U.S. National Ocean Policy: No Success Without Science?

U.S. National Ocean Policy: No Success Without Science?

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Coaxing U.S. federal agencies to work together is no small feat. But an emerging National Ocean Policy (NOP) is attempting to do just that. The Obama Administration’s proposed NOP will help federal agencies better organize marine research efforts and inject data into policy decisions—and potentially prevent conflicts between ocean users and save money, U.S. officials argue. But recent public comments on the Administration’s plan for implementing the new policy suggest that researchers are concerned that budget shortfalls and program eliminations could undermine efforts to realize these goals.

U.S. policymakers have tried to come up with a coordinated ocean-use policy for years. The most recent effort started in 2000 when Congress passed the Oceans Act, which called for the formation of a U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The commission issued recommendations for a national ocean policy in a report released in 2004. But it wasn’t until July 2010, when President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13547, that the most recent iteration of NOP was put into place.

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