We depend on the oceans—for food, jobs, recreation and solace. Ocean currents circulate the energy and water that regulate the earth’s climate and weather and thus affect many aspects of the human experience, whether we live on the nation’s coasts or its heartland.
In the first thorough review of ocean policy in 34 years, the Pew Oceans Commission released a host of recommendations in 2003 to guide the way in which the federal government will successfully manage America’s marine environment. The report found that more than 60 percent of America’s coastal rivers and bays are degraded by nutrient runoff. Crucial species like groundfish and salmon are under assault from overfishing. Invasive species are establishing themselves in the nation’s coastal waters.