Obama issues national ocean policy

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Recreational boating is highlighted in a final report on ocean management, which was used as the basis for the Obama administration's establishment of a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Oceans, Coasts and Great Lakes.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Monday establishing the policy, which adopts the final recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and directs federal agencies to take appropriate steps to implement them.

"The document that was released yesterday ... is much improved from the initial interim reports that they released for public comment," Mat Dunn, legislative director for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, told Soundings this morning. "In those documents, recreation and recreational fishing and boating were not emphasized in any significant way and, as we see in this final report, that has changed."

Dunn continued: "The importance of recreational boating, the recreational marine manufacturing industry, recreational fishing, all of the activities surrounding tourism are highlighted in this final report, which will form the basis for significant new approaches toward oceans management for the next, probably, five years and going forward."

The executive order strengthens ocean governance and coordination, establishes guiding principles for ocean management and adopts a flexible framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning, according to a statement from the White House.

The final recommendations create a National Ocean Council to strengthen ocean governance and coordination. The recommendations prioritize actions for the council to pursue and call for a flexible framework for coastal and marine spatial planning to address conservation, economic activity, user conflict and sustainable use of the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes.

Click here for a copy of the document.