WASHINGTON, D.C. - Underscoring the urgent need for decisive action on a new national ocean policy, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy delivered its final report, "An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century," to the President and Congress on Sept. 20.

Under the Oceans Act of 2000, the president must submit his statement of proposals to implement or respond to the commission's findings and recommendations to Congress within 90 days.

The final report is available at http://oceancommission.gov/documents/welcome.html

An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century calls for a new governance framework, more investment in marine science and a new stewardship ethic by all Americans - all within the context of an ecosystem-based management approach - to halt the decline of this nation's oceans and coasts. In total, the commission put forward 212 recommendations (http://oceancommission.gov/documents/prepub_report/chapter31.pdf)

for a new national ocean policy in the 610-page report.

The commission's final report includes a number of modifications compared to the preliminary report, which was released on April 20, 2004. The changes were made in response to comments received from 37 governors, five tribal leaders, one regional governors association, 800 interested stakeholders and other technical experts.

Mandated by the Oceans Act of 2000, the Commission was authorized by Congress and appointed by the president. Its first organizational meeting was held in September 2001. In total, the 16-member commission convened a series of 16 public meetings, including nine regional meetings, and 18 additional site visits around the country to learn firsthand about the most pressing issues facing the nation regarding the use and stewardship of ocean and coastal resources.

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