MRAA Leads MTAs in Opposition to National Oceans Policy
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Posted by: Matt Gruhn
Marine Retailers Association of the Americas led a group of 14 national and
state marine trades associations in strong opposition to the proposed National
Oceans Policy developed by a White House Commission.
In a letter to the Chairman and ranking
Member of the House Appropriations Committee, the group said a national oceans policy should be
designed to stimulate job creation and economic growth, in addition to
conserving our natural resources and marine habitat of our nation’s valued
oceans and coastal regions. Because the
newly proposed policy has the potential of doing great harm to marine
commerce, recreational and commercial fishing, recreational boating, and
waterborne transportation, the letter asked the Appropriations Committee to
delay implementation of the newly designed ocean policies of the National Ocean Policy Council.
of the major problems with the policy is the risk of unintended economic and
society consequences due, in part, to the unprecedented geographic scale of the
recommendations. Concerns are heightened
because the policy has been cited as justification in a federal decision
restricting access to certain areas for commercial activity without
justification by scientific research or data.
problem is uncertainty abounds due to confusion of the policy, especially how
it will be implemented and the role of the stakeholders and state
governments. Even the policy says it may
create a level of uncertainty and anxiety among those groups who rely on these
addition, the letter says scarce monetary resources should be allocated to
existing programs and activities and are necessary for the economy to develop
and properly function. During a time of
constrained budgets, we are concerned that the federal agencies have been asked
to prioritize the National Ocean Policy in the 2013 state budgets and existing
resources should be re-purposed to follow the new policy. Instead of spending limited resources on
existing programs, the policy is supporting further uncertainty and
restrictions to support new government procedures and regulations.
What are the Recommendations of the
National Oceans Policy? The implementation strategy of the National
Oceans Council identifies nine objectives that our nations will pursue to
address the pressing challenges facing the oceans and the Great Lakes.
- Adopt ecosystem-based management as a
foundation principle to comprehensive management of the oceans and Great Lakes.
(MRAA: This objective places habitat
restoration and the environment ahead of the economy and jobs.)
- Implement comprehensive ecosystem-based coastal marine spatial planning and management. (MRAA: This
objective does not consider the importance of businesses on the coasts to local
towns and cities.)
- Increase knowledge to continually
inform and improve policy decisions.
- Coordinate and support federal,
state, tribal and local management of the oceans. (MRAA: This
objective takes away the rights of local and state governments to determine
their own priorities and land usage.)
- Strengthen resiliency of coastal
communities and marine environments and their abilities to adapt to climate
- Establish integrated ecosystem
protection and restoration strategies to meet the goals of the government.
- Enhance water quality
- Address environmental stewardship in
the face of climate-induced and other
- Strengthen ocean observing systems,
data collection platforms and mapping capabilities.
Read the letter here.