Page 10: of Marine Technology Magazine (March 2007)
AUVs, ROVs, UUVs
Innovative state government initia- tives, long overdue federal fisheries reform, and the designation of 140,000 sq. mi. of protected waters were among the highlights of U.S. efforts to reform ocean policy in 2006. These advancements were undercut by the nation's failure to commit funding and make policy reforms for the long term preservation of our oceans, according to the Joint Ocean
Initiative's U.S. Ocean
Policy Report Card. "In the race to pre- serve our oceans, the states are outdistancing the federal govern- ment," said the Honorable Leon
Panetta, co-chair of the Joint Ocean
Commission Initiative. The report card is an assessment of the nation's collective progress in 2006 toward fulfilling the recommendations of the
U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission, which have joined together as the
Joint Ocean Commission Initiative.
The U.S. received an average grade of
C- for the six subjects measured in the report card, up slightly from the D+ assigned for 2005. State leadership and fisheries management earned grades of A- and B+, respectively.
Congress and the Bush administra- tion took important steps forward with the passage of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and
Management Reauthorization Act, which sets a firm deadline for ending overfishing, the designation of 140,000 square miles of protected islands, atolls, and oceans under the
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Marine National Monument, and the development of a new national ocean research strategy. Similar progress, however, was lacking in other areas measured by the report card.
Incremental improvements in
Research, Science, and Education resulted in a slight grade increase to a
D+, up from a D for 2005. Although sophisticated monitoring systems have been in place for decades to measure changes in the atmos- phere, no such systems exist for our oceans.
The report card, echo- ing the administra- tion's research plan, calls for the implemen- tation of an Integrated
System to learn more about the ocean's role in climate change.
Robust investments in ocean research and comprehensive management policies are needed to reverse the decline in the oceans, the report con- tends. New federal funding for ocean policies and programs remained flat in 2006, earning the U.S. a grade of F.
The Joint Initiative has identified $750 million in funding priorities that, if allocated in 2007, would be a significant step forward for research, management and education pro- grams. The recent announcement of an additional $140 million in the
President's FY 2008 budget for ocean-related programs is welcome, but the challenges facing our oceans clearly require a much greater com- mitment of resources. The Initiative is guided by a 10-member Task Force, five from each Commission, and led by Admiral James D. Watkins and the
Honorable Leon E. Panetta, chairs of the U.S. Commission and Pew
Ocean Policy Report Card
U.S. Improves, But Gets a “C-” * * * $ &