, the animal can experience
                      enemy submarines. Meanwhile, oil and gas          internal bleeding and subsequent death.
                      operations on the outer continental shelf are           A mass stranding of whales in 2000
                      expected to spread into deeper waters.           heightened concerns about the effects of
                      Climate change, too, may have a significant         sound in the oceans. In March of that year, at
                      effect on sound levels in the ocean. Not only        least 17 whales were stranded on beaches in
                      does sound travel faster in warmer water, but        the northern Bahama Islands. Most of the ani-
                      also rising temperatures and melting ice at the       mals were alive when they stranded and eight
                      poles may open new shipping channels in           of them were returned to the sea. The other
                      areas that have previously experienced little        nine animals died; pathology reports revealed
                      vessel traffic.                       bruising and internal organ damage. The
                          Sound sources differ in both their inten-      stranding occurred about the time that ten
                                                    U.S. Navy vessels were operating their mid-
                                                    frequency sonar systems nearby. Investigations
                                                    conducted cooperatively by the Navy and the
                                                    National Marine Fisheries Service suggested
                                                    that the sonar transmissions were a critical
                                                    factor in the strandings (NOAA, 2001).
                                                       Low-intensity sounds can disrupt behav-
                                                    ior and cause hearing loss, ultimately affecting
                                                    longevity, growth, and reproduction. Frequent
                                                    or chronic exposure to both high- and low-
                                                    intensity sounds may cause stress, which
Tim Aylen/Vision Media

                                                    human and terrestrial animal studies indicate
                                                    can affect growth, reproduction, and ability to
                                                    resist disease. Impulse sounds, such as those
                                                    produced by explosions and seismic air guns,
             Local children examine a whale stranded in the northern Bahama Islands in
             2000. During March, at least 17 whales beached themselves subsequent to
                                                    may damage or destroy plankton, including
             Navy sonar operations nearby. Investigations suggested that the sonar trans-
                                                    fish eggs and larvae, as well as damage or
             missions were a critical factor in the strandings.

destroy tissues and organs in higher verte-     SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
brates (Hastings et al., 1996; Gisiner, 1999).   1. Revise, strengthen, and redirect pollution
   The Marine Mammal Protection Act       laws to focus on nonpoint source pollution
(MMPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), and      on a watershed basis.
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)    EPA and the states should establish water qual-
all provide legal mechanisms for addressing     ity standards for nutrients, especially nitrogen,
sound. However, the MMPA and ESA apply       as quickly as possible. EPA and the states
only to marine mammals and endangered        should also ensure that water quality standards
species, and are only capable of protecting     are in place for other pollutants—such as
individuals from particular sound-related proj-   PAHs, PCBs, and heavy metals such as mercu-
ects, such as drilling operations or sonar activ-  ry—where these are identified as problematic
ities. In addition, the federal government has   on a watershed-by-watershed basis. Congress
recently proposed to exempt certain activities   should amend the Clean Water Act to require
from environmental review under NEPA.        the use of best management practices to con-
Because review under these statutes is trig-    trol polluted runoff resulting from agriculture
gered only on a case-by-case basis and does     and development. Congress and the executive
not effectively address cumulative impacts on    branch should provide substantial financial
marine ecosystems, underwater sound as a      and technical support for the adoption of such
source of potentially significant pollution in   practices. Congress should link the receipt of
the marine environment has not received       agricultural and other federal subsidies to
comprehensive treatment. A new policy frame-    compliance with the Clean Water Act.
work is needed to adequately address this      Finally, Congress and the Environmental
emerging pollution concern.             Protection Agency should ensure that air
                          emissions of nitrogen compounds, mercury,
                          and other pollutants are reduced to levels that
For too long our oceans have been dumping      will result in a substantial reduction of their
grounds. Within U.S. waters, ecosystems are     impact on marine ecosystems.
subjected to insults from nonpoint, unregulat-
ed point, and nontraditional types of pollution   2. Address unabated point sources
from both land- and ocean-based sources.      of pollution.
Nutrients, toxics, cruise ship discharges,     Concentrated animal feeding operations should
acoustic and biological pollution, and invasive   be brought into compliance with existing provi-
species all harm marine ecosystems, and the     sions in the CWA. Congress should enact legis-
legal regimes in place do not match the nature   lation that regulates wastewater discharges from
of today’s pollution threats. For each of these   cruise ships under the CWA by establishing
pollution sources, policy changes can and      uniform minimum standards for discharges in
should be made as quickly as possible.       all state waters and prohibiting discharges with-

   in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone that do    of sound sources on living marine resources
   not meet effluent standards. Congress should   and ecosystems. Consideration should be
   amend NISA to require ballast-water treatment   given to requiring the utilization of best-
   for all vessels that travel in U.S. waters, and  available control technologies, where the
   regulate ballast-water discharge through a    generation of sound has potential adverse
   permitting system under the CWA. Finally, the   effects. Finally, the environmental ramifica-
   International Maritime Organization draft     tions of any sound-producing project should
   convention on ballast-water management      be taken into formal consideration—pursuant
   should be finalized and its provisions imple-   to NEPA or other applicable statutes—at the
   mented through appropriate U.S. laws.       planning stages of the project, before signifi-
                            cant resources, time, and money have been
   3. Create a flexible framework to address     devoted to its development.
   emerging and nontraditional sources
   of pollution.                   4. Strengthen control of toxic pollutants.
   A national electronic permitting system should  The U.S. should ratify the Stockholm
   be created under NISA to facilitate communi-   Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
   cation and track imports of live species that   (POPs), and implement federal legislation that
   may result in aquatic introductions. Each state  allows for additions to the list of the “dirty
   should inventory existing species and their    dozen” chemicals. In concert with this effort,
   historical abundance, in conjunction with     EPA should develop and lead a comprehensive
   the development of the regional ocean       monitoring program to quantify levels of partic-
   governance plans under the National Ocean     ular toxic substances in designated ocean habi-
   Policy Act. Congress should provide adequate   tats and species, and sufficient resources should
   funding for developing statewide invasive-    be devoted to studying the effects of toxics on
   species management plans that include       marine species. This monitoring program
   provisions for inventorying, monitoring, and   should be coordinated with Food and Drug
   rapid response. With regard to sound, a com-   Administration and EPA seafood contaminant
   prehensive research and monitoring program    advisory efforts, so that people know where
   should be developed to determine the effects   their seafood comes from and what it contains.

Chapter Six
                                          Farm-raised oysters, Eliot, Maine
                                            Laura Stadig, Spinney Creek Shellfish, Inc.

A new industry is taking shape along our       …aquaculture is here to stay; the challenge is to
shores. Aquaculture—the farming of fish,       ensure the young and growing industry develops
shellfish, or aquatic plants—has grown rapidly       in a sustainable manner and does not cause
over the past several decades, and that growth                  serious ecological damage.
is accelerating. Today, some 4,000 aquaculture   Rebecca J. Goldburg and others, 2001
                          Marine Aquaculture in the United States: Environmental
enterprises in the United States, most of them
                          Impacts and Policy Options
small to mid-size, supply Americans with
                          may pose biological risks to wild populations.
Atlantic salmon, hard clams, oysters, shrimp,
                          Improper facility design, siting, and operation
and nearly all the catfish and trout we eat.
                          can reduce water quality, damage the physical
As the industry matures, it holds both great
                          habitat, and harm wild populations in a vari-
promise and great risk.
                          ety of ways. Different species and production
   It holds great promise because demand
                          systems present different challenges and risks,
for seafood is rising, yet the total global wild
                          complicating management.
fisheries catch has leveled out since the mid-
                             This combination of promise and risk
1990s as fish stocks have become depleted. In
                          has made marine aquaculture an important
the U.S., 30 percent of the known wild fishery
                          focus of the Commission’s work. Because the
stocks are already overfished or in the process
                          aquaculture industry is still young and rela-
of being depleted through overfishing.
                          tively small, there is time and opportunity for
Aquaculture represents another source of
                          it to develop in an ecologically sound way. If
seafood to boost the fish supply. Although the
                          we are to prevent, minimize, and mitigate the
majority of aquaculture operations raise fresh-
                          risks, we must develop a coherent policy
water species, our work focused on marine
                          framework for the industry.
species. Some forms of aquaculture, such as
mollusk farming, may aid the environment.
                          PROFILE OF AN INDUSTRY
Because mollusks, such as clams and oysters,
                          Aquaculture began on a small scale, thou-
filter large volumes of water, they can help to
                          sands of years ago, as an ancient form of
restore marine ecosystems polluted with nutri-
                          animal husbandry. Today, one-third of the fish
ents and an overabundance of phytoplankton.
                          products entering global markets are farm
The industry is also a source of new jobs.
                          raised. The United States ranks eleventh in
During a site visit in Florida, the Commission
                          worldwide aquaculture production (just over
learned about a job-retraining program that
                          one percent), farming roughly one billion
redirects displaced gillnet fishermen into hard
                          pounds of aquatic species, mostly freshwater
clam aquaculture.
                          species such as catfish, valued at nearly one
   But despite this promise, marine aqua-
                          billion dollars in 1998. However, the U.S.
culture poses significant risks (Figure One,
                          ranks third in national consumption of seafood.
page 74). Farmed fish that escape their pens

    FIG. ONE

             Environmental Risks of Marine Aquaculture
        animals targeted to control                  NON-NATIVE SPECIES            DRUGS
        predation of farmed fish                     for example,            antibiotics
                                       Atlantic salmon eggs          hormones
                                      (seed stock) from Europe         anesthetics

                   FISH MEAL AND FISH OIL
                   made from oily fish, such as
                    anchovies and mackrel                                      HERBICIDES
                                                                  controls algae growth
                                                                     on netpens


      OF LOCAL
     caused by a high
                                                      GENETICALLY MODIFIED      ESCAPE OF
       of fish
                                                        ORGANISMS         NON-NATIVE
                                                          (GMOs)          SPECIES
          NEW DISEASES
                                                      compete with native fish for food and habitat
       introduced by seed stock

                                                                              Art: John Michael Yanson

                                       FISH SEWAGE
                           contains uneaten food, waste products, disease, and pathogens

   Like other forms of animal production, aquaculture can lead to environmental degradation. Non-native and genetically modified species
   that escape from netpens may compete with native species or contaminate the native gene pool. Large concentrations of fish in aqua-
   culture facilities may incubate diseases and parasites and introduce them into surrounding ecosystems. The use of large quantities of
   wild-caught fish to feed carnivorous farmed species, such as salmon and shrimp, places additional stress on wild fisheries. Uneaten
   food, fish waste, and dead fish can contaminate waters near aquaculture facilities. Antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, and other chemi-
   cals used to improve production may have harmful effects in surrounding ecosystems. Lastly, the physical presence of aquaculture facil-
   ities alters natural habitat and attracts predators, such as marine mammals, which can be entangled in netpens or harmed by intention-
   al harassment techniques.
   Source: Goldburg et al., 2001; art adapted from the David Suzuki Foundation, 1996.

               FIG. TWO
              1998 U.S. Aquaculture Production
              Value of Prominent Farmed Marine Animal by Key-Producing States
              The major marine animals farmed in the United States are salmon, clams, oysters, and shrimp. The 1998 production of these
              organisms is recorded here as the value of the farmed product in millions of dollars.


                      64.1                                WASHINGTON
                                                                CONNECTICUT   VIRGINIA   FLORIDA
                      MILLION                                STATE
                                                                   12     11      9.5
                                                         12.1        MILLION   MILLION    MILLION
                                                                   DOLLARS *
                                                                         DOLLARS    DOLLARS


                                                              HAWAII           TEXAS

                                                              1.7            8.4
                   STATE                                         MILLION          MILLION
                              1.9        1.3          1.1
                   14.1                                         DOLLARS          DOLLARS
                             MILLION       MILLION        MILLION
                   MILLION       DOLLARS       DOLLARS        DOLLARS
Art: John Michael Yanson

              *Estimated; exact figures are not available due to confidential data.

              Thus, our appetite for seafood relies on high                 other species has been limited by the lack of
              levels of imports—much of which are farmed                   available high-quality coastal sites.
              by nations with less rigorous environmental                  Aquaculture operations need large areas with
              standards—to meet demand.                           access to unpolluted water. The crowded and
                  In the United States and other developed               contested nature of our coasts precludes fish-
              countries, where farmed salmon and shrimp                   farming in many areas.
              sell for a high price, aquaculture is a profitable                  The open seas are a different matter.
              business. The U.S. industry grows nearly 30                  Private and government interests are encour-
              marine species, but just four—Atlantic salmon,                 aging development of an offshore aquaculture
              hard clams, oysters, and shrimp—contribute                   industry in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone
              roughly one-quarter of the total U.S. aquacul-                 (EEZ), from 3 to 200 miles out to sea. The
              ture harvest (Figure Two). Salmon and clam                   Department of Commerce’s aquaculture policy
              production have increased most rapidly within                 calls for a fivefold increase in aquaculture
              the last several decades. Growth in farming                  production by 2025, and the open oceans

   figure prominently in this call.         farm in Maine. The escapees far outnumber
      The aquaculture industry is therefore    the few wild salmon—only 75 to 110 adults in
   poised for a major expansion. Before this     2000—that still return to spawn in Maine
   expansion occurs, it is essential that govern-  rivers (NRC, 2002).
   ment and industry address the risks that come      Fish farms can also serve as incubators
   with aquaculture.                 for disease, which can infect wild populations.
                            Infectious salmon anemia (ISA), a virulent and
                            deadly disease, was found in farm-raised
   Since 1986, nearly one million non-native     Atlantic salmon along the Maritime Provinces
   Atlantic salmon have escaped from fish farms   of Canada in the mid-1990s. Although many
   in the Pacific Northwest and have established   anticipated its spread into U.S. waters, nothing
   breeding populations in wild rivers. It is bio-  was done to prevent it. As a result, the disease
   logical pollution—the escape of farmed      appeared in Maine in 2001. In January 2002,
   species and their parasites and pathogens into  the Maine Department of Marine Resources
   the environment. This phenomenon represents    and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
   the most significant threat posed by aquacul-   ordered the eradication of 1.5 million salmon
   ture to wild marine populations. Most marine   located in seven facilities in Cobscook Bay
   aquaculture operations inadequately separate   that were infected with, or exposed to, ISA.
   cultured fish and their diseases from surround-  The cost to the American public was 16.4 mil-
   ing seas, making such escapes and contamina-   lion dollars in federal assistance.
   tion inevitable.                    Another looming issue in marine aqua-
      Once released into an ecosystem, non-    culture is the proposed use of genetically
   native species are extremely difficult to con-  modified organisms, which represent another
   trol or eradicate, and often become perma-    potential source of biological pollution.
   nently established, threatening native species  Although no transgenic fish products are com-
   and entire ecosystems (Carlton, 2001). Non-    mercially available in the United States, at least
   native escapees from fish farms can compete    one company has applied for permission to
   with wild stocks for food, habitat, and spawn-  market the first engineered animal for human
   ing grounds (Myrick, 2002; Stickney and      consumption: a farmed Atlantic salmon.
   McVey, 2002). Interbreeding may change the       Using genetic material inserted from
   genetic makeup of wild fish and decrease     Coho salmon and ocean pout, the altered
   their survivability.               salmon grows rapidly, allowing it to hit the
      These concerns are especially important   market sooner at a reduced cost to growers.
   where remaining wild populations, such as     Transgenic species may act like invasive
   wild salmon in Maine and the Pacific       species if introduced into the wild. Scientists
   Northwest, are already endangered. For      are concerned about the potential for compe-
   instance, a storm in December 2000 resulted    tition between escaped transgenic fish and
   in the escape of 100,000 salmon from a single   wild stocks. In addition, they fear that trans-

genic fish may introduce and spread modified
genes throughout wild populations, and ulti-
mately modify the wild gene pool (Hedrick,
2001; NRC, 2002). The ramifications of such
irreversible changes are unknown.
   Fish farms depend on pelleted fish feed
to meet the dietary requirements of carnivo-
rous species such as salmon and shrimp. Feeds
typically contain fish meal and fish oil from
wild-caught fish, such as anchovies and mack-
erel. Scientists estimate that producing one
pound of farmed shrimp or salmon requires
more than twice that amount of wild-caught
fish. Large catches of these fish strain ecosys-
tems. This problem will increase if the demand
for feed products grows with the expansion of
the aquaculture industry. Research to develop
feed substitutes for fish meal, such as use of
                          Dean Abramson

soybean oil, is making progress (Naylor et al.,
2000; Goldburg et al., 2001).

                                  This nearshore salmon aquaculture facility in Lubec, Maine, is among some
RISK TO WATER QUALITY                       4,000 aquaculture enterprises in the United States. These seafood farms grow
                                  hard clams, oysters, shrimp, catfish, trout, and salmon.
Water flows freely over cultivated shellfish
                                  operations. Effluents vary based on the type of
beds and through the mesh netpens on finfish
                                  aquaculture. However, they can include not
farms, spreading farm by-products into the
                                  only nutrients from uneaten feed and waste
surrounding environment. Nutrient loading
                                  products, but also antibiotics, herbicides,
from aquaculture can be significant on a local
                                  hormones, anesthetics, pigments, minerals,
scale. A salmon farm of 200,000 fish releases
                                  and vitamins (Goldburg et al., 2001). The
an amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and fecal
                                  containment of drugs in aquaculture is more
matter roughly equivalent to the nutrient waste
                                  complicated than in terrestrial livestock opera-
in the untreated sewage from 20,000, 25,000,
                                  tions because drugs typically must be adminis-
and 65,000 people respectively (Hardy, 2000).
                                  tered in water, often as components of fish
   Although the Clean Water Act regulates
                                  feed. Therefore, the drugs are directly intro-
the discharge of these kinds and volumes of
                                  duced into the surrounding environment.
wastes from other sources, including city
                                     In certain cases, effluents from fish
sewage systems and concentrated animal
                                  farms may alter the ecosystem by changing
feeding operations (CAFOs), the act’s provi-
                                  the physical and chemical environment. These
sions have not been applied to aquaculture

   changes affect the composition of species      aquaculture farther out to sea in the U.S.
   residing beneath netpens or downstream from     EEZ—the area with the greatest potential for
   facilities (NRC, 1992).               expansion. Jurisdiction is divided among a
      Just the physical presence of aquaculture   number of agencies: The Army Corps of
   facilities can disrupt and modify natural habi-   Engineers presides over navigable water; the
   tats (Goldburg et al., 2001). For example, poor   EPA over pollution; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
   siting of aquaculture facilities can obstruct    Service over interactions with birds; NOAA
   wildlife use of natural surroundings.        over fisheries; and the Fish and Wildlife
                             Service and NMFS split jurisdiction over
                             marine mammals and endangered species.
   The Commission reviewed the development          Even where its jurisdiction is clear,
   of other marine industries for guidance in     the federal government has been slow to
   aquaculture. In 1976, Congress passed the      provide the necessary guidance to ensure the
   Fishery Conservation and Management Act       sustainability of aquaculture. The EPA only
   (also known as the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or     began work on effluent guidelines, required
   MSA), a federal law that promoted the devel-    under the Clean Water Act, as the result of
   opment of the U.S. commercial fishing indus-    a lawsuit, and has not yet developed water-
   try. However, it provided insufficient protec-   quality standards for federal waters. The Army
   tion for marine ecosystems. Twenty years later,   Corps of Engineers grants permits for aquacul-
   when Congress was faced with a crisis in      ture sites on a case-by-case basis under
   marine fisheries, it passed the Sustainable     the Rivers and Harbors Act. However, that
   Fisheries Act to begin correcting this oversight.  act lacks clear environmental standards.
   Today, U.S. fisheries remain in crisis, with    Although underway, guidance for the use
   extensive closures in formerly major fisheries.   and marketing of genetically modified
   Marine aquaculture may be able to avoid the     organisms is also lacking.
   same fate as wild-capture fisheries, but only if     The majority of laws and regulations
   change begins today.                that authorize, permit, or control marine
      We have no comprehensive government      aquaculture are found at the state level
   oversight to minimize ecological harm caused    because most facilities are located in
   by marine aquaculture. This leaves us ill      nearshore, state-managed waters. Few states,
   prepared for the industry’s planned fivefold    however, have a comprehensive regulatory
   expansion. Like the MSA before it, the National   plan for marine aquaculture. Notable excep-
   Aquaculture Act of 1980 and subsequent       tions are Maine, Hawaii, and Florida. There is
   amendments promote industry development       no formal coordination of coastal aquaculture
   without sufficient environmental safeguards.    activity among states within a region, yet
      Nor do we have a federal framework to     aquaculture practices in one state can affect
   govern the leasing and development of marine    another state’s marine resources.

   This complex and ineffective mix of     ecosystems and provides international leader-
federal and state authority over marine      ship by promoting sustainable aquaculture
aquaculture is confusing, difficult for all    practices worldwide.
parties—including aquaculturists—to
navigate, and fails to adequately protect     SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
marine ecosystems.                1. Implement a new national marine aqua-
   As a leading importer and consumer of    culture policy based on sound conservation
seafood, the United States is in a position to  principles and standards.
provide leadership on the international stage,  Congress should enact legislation to regulate
encouraging sustainable marine aquaculture    marine aquaculture pursuant to sound
practices in other countries. A recent World   conservation and management principles.
Trade Organization decision upheld the U.S.    The legislation should establish national
prohibition of shrimp imports that are harvest-  standards and comprehensive permitting
ed without the use of equipment to protect sea  authority for the siting, design, and operation
turtles—a requirement that applies to U.S.    of ecologically sustainable marine aquaculture
shrimp fishermen. The U.S. could use this     facilities. The lead authority for marine
model to negotiate trade agreements that     aquaculture should reside in the proposed
encourage sustainable marine aquaculture     national oceans agency or the National
practices—a position that would be strength-   Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
ened by the adoption of appropriate aquacul-      Until national marine aquaculture
ture management measures for U.S. waters.     standards and policy are established, the
   Over the past several years, a growing   administration or Congress should place
body of literature has documented the impacts   a moratorium on the expansion of marine
of aquaculture on the environment (Costa-     finfish farms. Likewise, until an adequate
Pierce, 2002). Federal agencies are actively   regulatory review process is established, the
developing programs to control effluents (EPA,  government should place a moratorium on
2000) and to guide offshore aquaculture      the use of genetically engineered marine or
development (DOC, 2000). The United        anadromous species.
Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
developed Codes of Conduct for Responsible    2. Provide international leadership for
Fishing, which include guidance for aquacul-   sustainable marine aquaculture practices.
ture development.                 The United States should negotiate and
   The time is pivotal to provide the guid-  work with other nations to establish environ-
ance and tools for this industry to grow in an  mental provisions in international trade
ecologically sustainable fashion. The U.S.    agreements to encourage ecologically sustain-
should develop a proactive national marine    able marine aquaculture practices in the
aquaculture policy that protects marine      international community.

          Chapter Seven
                BEYOND OUR BORDERS
Bluefin tuna, Baja California
Richard Herrmann

Let us be good stewards of the Earth we inherited. All of us          in South Africa, which called for important
have to share the Earth’s fragile ecosystems and precious           steps to be taken by all nations to protect
resources, and each of us has a role to play in preserving           the world’s oceans. A Plan of Implementation
them. If we are to go on living together on this Earth, we           was agreed upon that calls for the elimination of
must all be responsible for it.                        destructive fishing practices and subsidies that
                             Kofi A. Annan
                                        promote illegal fishing and overcapacity, the
                   Secretary-General of the United Nations
   An excerpt from Mr. Annan’s 2001 message for World Environment Day, a  establishment of marine protected areas and
   worldwide annual celebration that recognizes the commencement of the
                                        sustainable fishing limits, reduction of pollution
           United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.
                                        and environmental damage caused by ships,
          All life depends on healthy ecosystems. As the       and increased monitoring and use of environ-
          human population soars toward 8 billion, we        mental impact assessments.
          are placing an increasing and unsustainable           The Pew Oceans Commission, though
          strain on our natural resources. The strain is       charged with a review of U.S. ocean policies,
          reflected in growing conflicts—fishermen com-       recognizes the international nature of the crisis
          peting for ever fewer fish, states fighting over      facing our oceans and believes that the United
          water and land rights, oil carefully guarded. The     States must demonstrate leadership in the area
          more we deplete our living natural resources,       of marine protection. We have the largest
          the closer we come to crossing thresholds of        Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, with a
          irreversible damage to those resources and to       footprint that stretches across the Pacific Ocean;
          the ecosystems that produce and sustain them.       what we choose to do in our waters invariably
              How many fish can be removed from          affects the condition of the global oceans, and
          a population before it collapses? How many         our interests are readily affected by the actions
          populations can collapse before a species goes       of others. Many of the Commission’s recom-
          extinct? What repercussions will such extinc-       mendations—to protect fisheries, reduce the
          tions have on other marine species, on human        flow of pollution into coastal waters, and pre-
          communities, and on nations connected by          serve coastal habitat—require action at home
          trade? Scientists warn of the danger of crossing      and abroad. Only through strong leadership in
          these thresholds in marine ecosystems. Once        the care of our own waters can the U.S. assert
          we do, we cannot go back easily, if ever.         moral authority to ensure greater protection of
              The declining health of the oceans         marine resources abroad.
          is a global concern that requires international
          action. Therefore, cooperation at the           RATIFY CRITICAL
          international level is critical to our efforts       INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS
          to address this issue of “natural security.”        As first and critical steps, the Commission
          In September 2002, this sentiment was clear at       recommends that the United States ratify the
          the World Summit on Sustainable Development        1982 United Nations Convention on the Law

of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 1992          sea turtles, the World Trade Organization ruled
Convention on Biological Diversity.        that the U.S. could impose trade sanctions on
   UNCLOS, which entered into force in     countries whose shrimp fisheries did not protect
November 1994, is the legal foundation upon    sea turtles as well as our domestic fisheries.
which international ocean resource use and        In 2000, after a six-year effort by the
protection is built. It addresses fundamental   United States and involving 33 Asian and Pacific
aspects of ocean governance, including delim-   nations, the U.S. signed the Convention on the
itation of ocean space, environmental control,   Conservation and Management of Highly
marine scientific research, economic and      Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and
commercial activities, transfer of technology,   Central Pacific Ocean. This convention, which
and the settlement of disputes relating to     recognizes the economic importance of the fish-
ocean matters. U.S. ratification would serve to  eries to the people of the Pacific Islands,
codify President Ronald Reagan’s establish-    includes strong provisions for minimizing the
ment of a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone     negative impacts of fishing and for protecting
for the United States. As of October 2002, 138   biodiversity. The United States should vigorously
countries had ratified it.             implement and fully fund its share of the operat-
   The Convention on Biological Diversity    ing budget for this Convention.
is the premier international legal instrument      These are important steps for the protec-
devoted to biodiversity and ecological       tion of highly migratory species, but more
sustainability. It was signed by more than     remains to be done, including implementation
150 governments at the U.N. Conference on     of the United Nations Agreement relating to
Environment and Development in June 1992,     the Conservation and Management of
and entered into force the following year. As   Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks
with UNCLOS, the U.S. has signed, but not     and improving implementation and enforce-
ratified, this convention.             ment by the International Commission for the
                          Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
The health of highly migratory species in U.S.   PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS
waters depends on careful domestic manage-     The U.S. has signed the Stockholm Convention
ment coupled with protection by the interna-    on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which
tional community beyond our jurisdiction. The   bans the manufacture and sale of twelve of the
U.S. has taken steps at home and in global     most harmful toxic chemicals. The treaty
forums to protect species such as marine      addresses both manufacturing of persistent
mammals, turtles, seabirds, and tuna. In the    organic pollutants and their release through
late 1990s, the federal government used U.S.    incineration or leaking. The Commission recom-
conservation standards as leverage in negotiat-  mends U.S. ratification of this treaty with a
ing international dolphin and sea turtle conven-  mechanism for adding new toxic substances as
tions aimed at reducing bycatch. In the case of  necessary for the protection of human health

   Bill Harrigan/The Waterhouse

                                                                                 Photo ©
                  A coral reef in Florida teems with life (above). Coral reefs support
                  amazing biodiversity, rivaling that of tropical rain forests. Reefs are
                  in decline worldwide due to overfishing, pollution, sea-level rise,
                  coastal development, and bleaching (right) which is caused by ris-
                  ing sea-surface temperatures.

                       and the environment. We must also work with           practices in other countries.
                       other countries to reduce the long-distance trans-          In some cases, unilateral efforts cannot
                       port of heavy metals and other contaminants.          adequately protect U.S. marine resources.
                                                       Protecting our coastal ecosystems from invasion
                                                       by some of the thousands of species carried in
                       SETTING THE EXAMPLE
                       In order to meet its responsibilities toward its        the ballast-water tanks of oceangoing vessels is
                       ocean resources, the U.S. will need the assis-         a good example. It is truly a global problem;
                       tance of the community of nations. The             uniform standards to prevent harmful ballast-
                       Commission believes, however, that this nation         water discharge must be put in place and
                       must get its own house in order first to provide        enforced by all nations. The International
                       a solid foundation upon which to lead interna-         Maritime Organization is currently drafting lan-
                       tionally. By establishing appropriate standards         guage for an international ballast-water manage-
                       for sustaining marine species and ecosystems,          ment regime. The proposed convention would
                       the U.S. will be in a better position to use trade       require control of ballast water and sediments
                       pressures—as it did successfully to protect sea         contained in ballast tanks. Though unilateral
                       turtles from unsustainable shrimp fisheries—or         action might not adequately protect U.S. waters,
                       participate credibly in negotiations of ocean          strong domestic requirements for ballast-water
                       resource treaties. For example, only by adopting        treatment would greatly strengthen our position
                       strong conservation standards for its domestic         in ongoing international negotiations.
                       aquaculture industry can the U.S. establish the            All nations of the world must examine
                       moral and legal authority to demand protective         their ocean policies. If we are to restore the

world’s fisheries, reduce pollution, protect    bon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, are
marine habitats, and sustain coastal communi-    spurring changes with a rapidity rarely experi-
ties, it is time to acknowledge the international  enced in Earth’s history. Such high rates of
dimension of ocean resource protection, and to   change bring with them great unpredictability.
engage U.S. policymakers and citizens—and         In August 2002, The Pew Center on
the international community—to find solutions.   Global Climate Change completed a report enti-
   The first step is ours to take.        tled Coastal and Marine Ecosystems and Global
                          Climate Change: Potential Effects on U.S.
                          Resources (Kennedy et al., 2002). It identifies
Global air temperature is expected to warm     the critical implications of climate change on
by 2.5 to 10.4°F (1.4 to 5.8°C) over the      the coastal zone and open ocean.
century, affecting sea-surface temperatures and      The authors of this report drew a number
raising the global sea level by 4 to 35 inches   of conclusions, which we summarize below.
(9 to 88 cm) (IPCC, 2001). Such climate change
will create novel challenges for coastal and    Coral reefs are at particular risk from global
marine ecosystems already stressed by overfish-   climate change.
ing, coastal development, and pollution.      Recent episodes of bleaching and high mortal-
   Based on observations, scientists expect   ity of coral animals have been linked to higher
that this rapid climate change will result in the  temperatures. Although coral reefs are capable
extinction of some species and serious, if not   of recovery from bleaching events, prolonged
catastrophic, damage to some ecosystems.      or repeated bleaching can lead to mortality.
Important coastal and ocean habitats, including   Recent estimates suggest an increase in mean
coral reefs, coastal wetlands, estuaries, and    sea-surface temperature of only 2°F (1°C)
mangrove forests will be particularly vulnerable  could cause the global destruction of coral
to the effects of climate change. These systems   reef ecosystems (Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999).
are essential nurseries for commercial fisheries     Sea-level rise also poses a potential
and support tourism and recreation. Wild fish-   threat to coral reefs, which need the light
eries and aquaculture will be affected as well.   that penetrates relatively shallow water. The
Climate change will modify the flow of energy    problem of sea-level rise is likely to be made
and cycling of materials within ecosystems—in    worse by the effects of increased atmospheric
some cases, altering their ability to provide the  CO2 on marine chemistry. A doubling of
ecosystem services we depend upon.         atmospheric CO2, for example, could reduce
   We know that climate change is no       coral-reef calcification (i.e., growth) by 20 to
stranger to Earth. Since life began, ice ages    30 percent (Kleypas et al., 1999). Although in
and hot spells have affected the distribution of  the past, corals have been able to build their
organisms as well as their interactions.      reef masses upward to keep up with rising
However, today human activities that increase    sea levels, such slowdowns in growth
the emission of greenhouse gases, such as car-   induced by climate change could result in

   many reefs losing this race.            metabolic rates of organisms, leading to
      Increased coastal erosion associated     greater oxygen demands. At the same time,
   with sea-level rise could also degrade water    warmer water holds less oxygen than cooler
   quality near coral reefs by increasing turbidity  water. Therefore, low oxygen conditions—
   and sedimentation. Many coral reefs are also    which already afflict many coastal areas
   vulnerable to other human and natural stres-    polluted by excess nutrients washed off the
   sors, such as coastal development, overfishing,   land—may worsen.
   pollution, and marine disease.
                             Climate change has the potential to benefit
   Global climate change is predicted to        and to harm aquaculture.
   affect precipitation, wind patterns, and      Aquaculture could potentially benefit from
   the frequency and intensity of storms.       climate change, as warmer temperatures tend
   These environmental variables are crucial to    to increase growth rates. Warming oceans
   the structure, diversity, and function of coastal  could also allow the culturing of species in
   and marine ecosystems. The increase in air     areas that are currently too cold.
   temperature will directly affect sea-surface       However, warmer temperatures could
   temperatures and accelerate the hydrological    also limit the culturing of some species.
   cycle (IPCC, 2001). Unequal heating and       Summer mortality is often observed among
   cooling of the Earth’s surface drive much of    cultivated Pacific oysters on the U.S. West
   the world’s winds. The winds could be altered    Coast, which could be exacerbated by climate
   by surface warming, affecting wind-driven      change. Warmer temperatures may increase
   coastal and marine currents. Although the      the risk of marine disease among cultured (as
   impact of climate change on tropical storms     well as native) species (Harvell et al., 2002).
   and hurricanes remains highly uncertain, max-       The implications of climate change for
   imum wind speeds could increase by 5 to 20     U.S. aquaculture will likely be heavily
   percent (Knutson and Tuleya, 1999;         dependent upon the industry’s ability to adapt
   Henderson-Sellers et al., 1998).          its operations to suit the prevailing climate.

   Warming temperatures will influence         Temperature changes will drive species
   reproduction, growth, and metabolism        migration and could change the mix of
   of many species in stressful or beneficial     species in particular regions.
   ways, depending on the species.           Higher temperatures would be lethal to some
   In any particular region, some species could    species at the southern end of their range and
   decline while others thrive. Warmer tempera-    would allow others to expand the northern end
   tures tend to enhance biological productivity,   of their range, if they were sufficiently mobile.
   which could benefit some U.S. coastal eco-     The geographic range of Pacific salmon, for
   systems, at least over the short term. However,   example, is sensitive to changes in climatic
   increases in temperature tend to increase the    conditions. Warm waters in the northern

Pacific have historically been associated with a      Other human adaptations to climate
shift in salmon production from the coast of     change, such as the construction of seawalls to
the Pacific Northwest to Alaska’s Bering Sea     hold back the sea, could block inland migration
(Mantua et al., 1997; Hare et al., 1999).       of wetlands. Gradually, the wetlands would be
Similarly, warm-water fish species on the U.S.    inundated by rising seawater. They and their
East Coast expanded north of Cape Cod during     ecological services would be lost over time.
the 1950s in response to warmer sea-surface
temperatures (Taylor et al., 1957).          Changes in precipitation could flood coastal
   Thus, climate change in this century is     systems or leave them in drought.
likely to drive similar changes in species distri-  Changes in precipitation would affect runoff
butions, with some species contracting their     from land, and stratification of the water col-
ranges and others expanding. This would lead to    umn, which affects oxygen concentrations in
different mixes of species that could affect pred-  deep water. These changes also affect water
ator-prey relationships, species competition, and   circulation patterns and associated delivery of
food web dynamics. In addition, it could drive    juvenile organisms to nursery areas. In concert
the proliferation of invasive species, including   with sea-level rise, increased runoff from land
marine diseases (Harvell et al., 2002).        would shrink estuarine habitats, diminishing
   Because many of our coastal communities     their ability to support coastal animal and
depend upon marine species for their economic     plant populations.
livelihood, redistribution will most certainly dis-     Increased runoff could also increase the
rupt economies. However, it is impossible to     delivery of nutrients and toxic chemicals into
predict how this will affect specific fisheries.   coastal ecosystems near urban communities.
                           This would degrade water quality and increase
Sea-level rise could threaten the survival      the risk of harmful algal blooms. Regional
of marshes and mangroves.               fishing, hunting, and ecotourism enterprises
As sea level rises, coastal marshes have the     could all be affected.
inherent ability to accrete (i.e., grow) vertical-     Reductions in freshwater input could
ly through the deposition of sediment carried     also increase the salinity of estuarine systems,
downstream by rivers and streams. However,      limiting productivity and biodiversity.
climate change is likely to change patterns of    Permanent reductions of freshwater flows
rainfall and runoff, which could limit sediment    could contribute to major reductions of biolog-
availability. Furthermore, human modifications    ical productivity in alluvial bay systems, such
of rivers and streams (e.g., dams) already limit   as Gulf Coast lagoons.
sediment delivery in many areas, such as the
wetlands of southern Louisiana (Cahoon et al.,    Changes in wind patterns could affect
1998). Continuation of this practice could      coastal and estuarine circulation patterns
limit the ability of wetlands to keep pace with    and upwelling and downwelling of water in
rising sea levels.                  marine systems.

   Young organisms of many species, such        Natural climate variability, such as El Niño
   as blue crab, menhaden, and bluefish,        events, results in changes in open-ocean
   are transported into or out of estuaries by     productivity, shifts in the distribution of
   wind-driven, nearshore circulation patterns     organisms, and modifications in food webs,
   (Epifanio and Garvine, 2001). Changed pat-     foreshadowing what would happen if climate
   terns would affect the normal life cycle of     change accelerated.
   these species, and could diminish, if not elim-   Natural climate variability exists independent of
   inate, local populations.              anthropogenic climate change, but may act in
      In addition, wind patterns are important   tandem with (or opposition to) anthropogenic
   drivers of coastal upwelling, which provides    climate change. The consequences are difficult
   needed nutrients to some regions. Diminution    to predict. Climate change could increase the
   of this upwelling could reduce the ocean’s     frequency, duration, and/or severity of El Niño
   productivity in these coastal areas. In contrast,  events, which have important ecological effects,
   increased productivity should occur in those    heightening impacts on human society. In par-
   areas that experience increased upwelling.     ticular, El Niño events are often associated with
                             mass coral bleaching, which threatens the long-
   Changes in the frequency and intensity       term sustainability of these ecosystems
   of storms could increase flooding and        (Wilkinson, 2000).
   threaten coastal aquaculture and fishing
   industry facilities.                Over the coming century, changes in
   Storm events are major drivers of coastal      temperature or salinity of North Atlantic
   erosion. In addition, hurricane landfalls on    water in the Arctic may slow or shut down
   the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico have    the slow-moving thermohaline circulation
   historically been associated with significant    that delivers cold, dense, oxygenated water
   coastal flooding. Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd,     to the deep sea.
   and Irene cumulatively led to 50- to 500-year    This would affect delivery of oxygen and nutri-
   floods in North Carolina during 1999. In addi-   ents from the ocean surface to the deep ocean in
   tion to their impact on humans, these floods    coming centuries, with unknown consequences
   delivered large amounts of nutrients to the     for communities of deep-sea animals.
   estuaries that caused oxygen depletion and        In addition, this change in circulation
   harmful algal blooms (Paerl et al., 2001).     could alter the distribution of heat throughout
      Coastal aquaculture facilities are      the waters and atmosphere of the North
   also highly vulnerable to the high winds      Atlantic, which would affect the geographic
   and storm surges associated with coastal      distribution of fisheries.
   storms. Although the effects of climate          It is possible that other such climate
   change for storm events remain uncertain,      surprises could manifest in response to climate
   the possibility of increased storm intensity    change, resulting in rapid, unpredictable
   is a significant concern.              changes in the marine environment.

  Climate-induced changes in ocean chemistry       carbonate-dependent organisms. Some of
  could diminish the abundance of microscopic       these highly abundant organisms, such as
  open-ocean plants and animals.             diatoms and dinoflagellates, produce a chemi-
  Model results indicate that a doubling of the      cal (dimethyl sulfide) that ultimately helps to
  preindustrial atmospheric concentration of       cool surface air temperatures. Thus, changes
  atmospheric carbon dioxide (currently project-     in calcium carbonate chemistry could indi-
  ed to occur by the middle of the       century)  rectly reinforce global warming. Our knowl-
  could reduce the amount of calcium carbon-       edge of these interactions is rudimentary, mak-
  ate in ocean waters by 30 percent (Gattuso et      ing it difficult to predict the consequences of
  al., 1999; Kleypas et al., 1999). This would      any chemical changes.
  limit the growth and abundance of calcium

BOX ONE                                                 Steve Simonsen/Marine Scenes


  The potential effects of climate change offer com-     reduce the adverse effects of future climate change.
  pelling justification for improvements in the protec-    The adaptive and cautionary management approach
  tion and management of marine resources.          advocated throughout this report is, in essence, the
                                Commission’s climate change response action plan.
  Independent of anthropogenic activities, climate has    Recommendations for fisheries, coastal development,
  a profound influence on the structure and function     pollution control, and governance are all based on
  of marine ecosystems. As such, changes in climate      the need for a better understanding of, and manage-
  (whether natural or anthropogenic) are likely to sig-    ment focused upon, coastal and marine ecosystems
  nificantly alter these ecosystems—a process that is     and all the factors that influence them. Clearly,
  already underway (Parmesan and Yohe, 2003; Root et     changing climate is among the most significant long-
  al., 2003). Failure to account for these changes will    term influences on the structure and functioning of
  compromise management efforts.               those systems, and must be accounted for to ensure
                                healthy and productive ocean environments. Healthy
  Climate change is likely to be an additional stress to   ecosystems are also more resilient to all perturba-
  marine ecosystems, beyond more traditional con-       tions, including climate-induced changes.
  cerns, such as pollution, development, and overfish-
  ing. Climate change will interact with these stressors   The Commission feels strongly that the U.S. and its
  in unpredictable ways (i.e., additively, synergistically,  global neighbors must do the one thing that can
  antagonistically) to influence the future of U.S.      directly limit the effects of climate change on the
  marine resources.                      marine environment—reduce our emissions of
                                greenhouse gases that contribute to this problem.
  The recommendations of the Pew Oceans            Only then can we assure coming generations and
  Commission, if implemented, would address current      ourselves that the recommendations we offer will
  challenges to U.S marine resources, and would        yield the bountiful seas we envision.

             Chapter Eight
Near Cape Kumakahi, Hawaii
Ron Dahlquist/

                                           s we need to maintain healthy ecosystems
       Science must play a key role in advancing
                                            to sustain the benefits they provide society,
       marine ecosystem management that is
                                            but we often lack baseline information
       integrated, precautionary, and adaptive.
                                            about the history and status of those systems
                   Donald F. Boesch and others, 2001
                 Marine Pollution in the United States: Significant
                                            upon which to base management decisions;
                      Accomplishments, Future Challenges
                                           s human-induced extinctions are occurring
             Living oceans cover about 71 percent of the          in the oceans, but we have little idea of
             Earth’s surface. They are inextricably linked with       their scope because virtually all of our data
             the land and atmosphere. Ocean currents circu-         collection focuses on the relatively small
             late the energy and water that regulate the          handful of commercially valuable species
             Earth’s climate and weather. Thus, the oceans         (Carlton et al., 1999);
             affect every aspect of the human experience.         s we must prevent overfishing, minimize
             From surface to seafloor the world’s oceans con-        bycatch, and protect habitat to sustain
             tain nearly 100 times more habitable space than        our fisheries, yet we have not assessed the
             terrestrial ecosystems. The life supported in this       status of two-thirds of our managed fish
             vast realm is believed to reflect genetic, species,      stocks, we fail to collect bycatch data in
             habitat, and ecosystem diversity that exceeds         two-thirds of federally managed fisheries,
             that of any other Earth system. The natural          and we remain largely ignorant about the
             wealth of these systems provides valuable           habitat requirements of most valuable
             ecosystem services, commodities, and other           fishery species;
             social and economic benefits. Incredibly, the        s toxic pollution can harm individual
             oceans are the least studied and understood of         animals and biologically significant con-
             the Earth’s natural endowments.                tamination occurs throughout the nation’s
                 There has never been a more critical         coastal waters, but our understanding of
             time for the nation to increase its investment         population-level and ecosystem-level
             in ocean science and research. We know the           impacts is poor.
             oceans are in crisis. Unfortunately, as the
             nature, scale, and complexity of threats to         A NATIONAL COMMITMENT TO INCREASING
             marine ecosystems have increased, our nation-        SCIENTIFIC CAPACITY
             al investment in ocean science and research         Forty years ago, our nation made a commit-
             has stagnated. For more than a decade, federal        ment to space exploration. Today, we know
             spending on ocean sciences has hovered near         more about the surface of the moon and
             755 million dollars annually—less than four         other planets than we do about the oceans. In
             percent of the nation’s annual expenditure for        the late 1980s, we made a 4.5-billion-dollar
             basic scientific research. The consequences of        commitment to modernize the National
             this underinvestment are striking. We know          Weather Service with integrated observational

systems. Today, our enhanced ability to
predict weather patterns helps to ensure
public safety. We committed these resources
because we believed that high stakes justified
the investment. The stakes could not be higher

                          Scripps Institution of Oceanography
now in understanding and caring for the
oceans. The nation must increase investment
in ocean science and research, particularly
broader ecological monitoring programs
and investigations.
   To support this endeavor, the                           High seas wash onto the deck of Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s
                                             research vessel New Horizon as scientists work to retrieve a large buoy. The
Commission recommends that Congress at
                                             1,800-pound buoy is anchored to the seafloor by a cable that has instru-
least double funding for basic ocean science                       ments to measure underwater currents and temperature at various depths.
to 1.5 billion dollars annually, or approxi-                       For more than a decade, federal spending on ocean sciences has accounted
                                             for less than four percent of the nation’s science budget. The Commission
mately seven percent of the basic federal                        recommends a doubling of the federal ocean research budget.
research budget.
                                                To adequately describe ecosystems,
   At the core of this financial commitment
                                             characterize their threats, and manage for
is a quest for knowledge that can help to sus-
                                             their restoration, we need new cross-discipli-
tain the health, biodiversity, productivity, and
                                             nary scientific programs. Various combinations
resilience of marine ecosystems for future gen-
                                             of expertise—of fishery scientists, marine ecol-
erations. We need a deeper understanding of
                                             ogists, oceanographers, climatologists, marine
the effects of both natural and anthropogenic
                                             mammal and seabird biologists, anthropolo-
change on marine ecosystems as well as of the
                                             gists, economists, sociologists, and histori-
ocean’s interaction with terrestrial ecosystems
                                             ans—can further our understanding.
and the atmosphere.
                                                We need to know as much about people
                                             and economics as we do about the biology and
                                             ecology of living marine resources and ecosys-
                                             tems. Complex interactions between human
Increased capacity is needed in four areas to
                                             and environmental systems must be better
improve applied ocean science and research:
                                             understood. Cooperative research involving the
                                             fishing industry and native communities, that
1. acquisition of new information, knowledge,
                                             offer valuable experiential and traditional
  and understanding;
                                             knowledge, should be a central element of a
2. monitoring to evaluate status and trends;
                                             number of these new scientific programs.
3. capability to integrate and synthesize
                                                Given that many coastal and marine
  existing and new information;
                                             ecosystems have already suffered high levels
4. sharing of information and knowledge
                                             of degradation, the Commission recommends
  with the public.

                            IMPROVING THE USE
   the nation embark on a major commitment to
                            OF EXISTING INFORMATION
   develop the relatively new science of marine
                            Too often the institutions responsible for manag-
   restoration ecology.
                            ing our marine resources fail to adequately use
      Monitoring of both human and natural
                            existing scientific understanding in the decision-
   systems must also be increased. Comprehen-
                            making process. Improving how existing infor-
   sive ecosystem monitoring programs such as
                            mation and knowledge is used is the first and
   the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries
                            most important step to improve the scientific
   Investigation, the Global Ocean Ecosystem
                            foundation for ocean and coastal management.
   Dynamics Program, the Gulf of Maine Ocean
                               Uncertainty will always be a defining
   Observing System, and the Gulf of Alaska
                            characteristic of ecosystem-based management,
   Ecosystem Monitoring Program should be
                            just as it has been for single-species manage-
   expanded, strengthened, and replicated.
                            ment. Although some uncertainty can be
      A national fishery observer program
                            reduced with increased monitoring and
   should be implemented—employing appropri-
                            research, a degree of uncertainty is unavoidable
   ate, effective alternative monitoring schemes
                            because of the dynamic and complex nature of
   where necessary (e.g., on smaller boats that
                            marine ecosystems and the many influences
   cannot safely accommodate an observer)—
                            upon them. Thus, decisions about marine
   accompanied by vessel monitoring systems
                            ecosystems should take into account the risks
   and electronic data reporting for real-time
                            inherent in making incorrect decisions.
   data management. Social and economic
                               The Commission believes this is best
   assessment and monitoring programs for
                            accomplished by incorporating the precaution-
   human systems—the behavior of people,
                            ary approach as a core principle of national
   communities, and institutions—must
                            ocean policy. In cases where information is
   be increased.
                            uncertain or inconclusive, the need to protect,
      We need new research and monitoring
                            maintain, and restore the health, integrity, pro-
   programs to improve the timely collection,
                            ductive capacity, and resilience of marine
   compilation, and analysis of data. An improved
                            ecosystems should always be the top priority for
   ability to integrate and synthesize information
                            managers. This guiding philosophy is intended
   will allow scientists to more accurately predict
                            to prevent irreversible changes to marine
   the consequences of different courses of action.
                            ecosystems as a result of over-exploitation or
   This involves developing the next generation of
                            habitat destruction.
   ecosystem models that incorporate the influ-
                               The Commission also believes that to
   ences of trophic interactions, environmental
                            assure the independence and integrity of scien-
   variability, and human activity. Finally, new
                            tific advice, scientific work needs to be insulat-
   scientific programs should utilize adaptive
                            ed from political and economic pressures. This
   management to assess results, learn from
                            may require reorganizing the institutional rela-
   experience, and adjust incentives, regulation,
                            tionship between scientific research and
   and management accordingly.

resource management in some programs (for
more detailed discussions of this concept, see
Sissinwine and Mace, 2001; Hutchings et al.,
1997). Nowhere is this need more evident than
in fisheries management, where the Commission
recommends separating science-based conser-
vation decisions from economic and political

                                                                         Franklin Viola/
allocation decisions.
   The creation of a mechanism or insti-
tution to provide independent scientific over-
sight would help ensure that scientific advice
provided to ocean resource managers is com-
                                             A mother and her young son experience the wonders of
prehensive and current.
                                             marine life at Hanauma Bay, Hawaii. The Pew Oceans
   The Commission further recommends                          Commission calls for a new era of ocean literacy that
                                             prepares today’s children to be tomorrow’s stewards.
that a comprehensive ocean research and
monitoring strategy be developed and imple-                           The federal government is only one part
mented by the national oceans council, the                        of this effort. As the Commission traveled
establishment of which the Commission rec-                        around the country, it saw people across all lev-
ommends in Chapter 2.                                   els of government and in many professions pro-
                                             moting ocean literacy.
                                                During the Commission’s visit to
If we are to succeed in implementing a new                        Charleston, South Carolina, Mayor Joseph Riley
national ocean policy to restore and maintain                       and fellow commissioners joined students from
ocean ecosystems, we will need more than                         Memminger Elementary School to learn about
new laws and institutions. We must build a                        sharks. Using a live link with scientists from
national constituency for the oceans that                         Mote Marine Lab in Florida, students were able
includes all Americans, whether we live along
the coast or in the Rocky Mountains. We must
prepare today’s children to be tomorrow’s
ocean stewards.
                           Deb Antonini/Pew Oceans Commission

   The Pew Oceans Commission calls for a
new era of ocean literacy that links people to
the marine environment. Through enhanced
marine education and awareness, we can
inspire the next generation of scientists, fisher-
men, farmers, business and political leaders—
                                             Mayor Joseph Riley (above) participates in a discussion about
indeed all citizens—with a greater understand-
                                             sharks with students from Memminger Elementary School during
ing and appreciation for the oceans.                           the Commission’s visit to Charleston, South Carolina.

   to learn about some of the myths associated with       partnerships between the public and private
   sharks and the threats to their survival.          sectors to provide teachers with the materials
      During the Commission’s visit to           and training they need to bring the oceans into
   Hawaii, several commissioners appeared on          the classrooms. The Commission urges the
   the public education television program,           national oceans agency to take a stronger role
   KidScience. They met schoolchildren learning         in building ocean literacy throughout the
   about the oceans and offering their solutions        country, similar to NASA’s outer space educa-
   to the problems of pollution, habitat loss, and       tion programs. The Commission challenges
   overfishing. To build on that experience, the        academic institutions to increase enrollment in
   Commission collaborated with KidScience on          ocean sciences at the postgraduate levels. It
   a four-part, nationally televised program that        supports the ongoing efforts of aquariums and
   brought the oceans into thousands of class-         science centers to connect the public with the
   rooms across the country, with links to the         ocean realm and instill greater awareness for
   South Carolina Aquarium, the Aquarium            the public’s role in ocean protection.
   of the Americas in New Orleans, and the               With all other concerned citizens,
   Monterey Bay Aquarium.                    the Commission welcomes a new era of
      The Commission’s experiences point to         ocean literacy.
   an important opportunity to use the ocean
   world to advance public scientific understand-        FUNDING GOOD OCEAN GOVERNANCE
   ing in such disciplines as biology, chemistry,        Relative to the size of the public’s ocean
   physics, geology, mathematics, and engineer-         domain and to its value to society, the United
   ing. We saw outstanding examples of aquari-         States has substantially underinvested in
   ums and science centers helping the public          understanding and managing our oceans.
   connect with the marine world. In California         In fiscal year 2001, the United States spent a
   alone, the major aquariums attract as many as        little more than 3 billion dollars to manage
   six million visitors each year.               natural resources in 4.5 million square miles
      Restoring and sustaining the oceans          of U.S. ocean waters, an area 23 percent
   require broad public support. This support          larger than the landmass of the United States.
   begins with greater awareness of just how          By contrast, the federal government spent
   valuable—and vulnerable—the oceans are. It          more than 10 billion dollars to manage the
   is time to make a nationwide commitment to          one million square miles of federal public
   teach and learn about our oceans.              lands—and their natural resources—in the
      The Commission encourages greater col-        same year.* We are now spending 14 billion
   laboration among all levels of government and        dollars every year on space exploration, but a

   *Consists of the fiscal year 2001 budgets of the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park
   Service, and the U.S. Forest Service, with funding for state and private forestry initiatives backed out. This figure is
   conservative because it does not include the substantial expenditures for management of public lands administered
   by the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and other agencies.

plan recommended by a blue-ribbon panel
calling for 75 million dollars per year for
ocean exploration has so far been funded at
only 4 million dollars annually.
   In this report, the Commission urges the

                           George Grall/National Geographic Image Collection
nation to adopt a new national ocean policy
based on precaution, ecologically sustainable
use of marine resources and habitats, and
management on a regional ecosystem basis.
It recommends new laws and institutions,
better implementation of existing law, and
expanded scientific research. None of this can
happen without a substantially greater finan-
cial commitment. If properly executed, this                               Gulls near Cape Charles, Chesapeake Bay
investment will be paid back in the form of
                                                     restore California’s Sacramento River Delta is
abundant living ocean resources, prosperous
                                                     20 billion dollars. The Chesapeake Bay
fishing communities, and clean coastal
                                                     Program receives about 25 million dollars
oceans. For example, data compiled by the
                                                     annually from the federal government, with
National Marine Fisheries Service indicate that
                                                     the participating states contributing more than
restoring our fish stocks could yield an addi-
                                                     100 million dollars each year for various
tional 1.3 billion dollars annually from the
                                                     programs related to the health of the bay. Yet,
increased supply of seafood alone. Without an
                                                     this program barely holds its own with the
increased financial commitment to our
                                                     continued growth and development of the
oceans, we risk further decline in ocean
                                                     Chesapeake Bay watershed.
ecosystem health and serious consequences
                                                        Another approach to estimating costs is
for human well-being far into the future.
                                                     to look at the number of areas likely to need
                                                     some degree of restoration. A 1999 study by
                                                     NOAA looked at 138 estuaries along the coast
It is difficult to estimate how much all this will
                                                     of the conterminous United States and found
cost. Current coastal ecosystem restoration
                                                     that 44 estuaries exhibited signs of eutrophica-
efforts around the country provide some sense
                                                     tion and another 40 estuaries had moderate
of scale. The effort to partially restore the
                                                     degradation. If Chesapeake Bay is an indica-
Florida Everglades, for example, is estimated
                                                     tor, it will likely cost in the range of 10 to 100
to cost at least 7.8 billion dollars over the life
                                                     million dollars annually to address the
of the project, half of which would be federal
                                                     complex interactions of overfishing, land use,
funds. A nascent effort to reduce land loss in
                                                     and point and nonpoint source pollution that
the Mississippi River Delta is estimated to cost
                                                     lead to coastal environmental degradation in
14 billion dollars. The estimated cost to

                                                                 The Commission also recommends a
                                                              doubling of our nation’s commitment to
                                                              marine research, which would require an
                                                              additional 800 million dollars annually.
                                                                 The Commission recommends that ini-
                                                              tial expenditures include an increase in the
                                                              NOAA budget from 3 billion dollars to 6 bil-
                                                              lion dollars over the next five years. This

                                        Kip F. Evans/National Geographic Society
                                                              increase should allow NOAA to provide the
                                                              regional ocean ecosystem councils with 1 to 2
                                                              billion dollars annually. The regional ecosys-
                                                              tem councils should use these funds for moni-
                                                              toring, assessment, and characterization of
                                                              marine ecosystems, developing and imple-
                                                              menting comprehensive regional ocean gover-
Scientist and crew from the NOAA ship McArthur deploy a DeepWorker
                                                              nance plans, and coordinating among all lev-
submersible for an exploratory mission in the Gulf of the Farallones National
Marine Sanctuary.                                                     els of government with jurisdiction over activi-
          each estuary. Picking a conservative value of                              ties affecting the oceans.
          10 million dollars per year per estuary, it                                  In addition, significant increases in
          would require about a billion dollars annually                             funding will be needed for interagency coordi-
          just to address eutrophication in the lower 48                             nation and consultation to ensure that the fed-
          states. Additional investment will be required                             eral government is carrying out the National
          to prevent degradation of coastal and ocean                               Ocean Policy Act.
          waters that are currently relatively pristine.
             Based on the scope and the scale of                               PAYING FOR IT
          ocean and coastal environmental problems,                                Because it is in the national interest to protect,
          the Commission estimates the need for at least                             maintain, and restore our oceans, it is appro-
          an additional 2 to 5 billion dollars annually to                            priate that the federal government pay a signif-
          s establish regional ocean governance                                  icant share of these costs. However, the states
            councils;                                              must also participate, as they will share in the
          s assess the status of large marine ecosystems;                             benefits of healthy marine ecosystems. The
          s develop and implement regional ocean                                 main source of new federal funding will prob-
            governance plans;                                          ably be general revenue. However, revenue-
          s coordinate with ongoing programs at                                  generating programs that specifically address
            all scales;                                             ocean-related industries and services can also
          s undertake habitat protection and restoration                             be put in place.
            on the scale needed to restore and maintain                                The establishment of a permanent,
            the health of our oceans and coasts.                                dedicated federal fund for habitat protection,

restoration, and wildlife conservation would     fishery and the type of processing. In 2000,
provide a much-needed supplement to annual      commercial landings from all U.S. fisheries
appropriations for protecting and enhancing      were valued at 3.5 billion dollars. Thus, a one
coastal ecosystems. Congress is currently con-    percent tax on commercial landings would
sidering proposals that would provide states and   generate 35 million dollars in revenue.
local jurisdictions with more than 3 billion dol-      To ensure that the revenue generated
lars annually for wildlife conservation, habitat   from the public resource is reinvested in
protection, and other activities. The Commission   that resource, any revenue generated by
feels that funding of this type could pay for a    collecting rents, royalties, or taxes on seafood
substantial portion of state and local activities   should be deposited in a permanent, dedicated
required to protect and restore our oceans and    fund for fisheries conservation, research,
coasts, but that Congress should structure this    and management.
funding in a way that does not provide incen-        Fees collected for use of ports and
tives for new offshore oil and gas activity.     shipping channels presents another possible
   Additional revenue to offset the costs of    revenue-generating mechanism. The mainte-
managing fisheries and other living marine      nance of ports and shipping channels, while of
resources could be derived from a variety of     great economic value to the nation, has sub-
possible sources. One approach is to require     stantial environmental costs. Additional fees
some form of payment by the private users of     should be paid by the shipping industry to
public ocean resources. When public access to     address these impacts on the coastal
a fishery will be limited, as in fisheries managed  environment. The Harbor Maintenance Tax
by individual quotas, seeking some form of      has for many years generated substantial
compensation for access to the resource is par-    revenue for port and channel maintenance and
ticularly attractive. One approach is to auction   deepening. This tax (sometimes referred as a
quota shares for limited-access fisheries based    “fee”), which is collected on the value of mar-
on royalty bids. Auctions based on a percentage    itime cargo passing through our ports, has been
of value of the actual catch (a royalty) requires   curtailed after collecting the tax on exports was
no cash up front, is self-correcting for poor fish-  found to be unconstitutional. The European
ing seasons, and could be structured to allow     Union is now challenging its application to
family fishermen to remain competitive in       imports as a discriminatory trade practice.
the bidding process.                    A new channel maintenance fee based
   Another approach is to collect resource     on the draft of vessels, which ultimately drives
rents through some form of landings tax. The     channel-deepening efforts, could be devised
state of Alaska assesses a tax on processors of    to provide a significant, and legal, source of
Alaska seafood that generated 32.5 million      funding. Such fees could make channel-deep-
dollars in 2002 (ADR, 2002). The tax rate       ening projects, where needed, self-financing,
varies between one and five percent of the      and provide an ongoing source of revenue for
value of unprocessed fish, depending on the      environmental mitigation and enhancement.

            INCENTIVES MAKE SENSE                    and municipalities to reduce automobile
            In the chapters on coastal development and pol-       dependency and mitigate impacts of transporta-
            lution, the Commission has recommended that         tion projects. The reauthorization of this legisla-
            the current structure of federal development and      tion provides opportunities to link transporta-
            agricultural subsidies be examined to ensure        tion funding with improvements in land use
            that federal dollars are not exacerbating damage      and water quality. States should be given
            to coastal ecosystems. Specifically, the          greater flexibility to use state revolving-fund
            Commission recommends that federal funds for        money under the Clean Water Act to reduce
            agriculture, highway construction, and other        polluted runoff. These are just a few examples
            development should be contingent on progress        of how long-established spending patterns
            toward compliance with the Clean Water Act.         and programs can be shifted to provide sub-
            But this approach should not be based solely, or      stantial capital for environmental restoration
            even primarily, on disincentives. The substantial      and protection.
            subsidies provided in these areas should be             We have done great damage to our
            increasingly redirected toward positive actions.      oceans and coasts, and we now know that
                Many positive changes are already taking       environmental damage imposes substantial real
            place, such as enhancements to habitat protec-       costs to society in the form of lost ecological
            tion and restoration programs in the Farm Bill.       and economic goods and services. Repairing
            The Water Resources Development Act, which         this damage will not be easy or inexpensive,
            funds Army Corps projects, should devote          but it is incumbent on this generation to repair
            increased funding to prevent and restore envi-       the damage done by it and its predecessors so
            ronmental damage. The Transportation Equity         that future generations are not forced to bear
            Act of 2001 has provided flexibility for states       that burden.
   Tom & Pat Leeson

            Although protected from hunting that nearly drove them to extinction, sea otters face threats from coastal pollution,
            habitat disturbances, and the ripple effects of overfishing on ocean food webs.
              Chapter Nine
                                                                 Point Sur Lighthouse
                                                                       © Kip F. Evans

             Over the past two years, the Pew Oceans            We take our oceans for granted. We must view our
             Commission has heard from thousands of            oceans as a public trust, and handle them in a way
             Americans from Maine to Hawaii, the Gulf of          that ensures that living marine resources are there
             Mexico to Alaska. We have considered the lat-             for our children and for future generations.
             est scientific information regarding our           Leon E. Panetta
                                            Chair of the Pew Oceans Commission
             oceans. In the midst of unease and even alarm        An excerpt from Mr. Panetta’s testimony before the
                                            U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Washington, D.C.
             about our oceans, we have heard expressions
                                            October 30, 2002
             of hope and seen signs of success. Marine life
                                            weathered storms for centuries with simple
             rebounds within marine reserves where hooks
                                            tools, our nation can navigate today’s troubled
             and nets are forbidden. Striped bass, severely
                                            seas. We know what we need: a compass, a
             depleted along our Atlantic shores, made a
                                            chart, and the wind in our sails. That compass
             remarkable comeback when given a chance.
                                            is a strong ocean ethic, the chart is a new
             Seabirds, kelp beds, and fish communities
                                            legal framework, and the wind is our national
             returned to the coastal waters off Los Angeles
                                            will. The commitment of leaders and citizens
             after waste discharges were reduced.
                                            alike is needed to steer us to healthy oceans.
                 But such successes will remain the
             exception rather than the rule until we chart a
                                            THE COMPASS: AN OCEAN ETHIC
             new course for ocean management.
                                            In recent decades, our nation has made great
                 Our country must articulate a clear,
                                            strides in environmental and natural resource
             strong commitment to our oceans. As mariners
                                            protection. We fought back at the sight of lit-
                                            ter, fouled rivers, and sooty air. We discovered
                                            a national conscience and articulated an
                                            environmental ethic.
                                               Our vast oceans—the final frontier on
                                            this planet—are now showing the same signs of
                                            stress that mobilized our nation 30 years ago.
                                            Pollution, poorly guided development, and
                                            habitat-destroying fishing practices are a sam-
                                            pling of humanity’s heavy hand on the oceans.
                                            We are altering ecosystems and their capacity
                                            to support marine life, as well as their ability to
© Kip F. Evans

                                            provide the goods and services that we have
                                            grown to expect without thinking, just as we
         Rising some 400 feet above the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean,  take for granted the beating of our hearts.
         the Point Sur Lighthouse alerts ships to the dangers of the treach-
                                               Extending strong environmental protec-
         erous Big Sur coastline.

   tion to the oceans is both a practical measure
   to preserve the ecological benefits that we
   require as a species and our moral obligation
   as the stewards of our planet.
      It is time we apply this ethic to our
   oceans, our country’s largest public resource.


                             © Lou
   A mariner turns to the charts in preparation
   for a voyage. Likewise, it is time for America
   to lay out a new policy that guides the nation
   toward healthy oceans.                         Sailboat off Newport, Rhode Island
      Congress and the President should
   begin by enacting a National Ocean Policy               ocean. We should identify those areas critical
   Act, significantly adjusting our nation’s atti-            to the functioning of productive coastal and
   tude toward the sea and establishing the stan-             marine ecosystems and place these areas
   dards and expectations necessary to achieve              off limits to harmful activities.
   healthy, productive, and resilient marine                   The United States should restore its
   ecosystems. This action will facilitate a host of           degraded marine ecosystems actively and
   other changes including necessary adjustments             aggressively. These systems are tremendously
   in existing fisheries, pollution, and coastal             valuable. Although most areas will never
   management policies to protect ocean health.              return to a pristine condition, we can at least
      Achieving the Commission’s vision for              restore the function and productivity of many
   our oceans requires action in the following              of these systems.
   critical areas: do no more harm to the oceans,
   protect pristine areas, and restore degraded              THE WIND IN THE SAILS: LEADERS AND
   marine ecosystems. To do no more harm, we               CITIZENS ALIKE
   must stop excessive fishing of already over-              Even with a new sense of direction and a
   fished stocks, end wasteful bycatch and                chart to guide us, we still need the power to
   unnecessary habitat damage from fishing gears             make it happen. Charting a new course for the
   and practices, reduce the polluted runoff from             oceans will not be easy. It will take the time
   our city streets and farmlands, and curtail              and dedication of countless individuals to
   harmful development practices that degrade               work for—and demand—healthy oceans for
   water quality and destroy coastal habitat.               our children and for ourselves.
      We must place a premium on protecting                  A legacy of healthy oceans requires a
   and maintaining those areas that are relatively            national commitment from government, the
   healthy and pristine, both on land and in the             private sector, and citizens alike. The commit-

               ment must start with leadership from the      vative effort will accomplish what the
               President and Congress taking action on the     Commission’s work alone cannot—compel
               necessary reforms to national laws and policies.  action through leadership, not crisis.
               Our governors should reinvigorate state efforts      This Commission has a vision of how the
               and expand the partnership with the federal     health of our oceans and coasts can be restored
               government for coastal protection and manage-    and protected. It is a vision based on the princi-
               ment begun 30 years ago. Finally, we need a     ple that we must treat our oceans as a public
               commitment from industry to reform its prac-    trust to be managed for the common good. It
               tices and from individuals to take responsibility  recognizes that the land and ocean are interre-
               for the impact of their choices on our oceans.   lated and that we must work regionally and
                                         locally to protect our ocean ecosystems and the
                                         watersheds that sustain them. The outcomes of
                                         this vision are healthy and plentiful marine life,
               We confront an ethical, environmental, and     thriving fishing communities, clean beaches and
               economic challenge that requires our nation     coastal waters, and healthful seafood.
               to realign its posture toward the sea. Changing      We invite the American public to join
               our policy course requires knowing where we     with us to launch a national effort in behalf of
               want to go, applying the great energy required   future generations—to understand, restore,
               to overcome inertia, and taking action in time   and protect the bountiful life and habitats in
               to avert disaster. Only a concerted and inno-    our vast ocean and coastal waters.
Photo ©

               Orca, North Pacific Ocean

                                      Part Three

California garibaldi in a kelp forest, Santa Catalina Island, California
© Chuck Davis/
© Lou

          1. DEVELOP A NEW NATIONAL                   information, exercise precaution in favor
          OCEAN POLICY.                         of conservation.
                                       s Use the best available scientific, social, and
          Enact a National Ocean Policy Act.
          s Congress should enact a National Ocean            economic information to make decisions.
                                       s Support research and education to
           Policy Act (NOPA) that, at a minimum,
           • addresses geographic and institutional          improve basic understanding of marine
             fragmentation by providing a unifying          ecosystems, and apply this information
             set of principles and standards for           to ecosystem management.
           • establishes processes to improve coordi-       Through NOPA, establish the following
             nation among governments, institutions,       standards to guide ocean governance.
                                       s Actions affecting United States’ ocean
             users of ocean resources, and the public;
           • provides adequate funding to accom-            waters or ocean resources must be
             plish these goals.                   conducted in a manner consistent with the
                                         protection and maintenance of healthy
                                         marine ecosystems† and the restoration of
          Through NOPA, reformulate national ocean
          policy to make healthy marine ecosystems            degraded marine ecosystems.
                                       s Any action that may significantly affect
          the priority.
          s Establish the main objective of the new           United States’ ocean waters or ocean
           national policy as the protection, mainte-         resources will not be permitted unless
           nance, and restoration of the health of           and until it is demonstrated that the action,
           marine ecosystems.                     individually or in combination with other
          s Require that marine resources be used            actions, will not significantly harm a marine
           in an ecologically sustainable manner.*           ecosystem, nor impede its restoration.
          s Manage ocean activities consistent with
           the protection, maintenance, and restora-        Establish a strong implementation and
           tion of marine biological diversity.          compliance regime.
          s In the case of uncertain or inadequate          s Any federal agency proposing an action

          *The Commission recommends defining ”ecologically sustainable” to mean maintaining biological diversity, or ecosystem
          structure and functioning from one human generation to the next, so as not to deny future generations the goods and ser-
          vices provided by marine ecosystems that are enjoyed today (adapted from the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic
          Living Marine Resources).

          †”Healthy marine ecosystem” refers to the capability of an ecosystem to support and maintain a productive and resilient
          community of organisms that has a species composition, diversity, and functional organization comparable to the natural
          habitat of the region. Such an ecosystem is capable of providing a range of ecological goods and services to people and other
          species in amounts and at rates comparable to those that could be provided by a similar undisturbed ecosystem.

  (including a license or permit) that is likely     to incorporate new scientific informa-
  to significantly affect U.S. ocean waters       tion or sound management concerns.
  or ocean resources must consult with the
  head of the National Oceans Agency.       The councils are charged with developing
  The agency head will determine whether      regional ocean governance plans.
                          s Enforceable regional ocean governance
  the proposed action is likely to harm the
  health of a marine ecosystem. If so, the      plans should be developed in compliance
  ocean agency head will recommend          with NOPA to protect, maintain, and
  changes to the proposed action to bring it     restore marine ecosystems. At a minimum,
  into compliance with the national stan-       these plans should address
  dards.                       • management of living marine resources;
s Each agency proposing an action is          • protection of habitat;
  ultimately responsible for compliance        • protection of water quality;
  with the national policy and standards.       • management of development affecting
                             marine ecosystem health.
                          s Regional plans are subject to the approval
                            of the new federal oceans agency.
Establish regional ocean ecosystem coun-
cils.                        Regional councils should be representative
s As part of the National Ocean Policy Act,     and democratic.
                          s Federal, state, and tribal authorities
  Congress should establish regional ocean
  ecosystem councils that focus on the        with jurisdiction over ocean space and
  state/federal relationship at the regional     resources in a region constitute the execu-
  scale and consist of appropriate federal,      tive decision-making core of regional
  state, and tribal representatives.         ocean ecosystem councils.
s The major task of the regional councils is    s Participation by the broadest possible
  to develop and oversee the implementa-       range of stakeholders—including local
  tion of comprehensive regional ocean gov-      government officials, fishermen and other
  ernance plans.                   ocean resource users, and the general pub-
s The councils’ geographic boundaries         lic—should occur through a robust and
  should be defined by statute and estab-       influential advisory process.
                          s Regional plans are required to be consis-
  lished initially to coincide with the
  jurisdictional boundaries of the regional      tent with the national policy and standards
  fishery management councils established       of NOPA.
  by the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
  • Boundaries may be adjusted within a      Regional ocean governance plans should
    few years, and as necessary thereafter,   be based on science.

   s Councils should establish a science       s States are required to comply with
    advisory committee to provide indepen-       enforceable policies of approved plans.
                            s The federal government can preempt
    dent advice and, where appropriate,
    peer review.                    state actions not in compliance with a
   s Regional ocean governance plans should       regional plan.
                            s Third parties, through citizen suits
    assess the history and state of the marine
    ecosystems in the region, including influ-     under NOPA, can sue in federal court
    ences from adjacent terrestrial ecosystems.    to compel compliance of any party
   s Plans should identify key threats to marine    (including the regional ocean ecosystem
    ecosystem health in the region and gaps      council as an entity) with a regional
    in knowledge and information.           ocean governance plan.
   s Plans should provide for the development    s Default regional plans, developed by the
    and monitoring of criteria and indicators     lead federal oceans agency, should be
    of the health of marine ecosystems in       imposed in the event that a regional ocean
    a region.                     council fails to develop an approvable
   s Plans should establish clear and measura-     plan within a reasonable time.
    ble management and restoration goals for
    marine ecosystem health.            Regional ocean ecosystem councils should
                            coordinate with regional fishery manage-
   Council plans should be clearly          ment councils and other relevant entities.
                            s Regional ocean councils should review
   s NOPA requires federal agencies to comply      proposed state, federal, and regional gov-
    with enforceable policies of an approved      ernment actions and advise the agencies
    regional ocean governance plan.          proposing these activities on consistency
   s The consistency authority of the Coastal      with regional ocean governance plans.
                            s Regional ocean councils should coordinate
    Zone Management Act should be expand-
    ed to include regional ocean governance      among these authorities to ensure that
    plans. This will allow states to hold federal   ecosystem health is taken into account at
    actions to consistency with regional ocean     all levels of government.
                            s Regional ocean councils should leave day-
    governance plans.
   s States can appeal federal actions not in      to-day management to the appropriate
    compliance with a regional plan to the       authorities. For example, federal fisheries
    National Oceans Agency and/or seek         management would remain the purview of
    injunctive relief in federal court.        the National Marine Fisheries Service and
   s Regional councils should assign clear roles    the appropriate regional fishery manage-
    and responsibilities among authorities.      ment council.

s The National Marine Fisheries Service and    • greater say-so in the management of
 the fishery management councils           marine resources throughout the
 must ensure that their actions are consis-     Exclusive Economic Zone.
 tent with applicable regional ocean
 governance plan(s).              Regional ocean ecosystem councils should
s The regional ocean ecosystem councils’     use zoning as part of their regional gover-
 role would be to consult with these entities  nance plans.
                         s Regional councils should utilize ocean
 regarding ecosystem concerns related to
 fisheries management, and to periodically    zoning to improve marine conservation,
 assess overall progress toward achievement    actively plan ocean use, and reduce
 of the goals and policies of the regional    user conflicts.
 ocean governance plans.            s Regional ocean governance plans should
s Regional ocean governance plans need to     consider a full range of zoning options.
 be informed by the expertise and latest     This includes marine protected areas, areas
 thinking of fishery management councils,     designated for fishing, oil and gas develop-
 metropolitan planning organizations,       ment, as well as other commercial and
 national estuary and watershed councils,     recreational activities.
                         s Ocean zoning should be implemented
 and other local and regional authorities.
                          using a sequential building-block
Strong incentives for participation        approach, starting with priority areas and
should be provided.                essential components—such as marine
s Substantial federal funding should be pro-    reserves—first.
 vided for the development and implemen-     • Initially, area-based management should
 tation (including enforcement) of regional     begin with coordinating existing zones
 ocean governance plans, the operation of      in the ocean, such as areas closed to
 regional ocean councils, and for ongoing      fishing, shipping lanes, and areas for oil
 monitoring and assessment.             and gas extraction.
s States should be required to provide some    • During this period, at a minimum, the
 level of matching funds.              legislative moratorium that prohibits oil
s Nonfinancial incentives for state and local     and gas development in certain ocean
 government include                 areas should continue. Thereafter, any
 • improved resource productivity through      Congressional action to revise the
   comprehensive, ecosystem-based man-       moratorium should take into considera-
   agement from 0 to 200 miles offshore;      tion the recommendations contained in
 • harmonization of state and federal        the regional ocean governance and
   management of marine resources;         zoning plans, and should be consistent

       with the national ocean policy of pro-          conservation and management planning
       tection and maintenance of healthy            and implementation authority to establish
       ocean ecosystems.                     marine reserves or networks of marine
     • Over the next decade, ocean zoning             reserves within designated marine protect-
       should be applied more broadly on a            ed areas (i.e., the National Marine
       regional basis to comprehensively plan          Sanctuaries Program, National Parks,
       and manage all activities in the oceans.         National Wildlife Refuges).

                                  The new national oceans agency should
                                  manage the national system of marine
   Congress should provide a mandate and            reserves.
                                  s The agency should be responsible for the
   authority for designating a national system
   of marine reserves.                       development, implementation and man-
   s The regional ocean ecosystem councils             agement of reserves created under new
     should be empowered to designate areas            authority in federal waters and for the
     of regional importance as marine reserves           coordination of federal agencies managing
     or networks of marine reserves. These             marine reserves under existing authority.
                                  s The agency should work with the states
     reserves should reflect regional priorities
     and protect significant species and habi-           and regional ecosystem councils to co-
     tats.                             manage reserves that contain federal and
   s Congress should direct the national oceans           state waters and coordinate with other fed-
     agency, working in coordination with             eral agencies, such as the Department of
     regional ocean ecosystem councils, to             the Interior, where federal land is adjacent
     establish an inventory of potential reserves         to protected waters.
     and nominate areas for Congress to con-
     sider including in the national reserve sys-       A national system of marine reserves
     tem.                           should encompass significant portions of
   s Congress should designate areas of special         ecosystems and multiple habitats, includ-
     national significance as marine reserves.         ing both benthic and pelagic components.

   Continue efforts to establish marine             The establishment of marine reserves
   reserves under existing authority.              should not await action on a comprehen-
   s Federal agencies should use their existing         sive ocean zoning program.

   *A marine reserve is a type of marine protected area in which all extractive, additive, or ecologically destructive
   human activities are prohibited on a lasting basis, except as necessary for evaluation of reserve effectiveness and
   appropriate research. Destructive human activities include, but are not limited to, those that alter habitats, harm or
   kill organisms, or change the dynamics of the ecosystem.

OCEANS AGENCY.                        OCEANS COUNCIL.
Congress should establish a National             Establish by statute a permanent national
Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency as an             oceans council within the Executive Office
independent agency outside the                of the President. Its objectives will be to
                               s provide well-structured interagency
Department of Commerce.
s The agency’s main objective is to                coordination on oceans issues and
  oversee the implementation of NOPA               resolve interagency disputes on NOPA
  on a national scale.                      implementation;
s This agency should consist, at a minimum, of        s facilitate coordination among federal
  • the current bureaus and programs of             programs that have substantial effects
    NOAA;*                           on the ocean but are outside the national
  • the ocean minerals program of the              oceans agency. These include defense
    Minerals Management Service                operations, programs affecting coastal
    (Department of the Interior);               water quality at USDA and the Department
  • the marine mammal and seabird juris-             of Transportation, and the conduct of
    diction and programs of the U.S. Fish           international ocean policy at the State
    and Wildlife Service (to place all ocean          Department;
                               s make recommendations to the President
    wildlife under the jurisdiction of the
    oceans agency);                      regarding resolution of interagency disputes
  • the Chesapeake Bay Program and the              that cannot be resolved by the council;
                               s ensure that all agencies are complying
    National Estuaries Program at EPA;
  • coastal and marine components of EPA’s            with the National Ocean Policy Act;
                               s coordinate and certify agency ocean budg-
    Environmental Assessment and Monitor-
    ing Program (to create a unified coastal          ets regarding national ocean policy.
    and marine monitoring capability);
  • aquaculture programs for marine             Implement a Council structure that
    species at USDA;                    empowers the new national oceans agency
  • shoreline protection (beach renourish-          to lead on ocean issues.
                               s Designate the head of the national
    ment and coastal erosion prevention)
    activities of the Army Corps of              oceans agency as chair of the new national
    Engineers.                         oceans council.

*Since the U.S. Coast Guard has been transferred to the new Department of Homeland Security, the Commission decided not
to recommend that it be included in the new national oceans agency. However, the Coast Guard’s environmental enforcement
and oil and hazardous materials spills responsibilities are important safeguards for the nation’s marine resources, and it will be
vital that the Coast Guard continue to uphold these missions within the new department. The Coast Guard’s presence on the
water will likely increase because of national security concerns, which may result in greater opportunities for fisheries and envi-
ronmental monitoring and enforcement.

            s Specify council membership by law to     Executive Office of the President. The
             include                   position should be required by law and
             • Secretary of the Interior;         the national oceans adviser should
             • Administrator of the EPA;         • be named executive director of the
             • Secretary of State;              national oceans council;
             • Secretary of Defense;           • have a small staff to service
             • Secretary of Agriculture;           the council;
             • Secretary of Transportation;        • advise the President on ocean issues
             • Secretary of Homeland Security;        in general, matters related to the
             • Director of the Office of Management     National Ocean Policy Act, and actions
               and Budget;                 of the council.
                                   s Establish a Deputies Committee at the
             • Director of the National Science
               Foundation;                assistant secretary level for day-to-day
             • Other department and agency heads     implementation of policy, to prepare issues
               who from time to time are directed by   for the council, and to oversee implemen-
               the President to attend.         tation of council and presidential deci-
            s Establish a position of national oceans    sions. The national oceans adviser should
             adviser to the President within the     chair the Deputies Committee.
   Joel W. Rogers

            West Point Lighthouse, Seattle, Washington

Chapter Eleven
                                          Lobster buoys in York, Maine
                                          Deb Antonini/Pew Oceans Commission

Congress should amend the Magnuson-Stevens     Develop specific, measurable criteria and
Act and other applicable fisheries laws to codify  indicators for the health and integrity of
the following recommendations as national      marine ecosystems.
                          s Conduct a Committee of Scientists process
marine fishery policy.
                           similar to that followed under the National
                           Forest Management Act.
s The principal objective of American fishery    Create a clear separation between conser-
  policy should be to protect the long-term    vation and allocation decisions in the fish-
  health and viability of fisheries by protect-  ery-management planning process.
                          s Core conservation decisions should be
  ing, maintaining, and restoring the health,
  integrity, productive capacity, and        made by the NMFS, or a revamped fishery
  resilience of the marine ecosystems upon      service within a new independent oceans
  which they depend. This objective should      agency. These decisions should originate at
  apply to all U.S. ocean waters.          the regional offices with oversight by the
s The socioeconomic objective of American       national headquarters office. At a mini-
  marine fishery policy should be to         mum, these decisions include setting
  conserve and manage fisheries in order       • ecologically safe levels of exploitation
  to support diversity, flexibility, resilience,    (total catch and bycatch limits);
  and adaptability within the industry and      • specific habitat and area protections;
  fishing communities.                • specific protected species requirements
                             (threatened and endangered marine
Establish an explicit statutory priority         mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, and
between these objectives.                fish).
s In cases of conflict between objectives      s Conservation decisions should be based
  or in cases where information is uncertain     upon recommendations from regional
  or inconclusive, the principal ecological     science and technical teams—composed
  objective should always take precedence      of federal, state, and academic scientists.
  over the socioeconomic objective, for       • Regional science groups should recom-
  the simple reason that achieving social        mend ecologically safe catch limits and
  and economic objectives depends upon         other conservation criteria for a fishery
  healthy ecosystems.                  management plan, informed by—and

       consistent with—goals, indicators, and          scientific audits by the National Academy
       targets of a regional ecosystem plan.          of Sciences, or both.*
     • The work of the regional science groups
       should be regularly subject to inde-         Allow citizen suits.
                                 s Include a citizen suit provision in fishery
       pendent peer review.
   s The regional fishery councils should make           conservation and management laws like
     allocation decisions.                    those in most other major federal environ-
     • Allow individual fisheries to develop           mental statutes. Citizens must be allowed
       their own allocation plans pursuant to          to hold fishery managers who violate the
       approval and coordination of plans by          law accountable, or to force reluctant or
       the regional fishery councils.              negligent fishery management agencies to
                                   enforce the law.†
     • Allow regional councils to improve
       upon or set higher conservation stan-
       dards than those established in federal       3. IMPLEMENT ECOSYSTEM-BASED
       law or by NMFS, but ensure that estab-        PLANNING AND ZONING.
       lished conservation standards are not        Implement affirmative planning and
       undercut in the allocation process.         management.
                                 s Prohibit fishing without an approved plan.
     • NMFS should retain authority to review a
                                 s Require management of core problems
       council’s allocation decisions for con-
       sistency with conservation.               such as bycatch, habitat damage, and
     • NMFS should retain responsibility for           overcapacity as a condition of fishing.
                                 s Require a cooperative data-collection and
       implementation after the conservation
       and allocation planning processes are          planning program for existing fisheries
       completed.                        where information is inadequate to deter-
                                   mine whether overexploitation is occur-
   Create a mechanism that regularly provides           ring. Such programs should be modeled on
   independent scientific oversight.                an emerging fisheries policy.
                                 s Enact an emerging fisheries policy.††
   s Establish a Marine Fisheries Oversight
     Commission along the lines of the Marine           • The purpose of the policy should be to
     Mammal Commission, or require periodic             allow industry development of new fish-

   *An independent commission would likely exert more effective and consistent oversight by staying involved in
   ongoing planning, participating in decision-making processes as events occur rather than after the fact, and building
   institutional memory.

   †The Commission has no desire to see the federal courts manage marine fisheries, but allowing citizens to seek
   redress through the courts is part of our constitutional system of checks and balances and a central element of good

   ††Concepts  from Alaska’s Emerging Fishery Policy informed the development of this recommendation.

   eries in a manner that promotes sound       fishery management plans to proactively
   scientific management and long-term        partition planned areas into sections desig-
   conservation of the resources being        nated for specific uses.
   developed and the relevant ecosystem.       • Areas not designated for particular uses
 • Potential development of new fisheries        should be closed to those uses.
   should be allowed through exploratory       • Managers should evaluate the life histo-
   fishing permits. To obtain such a permit,      ry and habitat requirements of species
   applicants should work with the relevant       to determine the appropriate types of
   fishery management authority to develop       area management tools to employ,
   a research and management plan detail-        including spatial and temporal closures,
   ing how the necessary stock assessment        spawning closures, habitat protection
   and other research on and management         areas, bycatch reduction areas, and
   of the stocks proposed for the new fish-       marine reserves.
   ery will be funded and conducted.         • Closed areas should be a required ele-
 • Matching grants should be available for        ment for any fishery management plan
   the industry to assist with management        in which there is substantial uncertainty
   and administrative costs.              or lack of information about the status
 • If approved, the new fishery should only       of heavily exploited major fishery
   be allowed to expand if accumulated         stocks.
   knowledge shows the fishery can grow
   in an ecologically sustainable manner.     4. REGULATE USE OF FISHING GEAR THAT
                           IS DESTRUCTIVE TO MARINE HABITATS.
Implement ecosystem-based fishery          Create a fishing-gear zoning program
management.                     designed to protect seafloor habitats from
s Make marine ecosystems the organizing       the adverse impacts of fishing practices.
 principle for fishery management.         The program should have an immediate
s Require that fishery management plans are     and a transition phase. Regulations should
 developed based upon consideration of       be developed immediately to
                           s prohibit the use of mobile bottom fishing
 how the entire ecosystem that supports the
 fishery will be affected by fishing.         gear in habitat areas known to be especial-
s Redefine overfishing in an ecosystem context     ly sensitive to disturbance from such gear,
 to consider the level of fishing that has detri-   including but not limited to coral-reef and
 mental effects in the ecosystem, even though     deepwater coral habitats, complex rocky
 it may not harm a particular target species.     bottoms, seamounts, kelp forests, seagrass
                            beds, and sponge habitats;
                           s prevent expansion of mobile bottom gear
Apply zoning in fishery management plans.
s Incorporate comprehensive zoning within       into geographical areas where it is not

     presently employed;                       to determine fisheries dependent on
   s prevent expansion of the numbers of                such gear;
     vessels employing mobile bottom gear by           • providing funding to replace gear in
     • restricting the numbers of licenses,              fisheries that cannot be viably conduct-
       permits, or endorsements to no more             ed without mobile bottom gear.
                                 s Fund a gear-modification research program
       than current fleet sizes;
     • allowing transfers of licenses only to           to redesign mobile bottom gear to reduce
       gears that are documented to have            habitat damage in fisheries that cannot be
       lower impacts on habitats;                viably fished without such gear.
                                 s Close areas to mobile bottom gear fishing
     • allowing reentry of latent mobile gear
       effort only with gears documented to           if NMFS fails to implement the zoning
       have lower impacts on habitats.             regime by the end of five years, unless and
                                   until it has been determined that the best
   Over a five-year transition period, imple-           available science indicates such gear can
   ment a zoning regime that (a) limits bottom           be used without altering or destroying
   trawling and dredging to only those areas            important or significant amounts of habitat
   where best available science indicates that           or reducing biodiversity.
   such gear can be used without altering or
   destroying important or significant             5. REQUIRE BYCATCH MONITORING AND
   amounts of habitat; and (b) closes all other        MANAGEMENT PLANS AS A CONDITION
   areas to these fishing practices.              OF FISHING.*
   s Convene an independent panel to              s The statutory goal of these plans
     develop rigorous scientific criteria and           should be to reduce bycatch to levels
     implement a science-based process              approaching zero.
                                 s The statutory definition of bycatch should
     for designating zones open to mobile
     bottom gear fishing.                     be broadened to include incidental mortal-
   s Implement a gear-substitution program             ity of all nontarget species (fish and other
     to reduce the use of mobile bottom gear by          living marine resources), and mortality by
     • conducting a viability assessment             lost or abandoned gear.

   *The Commission’s investigation identified the following principles to guide bycatch management:
    – timely collection, compilation, and analysis of data are fundamental to conservation and management; onboard
     observer programs are the most effective bycatch monitoring scheme and should be used wherever practicable;
    – successful bycatch management must be tailored to the specific set of circumstances for each fishery, gear type,
     ecosystem, and species;
    – effective bycatch monitoring and reduction programs usually depend on a complementary combination of tech-
     nology and management measures;
    – involving fishermen in the bycatch decision-making process is critical for buy-in with outcomes and innovation;
    – scientifically established bycatch limits are necessary for conservation and to encourage innovation by fishermen;
    – a specific trigger, rather than just a broad mandate to monitor and minimize bycatch, is required to bring the nec-
     essary parties to the negotiating table and compel them to develop bycatch plans.

s Bycatch plans should include, at a            6. REQUIRE COMPREHENSIVE ACCESS
                              AND ALLOCATION PLANNING AS A
                              CONDITION OF FISHING.*
  • an observer program or other appropri-
                              Establish a mandatory national policy to
   ate, effective monitoring scheme;
                              guide development of fishery allocation
  • total fishing mortality limits that include
                              plans. Each allocation plan should, at a
  • a requirement that bycatch mortality be
                              s limit access and entry to all fisheries to
   factored into stock assessments.
s The National Marine Fisheries Service            help shape and match the size of fishing
                               fleets and their catching capacity to the
  should establish by regulation national cri-
                               health of exploited populations and the
  teria that determine what constitutes an
                               integrity, productive capacity, and
  adequate and appropriate bycatch moni-
                               resilience of marine ecosystems;
  toring and minimization plan under differ-
                              s implement precautionary total allowable
  ent circumstances (e.g., minimum observer
                               catches (TAC), or alternative fishing privi-
  coverage levels). Only plans that meet
                               leges that demonstrably control exploita-
  these criteria and applicable federal laws
                               tion within ecologically safe limits;
  should be approved.
                              s allocate privileges in ways that properly
s Each fishery should be allowed to develop
                               align incentives, allow for the orderly
  its own plan. A tightly constructed stake-
                               operation of a fishery (e.g., individual
  holder process modeled on the Marine
                               or community fishing quota programs),
  Mammal Protection Act Take Reduction
                               and maintain flexibility, resilience, and
  Teams should be the principal mechanism
                               adaptability within the industry and
  to develop these plans. The lobster zone
                               fishing communities;
  councils used in the Maine lobster fishery
                              s reduce fishing capacity where necessary,
  provide another potential model.
s Individual bycatch quotas for valuable           using transitional buyback programs
                               and providing other transition assistance
  fish species (except threatened and
                               for displaced fishermen and affected
  endangered species) could be used to
                               fishing communities;
  manage bycatch. Conservative catch quo-
                              s recover an appropriate share of the contin-
  tas should be set for species, accounting
                               uing costs of fisheries management,
  for intended and unintended catch.
                               enforcement, and research as well as addi-
  Fishermen should be allowed to keep fish
                               tional funds to mitigate potential adverse
  they catch within conservative limits,
                               effects of fishery allocation plans on indi-
  rather than being forced to discard and
                               viduals and communities;
  waste one species because they are in a
                              s be subject to a double referendum where a
  target fishery for another.

*Several aspects of this recommendation are modeled on the California Restricted Access policy.

     super majority of the permit/license              and fishing power goal appropriate for
     holders in a fishery approves the initial            the fishery and require mechanisms and
     development as well as implementation              schedules for achieving that goal if the
     of the plan;                          fishery has excess capacity. Capacity
   s be reviewed at least every five years. If            goals should be based upon appropriate
     appropriate, the plan should be revised to           ecological, social, and economic analy-
     ensure it continues to meet the objectives           ses of the relevant fishery and ecosys-
     of this policy, the public interest, other rel-         tem. The goal should be stated as a
     evant laws and regulations, and fishery             clear, measurable, and objective factor,
     participants.                          or set of factors, that fairly represent the
                                     catching capacity or fishing power of
   If a fishery or regional fishery management            the fleet.
   council fails to revise or update an imple-           • Each fishery should design a mandatory
   mentation and allocation plan when                 apprenticeship program to create a
   required, a default plan should be imposed             mechanism for new entrants to the fish-
   by the federal fishery agency.                   ery. These programs should foster
                                     improved stewardship through training
   Limit access and entry to all fisheries.              in conservation and responsible fishing
   s Subject all participants in U.S. fisheries to          practices. Only those prospective new
     permitting or licensing, both a general fish-          entrants who complete the program can
     ing permit/license as well as fishery-             receive a license.
     specific permits/licenses.
     • Require that limited access/entry pro-         Apply fishing privileges, such as precau-
       grams be designed to keep the level of        tionary total allowable catches (TACs),
       catching capacity and fishing power in        known to effectively control exploitation
       any fishery slightly under the level that      within ecologically safe limits.
                                 s Implement a three-year monitoring pro-
       is ecologically sustainable. For some
       severely depleted fisheries, it will be         gram for any fisheries that use indirect
       necessary to develop a plan to reduce          approaches* to limit catches in order to
       capacity initially and to provide a           determine if the fishery can keep catches
       mechanism that allows appropriate            below the target TAC.
                                 s Impose default TACs if the monitoring pro-
       increases in catching capacity as the
       stock rebuilds.                     gram shows that catches are exceeding the
     • Each plan should set a catch capacity           biologically safe limits.

   *By definition, indirect approaches to limit exploitation of fish populations, such as reducing the number of allowed
   fishing days, do not directly control the amount of catch. The Commission’s investigation identified that indirect
   approaches are unreliable and inefficient.

Allocate fishing privileges to align incen-       fishing communities resulting from
tives, allow for the orderly operation of a       the transition to adaptive, ecosystem-
fishery, and maintain flexibility, resilience,     based management;
and adaptability within the industry and       • assess the performance of the program
fishing communities.                  to ensure it continues to meet the
s Individual or community fishing quotas        objectives of the national policy;
  (IQs or CQs), if properly monitored and      • revise the program if it fails to
  enforced, appear to be among the more        meet clear conservation performance
  effective allocation mechanisms.           standards, timetables, and other
s For instances where IQs or CQs are chosen       evaluation criteria.
  to allocate direct catch limits, they should   3. Prevent excessive consolidation and
  be implemented according to the following      concentration of economic power by
  three national standards:              establishing an excessive shares cap to
  1. Periodically allocate quota using a com-     limit the amount of quota any one per-
   bination of catch history records, bids      son or corporation can own.
   in the form of offered royalty payments
   on the catch, and conservation commit-   Reduce fishing capacity, where necessary,
   ments offered by the bidder.        with transitional buyback programs and
  • Partition quota into different categories  provide other transition assistance for
   for different types of fishing operations  displaced fishermen and affected fishing
   before being auctioned—some for large    communities. Such programs should
                         s retire capacity permanently rather than
   vessels and corporations, some for
   owner operators and smaller vessels,      allowing it to shift to other fisheries;
                         s restrict activation of latent fishing capacity
   some for new entrants, etc. Quota
   should also not be transferable among     in the buyback fishery;
                         s reduce the incentives and subsidies
   these different categories.
  • Place royalty payments in a secure fund     that could encourage remaining fishery
   to be used initially for buybacks and     participants to increase their fish-
   community economic development and       catching capacity.
   then for cost recovery. Funds beyond
   cost recovery should go toward       7. ESTABLISH A PERMANENT
   improved fishery research, manage-     FISHERY CONSERVATION AND
   ment, and enforcement.           MANAGEMENT TRUST FUND.
                         s The fund should be available without
  2. Regularly review and evaluate quota
   programs to                  appropriation or fiscal year limitation.
                         s It should be used only for the purposes of
  • maintain flexibility in anticipation
   of changes within the industry and       improving fishery research, data collection,

                          management, enforcement, and habitat         munity, and appropriate local governments
                          restoration. In the first 5 to 10 years of      to ensure that revenues are apportioned
                          operation, it should also be available for      fairly and wisely.
                                                    s The fund should not be used to defray the
                          transitional buyback and community
                          development programs.                 general costs of government or to absolve
                        s Revenues should be applied within the          the federal government of responsibility to
                          region where they were collected.           fund fishery and ecological research and
                        s Within regions, the fund should be           science.
                                                    s Potential revenue sources for the fund
                          shared fairly among the federal govern-
                          ment and state programs for coastal          include, but should not be limited to
                          fishery management.                  • revenues generated by royalty payments
                        s The Secretary of Commerce should appoint          on landed catch (calculated as a per-
                          regional advisory panels with equal repre-        centage of the value of the landed fish);
                          sentation from members of the industry,        • fees collected from fines and
                          scientific community, conservation com-         other penalties.
   Jeff Rotman/

                    Plaice and flounder in a trawl net off Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Chapter Twelve
                                       Development near Charleston, South Carolina
                                             Dana Beach, South Carolina Conservation League

1. ADDRESS NONPOINT SOURCE                  Require watershed-based water quality
POLLUTION AND PROTECT WATER                 compliance planning.
                               s The Clean Water Act requires that states
Establish water quality standards for              determine the total maximum daily load
nutrients in rivers, lakes, estuaries, and           (TMDL) of pollutants that a water body can
coastal waters.                         absorb and still satisfy water quality stan-
s Water quality standards under the Clean            dards, including meeting designated uses.
  Water Act are a legally enforceable bench-          EPA should require timely development of
  mark against which progress toward              TMDLs, identifying point and nonpoint
  addressing nonpoint and other sources of           sources of pollution and the specific pollu-
  pollution can be measured.                  tion reductions from point and nonpoint
s While standards for many toxic pollutants           sources necessary to comply with the law.
                               s For coastal watersheds, plans already devel-
  exist, few areas have standards for nutrients.
  Given the pervasiveness of the nutrient pollu-        oped under the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution
  tion problem, additional resources should be         Control Program of the Coastal Zone
  devoted to accelerate development of nutri-         Management Act provide the core of an
  ent standards for major aquatic habitats.          enforceable watershed protection strategy.
                               s EPA should use existing authorities to rein-
Take additional steps to control major uncon-          vigorate the “continuing planning process”
trolled or undercontrolled sources of nutri-          required by the Clean Water Act, making it
ent pollution.†                         a process through which the states achieve
s EPA should ensure that states are control-          the point and nonpoint source pollution
  ling major underregulated point sources of          reductions indicated by TMDLs. States
  pollution—such as concentrated animal            should use TMDLs as a blueprint for action
  feeding operations and stormwater.              to address water quality problems at the
s Congress should amend the Clean Water             watershed level.
  Act to require states to control nonpoint
  sources of pollution.                   Provide a complementary suite of incentives
s Eligibility for federal agricultural subsidies       for improving water quality and disincentives
  should be conditioned on the implementa-         for activities that harm water quality.
                               s Congress should give the states flexibility to
  tion of best management practices for con-
  trolling polluted runoff from farms and fields.       use negative interest loans and grants from

*Some of these recommendations overlap with recommendations on point and nonpoint source pollution. They are
presented here to illustrate the Commission’s suggestion for a comprehensive, watershed-based approach to con-
trolling all forms of water pollution.

†For  details, see recommendations 1 and 2 in Chapter 13.

     the State Revolving Fund established by the    ment; recognizes that the impacts of offshore
     Clean Water Act to address nonpoint        oil and gas development, and the onshore
     sources of pollution.               infrastructure required to support it, are
   s Funding for the control of nonpoint source     greatest in the coastal zone; ensures that
     pollution under the Clean Water Act should     grants to states and communities are used for
     be tied to progress in reducing nonpoint      environmentally beneficial purposes.
     source pollution, and specifically to
     implementation of TMDLs, where these      Congress should make comprehensive habi-
     are in place.                  tat-protection planning by the states a condi-
   s Funding and incentives provided through the   tion for receipt of any new, dedicated federal
     farm conservation programs administered by   conservation funds.
                             s While the bulk of funding should go to
     USDA and federal transportation legislation
     to address nonpoint source pollution associ-    actual habitat protection, a reasonable por-
     ated with agriculture and transportation      tion of the funding should be set aside for
     infrastructure should be coordinated with     habitat-protection planning.
                             s In addition to fee title acquisition, habitat-
     watershed-protection strategies.
   s Federal subsidies for agriculture, trans-      protection programs should purchase, or
     portation, and other kinds of development     solicit the donation of, development rights
     that contribute to nonpoint source pollu-     and conservation easements to maximize
     tion should be tied to progress toward       conservation benefits.
                             s Public and private entities involved in habi-
     compliance with the Clean Water Act,
     specifically to progress in reducing        tat and watershed protection should
     nonpoint source pollution and attaining      strengthen and expand existing partner-
     water quality standards.              ships, and seek out new partnerships, to
                              protect coastal ecosystems.
                             Congress should expand the scope of the
                             Coastal Zone Management Act to include a
   Congress should provide a significant, dedi-    mandate for coastal habitat protection
   cated, and permanent source of funding for     through property acquisition, cooperative
   habitat protection.                management, and technical assistance.
   s Congress should consider revenue derived     s Congress should amend the Coastal
     from outer continental shelf oil, gas, and     Zone Management Act to create a
     mineral development for this purpose.       coastal habitat protection fund adminis-
   s Funding should be allocated to the states and    tered by the National Estuarine Research
     territories in a way that does not provide an   Reserve System.
                             s To meet its new responsibilities, the
     incentive for offshore oil and gas develop-

 National Estuarine Research Reserve       Congress and the executive branch should
 System should be given a strong, unam-     ensure that federal activities support, not
 biguous stewardship mission.          undermine, state and local efforts to
 • Congress should direct the National      manage growth.
                         s Federal transportation and development
   Estuarine Research Reserve System to
   develop innovative partnerships for       funding should be available only to states
   watershed protection among all levels of    that are complying with federal environmen-
   government and the private sector.       tal laws. (See details under coastal develop-
                           ment recommendation number 4 below.)
                         s Federal grants and loans should be required
                           to be used consistent with state and local
                           growth management efforts.
                         s Tax structures should be examined at all lev-
                           els of government to ensure that they are sup-
Municipalities and counties should change      porting compact, appropriately sited growth.
their zoning and subdivision codes to pro-
mote compact growth near urban centers,      4. REDIRECT GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS
to discourage growth outside town centers     AND SUBSIDIES AWAY FROM HARMFUL
in rural areas, and to reduce impervious     COASTAL DEVELOPMENT AND TOWARD
surface cover wherever possible.         BENEFICIAL ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING
States should take a more active role in     Congress should enact substantial reforms of
managing growth.                 the Army Corps of Engineers, including
s Protect environmentally sensitive lands, as   s legislation ensuring that Army Corps of
 discussed under coastal development rec-      Engineers projects are environmentally and
 ommendation number 2.               economically sound, and reflect national
s Require local growth-management planning      priorities articulated in the new National
 as a condition for receipt of state and pass-   Ocean Policy Act;
                         s uniform standards for Army Corps partici-
 through federal development assistance, and
 ensure that state and local growth and trans-   pation in shoreline restoration projects,
 portation planning comport with statewide     which ensure that
 habitat protection plans.             • the full range of alternatives to inter-
s Coordinate policies and practices among        vention in coastal geological processes
 local jurisdictions and, to the extent        is considered,
 possible, with adjacent states to ensure      • costs and benefits are considered
 a rational regional approach to growth        broadly and over a minimum 50 year
 management.                      time horizon, and