Presidential candidates on ocean health and policy

Sciencedebate.org  has asked Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about their stance on ocean health and policy.  The answers are somewhat boiler plate but may lend insight into what directions their administrations would take ocean policy.  HT to Rich Aronson

10. Ocean Health. Scientists estimate that 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are in serious decline, habitats like coral reefs are threatened, and large areas of ocean and coastlines are polluted. What role should the federal government play domestically and through foreign policy to protect the environmental health and economic vitality of the oceans?
Barack Obama:I am committed to ensuring that our nation’s vast natural resources are used responsibly, and that we maintain healthy oceans and coasts. By establishing a National Ocean Policy, I made it a priority of the federal government to ensure a proactive approach to improving the conservation of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.We are directing additional funding to Gulf Coast restoration to bring back the fisheries and coastal ecosystems which are still recovering in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill. We kicked off the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades, which is targeting ecological problems such as invasive species, toxic hot spots, and pollution runoff. We are cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, establishing a “pollution diet” for the Bay that will help restore the natural habitat for fish and other wildlife. We have also invested over $1.4 billion in Everglades’ restoration, helping restore tens of thousands of acres which will serve as a sanctuary for native Florida plants and wildlife. We have created or enhanced more than 540 public coastal recreation areas, protected more than 54,000 acres of coastlines and restored over 5,200 acres of coastal habitat. We are also investing more in monitoring our fishing stock in coastal areas so we have the most accurate data possible on the health of our fisheries. These are significant steps that are helping us improve the health of our oceans and build more robust fisheries. Mitt Romney:The health of the world’s fisheries is of paramount economic and environmental importance to not only America but also the global community. Maintenance of those fisheries also represents a significant regulatory challenge, and is indeed often used as an archetypical illustration of a situation in which a market will not succeed without some form of governance. The question, though, is what form of governance should be employed: where are international agreements required, where is government regulation most appropriate, and where can the fishing industry itself serve as the best steward?The federal government has a vital role to play in conducting sound science and making the resulting data available. Not only federal agencies but also foreign and local governments, regional cooperatives, and industry associations should have access to the data to protect the health and vitality of the oceans and to adjust policy when necessary. A Romney Administration will safeguard the long-term health of fisheries, while welcoming input from the fishermen most affected at every step and seeking to accommodate the needs of these small businessmen wherever possible.

One Response to “Presidential candidates on ocean health and policy”

  1. So, basically Romney has no policy position on the ocean and has never thought about ocean management. Also, he’s a terrible captain that lets kids bow-ride a speedboat on plane.

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