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Pew Oceans Commission Releases Report to the Nation

America's Living Oceans Today the Pew Oceans Commission presents to the president, Congress and the nation, America’s Living Oceans, Charting a Course for Sea Change, the first comprehensive look at U.S. ocean policy in over 30 years. Roger Rufe, President and CEO of The Ocean Conservancy, traveled the country in search of solutions to protect and restore our oceans as part of the 18-member independent commission made up of scientists, commercial and recreational fishers, conservationists, business leaders and elected officials.

One of the key recommendations made in this report is for a bold, new conservation ethic that embraces the oceans as a public trust, recognizes our dependence on healthy marine ecosystems, and practices precaution as we manage ocean resources.

"One hundred years ago a conservative Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, had the vision to protect special places on our land such as Yosemite and The Grand Canyon. By doing so, he instilled in U.S. citizens an ethic that is still revered to this day–it is his living legacy," said Rufe. "This report provides President George Bush and the Congress with a road map for protecting our oceans. It presents an opportunity for President Bush to be the Teddy Roosevelt of the oceans."

The report finds that we have focused on extraction, not protection of our ocean territory, which is over 20 percent larger than our land territory. And that focus has led to the oceans’ declining health. Rufe continued, "But the good news is that if we act responsibly–if we begin to treat the oceans as the public trust that they are, we can restore them, and leave an ocean legacy for our children and the generations to follow."

Additional information on this study can be found on the Ocean Conservancy’s website at

Cliff Etzel
Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.