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Center Joins Marine Fish Conservation Network

The Marine Fish Conservation Network (Network) is the largest national coalition dedicated to promoting the long-term sustainability of marine fish by pressing for changes in the way we manage our ocean's fish. With more than 160 members - including environmental organizations, commercial and recreational fishing associations, aquariums, and marine science groups - the Network uses its distinct voice and the best available science to educate policymakers, the fishing industry, and the public about the need for sound conservation and better management practices.

Conservation of our fish resources and marine ecosystems usually is considered less important than exploiting them. Objective observation and data collection are vital to effectively manage marine fish.

The Network developed a series of legislative proposals to address rampant overfishing, bycatch (the unintended capture of non-target fish and other marine life), loss of habitat, and other threats to our fisheries. The Network works with the public, fishermen, and Congress and assisted in the passage of the Sustainable Fisheries Act in 1996.

Today, the Network continues to work with the eight regional fishery management councils and the National Marine Fisheries Service - the federal entities charged with serving as stewards of our ocean fish resources - to ensure that federal laws and regulations uphold the ideals and mandates established by the Sustainable Fisheries Act.

In 1996, Congress directed the regional councils to end overfishing through the development and implementation of sound management plans. However, in too many cases, managers continue to react to overfishing after it occurs, and unnecessarily extend the deadline for rebuilding particular fish populations. This "reactive" approach to management increases the likelihood that populations will remain depleted for years to come.

Overfishing must stop so that fish populations have time to recover. Then healthy ecosystems and fish populations will be able to support America's commercial fishing and a way of life for thousands of coastal communities.

THE MARINE FISH CONSERVATION NETWORK

600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Suite 210, Washington, DC  20003

(202) 543-5509     fax (202) 543-5774 network@conservefish.org

www.conservefish.org

AAEA believes our oceans, like our atmosphere and lands, cannot absorb an unlimited quantity of pollutants without consequence. As global managers, while we ‘replenish the earth, and subdue it,’ we are obligated to prevent pollution to the maximum extent practicable and avoid overfishing. The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (COP), chartered by Congress with commissioners appointed by the president, has issued a 500-page draft report calling for new management practices to protect the nation’s coastal waterways from pollution, overfishing and mismanagement. It is the single most comprehensive review of our oceans in 35 years. The Commission will issue its final report to Congress and President Bush after governors from all 50 states have commented on the plan.

The report contains more than 200 recommendations, including:

  • Creation of an Ocean Policy Trust Fund, which would be similar to the Highway Trust Fund and would raise $3-$4 billion in federal oil and gas royalties from offshore drilling for use in ocean-related programs.
  • Devote $1 billion for such activities as land and water conservation.
  • Centralize dispersed oceans agencies into a National Ocean Council in the White House.
  • Establishment of“an ecosystem-based and multispecies approach” to ocean management.
  • New restraints on fisheries management councils that govern how much catch fishing boats can take.
  • International leadership in eco-system based management that sets reachable standards for building sustainable fisheries and conserving ocean resources around the world.
  • A management framework that recognizes challenges, but also includes the benefits of the ocean including wind power, marine aquaculture, as well as oil and gas development.
  • A cost/benefit analysis of the cumulative effects of the 141 laws already on the books and the conflicts between them.
  • Better coordination between federal, state and local governments and other ocean stakeholders.
  • A reengineering of fisheries councils to incorporate voluntary research based on local stakeholder participation.

The COP report balances the need for conservation, trade, recreation, development, global governance and energy.  More than half of all U.S. citizens live in coastal communities. Sixty million American jobs and more than half of our nation’s GDP are directly tied to ocean and coastal economies. Our oceans are a critical source of food, commerce, energy, and recreation, particularly travel and tourism.

Two bills currently pending in Congress are particularly important to America's territorial waters, which comprise an area larger than the land mass of the United States:

  • The first is the "Oceans 21" bill introduced by the bipartisan co-chairs of the Oceans Caucus in the House of Representatives (Republicans James C. Greenwood and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania and Democrats Sam Farr of California and Tom Allen of Maine). The bill seeks to implement many of the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The bill would set, for the first time, clear national ocean policy and endow federal institutions with the power to implement it, focusing not on individual species or isolated environmental problems but on oceanic ecosystems.
  • The second is legislation introduced by Representatives Rahall (D-WVA) and Farr (D-CA) to reform the regional management councils that determine how many fish can be taken from American waters and who gets what portion of the allowable catch. Some of these councils are more effective than others in protecting habitats, but the councils tend to be dominated by fishing interests. Their members are not bound by normal conflict-of-interest rules, and they do not always follow scientific analyses in setting limits. The bill would begin correcting these problems. Most important, it would tether conservation decisions more closely to the best available science regarding ecosystem health and separate these conservation decisions from those about allocating the catch.

 

 

Executive Order: Committee on Ocean Policy

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the United States to:

(a) coordinate the activities of executive departments and agencies regarding ocean-related matters in an integrated and effective manner to advance the environmental, economic, and security interests of present and future generations of Americans; and

(b) facilitate, as appropriate, coordination and consultation regarding ocean-related matters among Federal, State, tribal, local governments, the private sector, foreign governments, and international organizations.

Sec. 2. Definition. For purposes of this order the term "ocean-related matters" means matters involving the oceans, the Great Lakes, the coasts of the United States (including its territories and possessions), and related seabed, subsoil, and natural resources.

Sec. 3. Establishment of Committee on Ocean Policy.

(a) There is hereby established, as a part of the Council on Environmental Quality and for administrative purposes only, the Committee on Ocean Policy (Committee).

(b) The Committee shall consist exclusively of the following:

(i) the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, who shall be the Chairman of the Committee;

(ii) the Secretaries of State, Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Director of the National Science Foundation, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;

(iii) the Assistants to the President for National Security Affairs, Homeland Security, Domestic Policy, and Economic Policy;

(iv) an employee of the United States designated by the Vice President; and

(v) such other officers or employees of the United States as the Chairman of the Committee may from time to time designate.

(c) The Chairman of the Committee, after coordination with the Assistants to the President for National Security Affairs and Homeland Security, shall regularly convene and preside at meetings of the Committee, determine its agenda, direct its work, and, as appropriate to deal with particular subject matters, establish and direct subcommittees of the Committee that shall consist exclusively of members of the Committee. The Committee shall coordinate its advice in a timely fashion.

(d) A member of the Committee may designate, to perform the Committee or subcommittee functions of the member, any person who is within such member's department, agency, or office and who is (i) an officer of the United States appointed by the President, (ii) a member of the Senior Executive Service or the Senior Intelligence Service, (iii) an officer or employee within the Executive Office of the President, or (iv) an employee of the Vice President.

(e) Consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Council on Environmental Quality shall provide the funding, including through the Office of Environmental Quality as permitted by law and as appropriate, and administrative support for the Committee necessary to implement this order.

Sec. 4. Functions of the Committee. To implement the policy set forth in section 1 of this order, the Committee shall:

(a) provide advice on establishment or implementation of policies concerning ocean-related matters to:

(i) the President; and

 (ii) the heads of executive departments and agencies from time to time as appropriate;

(b) obtain information and advice concerning ocean-related matters from:

(i) State, local, and tribal elected and appointed officials in a manner that seeks their individual advice and does not involve collective judgment or consensus advice or deliberation; and

(ii) representatives of private entities or other individuals in a manner that seeks their individual advice and does not involve collective judgment or consensus advice or deliberation;

(c) at the request of the head of any department or agency who is a member of the Committee, unless the Chairman of the Committee declines the request, promptly review and provide advice on a policy or policy implementation action on ocean-related matters proposed by that department or agency;

(d) provide and obtain information and advice to facilitate:

(i) development and implementation of common principles and goals for the conduct of governmental activities on ocean-related matters;

(ii) voluntary regional approaches with respect to ocean-related matters;

(iii) use of science in establishment of policy on ocean-related matters; and

(iv) collection, development, dissemination, and exchange of information on ocean-related matters; and

(e) ensure coordinated government development and implementation of the ocean component of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems.

Sec. 5. Cooperation. To the extent permitted by law and applicable presidential guidance, executive departments and agencies shall provide the Committee such information, support, and assistance as the Committee, through the Chairman, may request.

Sec. 6. Coordination. The Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, and, with respect to the interagency task force established by Executive Order 13340 of May 18, 2004, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, shall ensure appropriate coordination of the activities of the Committee under this order and other policy coordination structures relating to ocean or maritime issues pursuant to Presidential guidance.

Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to a executive department or agency or the head thereof; or

(ii) functions assigned by the President to the National Security Council or Homeland Security Council (including subordinate bodies)relating to matters affecting foreign affairs, national security, homeland security, or intelligence.

(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c) This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the Federal Government and is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

GEORGE W. BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE,

December 17, 2004

 

 

RED TIDE

Red tide is a toxic algae (Alexandrium) bloom along cosastlines that closes shellfish beds. It is called red tide because it colors the water a rusty color at extremely high concentrations. Shellfish, including hard-shell clams, soft-shell clams, oysters, mussels and scallops, are particularly prone to contamination as they feed by filtering microscopic food out of the water. During red tide blooms, hard-shell clams, soft-shell clams, oysters, mussels, whelks, and moon snails harvested from areas affected by the blooms are not safe to eat.

Eating toxic shellfish can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in humans. PSP is caused by saxitoxin, which is produced by Alexandrium fundyense and is one of the most potent toxins known to scientists. After ingestion, this poison immediately affects the nervous system, with symptoms usually occurring within 30 minutes. Severity depends on the amount of toxin consumed. Initial reactions are tingling of the lips and tongue, which spreads to the face, neck, fingertips and toes. Headache, dizziness and nausea follow. In severe cases, muscular paralysis and respiratory difficulty may occur within 5 to 12 hours. Fatalities from respiratory paralysis have been reported.