On Jan. 24, 2013, the Land Conservation and Development Commission approved a Territorial Sea Plan for Oregon. It designates important habitat for seafaring birds and other wildlife while identifying four areas off the coast as suitable for future renewable energy development. Learn more.
On Feb. 22, 2012, the Oregon Legislature approved a Kitzhaber-backed bill that adds 38 square miles of marine reserves in Oregon's biologically rich territorial sea. Oregon is now home to five marine reserves: Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua and Redfish Rocks. More about Senate Bill 1510.
February 22, 2012
An historic moment for the state of Oregon, yesterday the Legislature gave final approval to a Kitzhaber-backed bill that adds 38-square-miles of reserves in Oregon's biologically rich territorial sea, a 3-mile-wide strip that hugs the coastline. The House voted 57-2 to approve Senate Bill 1510.
The Cape Perpetua Reserve includes a seabird protection area to help populations of threatened Marbled Murrelets. We have taken the first steps towards protecting marine ecosystems and with them the birds, fish and wildlife dependent upon them. More...
February 7, 2012
Today the Oregon Senate voted 25-5 to approve three new marine reserves in state coastal waters.
Senate Bill 1510 restricts fishing in ocean areas at Cape Falcon, north of Manzanita, Cascade Head, north of Lincoln City, and Cape Perpetua, between Florence and Newport. It’s based on recommendations from stakeholder groups, and it still needs approval from the Oregon House of Representatives and a signature from the governor to become law.
January 26, 2012
The February Legislative session will be pivotal to ocean conservation in Oregon. With a long awaited marine reserves/protected bill in play, elected leaders will determine if three sites; Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua will finally be designated as places where no extractive activities can occur. These sites, selected because of their unique habitat components, support a myriad of plants and animals including forage fish such as sardines and herring. Forage fish are of key food sources for sustaining sea birds such as the Common Murre and the Marbled Murrelet. Passing SB 1510 takes us one step closer towards creating a system that builds places of resiliency in Oregon’s oceans and helps provide the habitat birds need throughout their entire lifecycle.e To learn more visit: Our Ocean at www.ourocean.org.
National Ocean Council Listening Session July 1, 2011
May 2, 2011
Our Ocean’s Position on HB 2009
Our Ocean’s official position on HB 2009 is one of strong concern. As a constructive partner in Oregon’s Marine Reserve Proposal Process that has been deliberating since 2008, Our Ocean strongly encourages the inclusion of three elements of the bill that are not included in its current form. All three elements are present in the final OPAC recommendations as well as the final ODFW agency recommendations. All are consistent with OPAC’s marine reserve policy guidance document that was adopted in 2008. These include:
- Reinsertion of Community Team Language into Section 3, Subsection 4 that would continue the community involvement into the implementation phase of the reserves.
- State agency-recommended definition of baseline data in the form of “a long term time series that should not exceed two years” should be reinserted in Section 2, Subsection E.
- Reinsertion of agency-recommended language for the establishment of no new marine reserves north of Cape Blanco rather than the bill’s current language which states that no new marine reserves may be established until an agency assessment is completed, not less than ten years and not to exceed fifteen years.
We’re approaching a critical moment for Oregon ocean conservation. Several weeks ago, Oregon's Marine Reserve Community Teams finalized their recommendations for Marine Reserves at three of the most ecologically important areas of Oregon’s coastal ocean: Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, and Cape Perpetua. In the coming weeks, a community team organized by the Port of Coos Bay will add their recommendations for Cape Arago. These plans are the culmination of nearly a year of intense, volunteer work by the teams and is the latest step in a nearly decade-long effort to protect Oregon’s ocean – and we need your help to ensure they contribute to a strong network of protected waters along the coast.
Take action to protect Oregon's coast!
What Can You Do to Help?
Action #1: Protect Cape Arago
In order to be effective, marine reserves, independently and collectively as a system, need to be large enough to be ecologically significant yet should avoid significant economic harm. They also need to be spaced closely enough so that they are connected to each other. The community team organized by the Port of Coos Bay is preparing their final recommendations on the future of Cape Arago. Attend a public comment meeting or send a comment via email to the Port urging them to recommend a marine reserve and marine protected areas combination that meets the scientific guidelines and the needs of our ocean to ensure its long-term health. To review the proposed sites, comment online and get the schedule of public comment meetings, click here!
Any proposed marine reserve and/or marine protected area will be further evaluated similarly to the Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua sites. Your public comment will help in preserving one of the most ecologically important areas of Oregon’s nearshore.
Action #2: Last chance to Support the Community Team Recommendations for Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, and Cape Perpetua
The recommendations developed by the Community Teams now go to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODF&W), who are currently reviewing the marine reserve community team recommendations which developed after nearly a year of intense evaluation. The agency will now finalize the formal recommendation for three of Oregon's richest ocean areas based on Oregon’s new marine reserve laws (HB 3013). ODFW is expected to finalize their recommendations by the end of November. More details on the final Community Team recommendations can be found below.
Join us in urging ODF&W to objectively evaluate the suite of community team recommendations to ensure that these sites will be designed in the best science to bring maximum benefits for Oregon's people and ocean ecosystems before forwarding them on to the Governor and Legislature for implementation! Send a letter today!
Community Team Recommendations
Our Ocean supports the community team processes and is proud to have worked with a variety of stakeholder groups – including marine scientists, recreational and commercial fishermen, coastal residents, recreationalists, local government, watershed councils and conservationists - and appreciates that the community team members reached across their areas of expertise to develop recommendations that both protect important ecological areas and current industrial uses within each site. It is important to note that in this process virtually all stakeholders on all teams voted for a marine reserve site in their region. Any differences stemmed from the actual size and shape of the reserve – which clearly demonstrates that Oregon is ready to designate marine reserves in its territorial sea.
We feel the suite of hard-fought compromises, grounded in the best science and local knowledge should be respected and implemented. This process reflects almost a decade of state involvement to develop these final recommendations.
Thank you in advance for taking action to protect our ocean!
September 14, 2010
Marine Reserves community teams want to hear from the public
NEWPORT, Ore. -- Local community teams working on three potential marine reserve sites for the Oregon Coast want a better idea of the biological, social and economic characteristics of their site and are asking for additional public input.
For each of the three proposed sites – Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua – the local community team has crafted a number of scenarios that describe different boundaries and levels of protection. The public can see the different scenarios and send comments to the community teams at www.oregonocean.info/marinereserves or to, 2040 SE Marine Science Drive Newport, OR 97365, Attn: Cristen Don. Comments will be accepted through 5pm Sept. 26th 2010.***
According to Cristen Don, marine reserves staff for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the scenarios described on the website are not necessarily the final recommendations the teams will present to ODFW this fall.
“Scientists and managers will analyze these scenarios and report to the community teams how well each one meets the twin goals of maximum ecological benefits and minimal social and economic impacts,” Don said. “This information, along with input from the public, will help each team develop their final site recommendation.”
The teams will be most interested in hearing how the areas are currently being used and enjoyed, how fishing, crabbing and other extractive uses may be affected by a marine reserve designation, and what species and habitats are present at each site.
At the direction of the 2009 Oregon State Legislature, ODFW has been evaluating the three potential marine reserve sites. A local community team was formed for each site to consider the biological, social and economic characteristics of their site, and to submit a marine reserve recommendation to ODFW this fall.
***Public Comment has been extended through 5pm September 26, 2010.***
The state of Oregon currently protects two marine reserves. These science-based "ecological savings accounts" safeguard priceless ocean resources - which are vital to our economy and the Oregon way of life. Community members like you are engaged in a rigorous public evaluation process to create a network of such protected zones on the Oregon coast, to serve as an insurance policy for Oregon's waters.
Community teams involved in evaluating proposed marine reserves and protected areas at Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua have called for public input on their plans. We must use this public comment period on the preliminary scenarios to ensure that the final recommendations are based on sound science.
Please take the opportunity to help move Oregon closer to a legacy of ocean protection by telling the community teams why you support ecologically meaningful marine reserves. Remember: after almost a decade of state deliberation, the final recommendations are due at the end of November - just two months away! Send your comment now!
Take action now: Public Comments are needed for DRAFT scenarios for potential marine reserves at Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua. (Leave your comment on the draft scenario you support for each marine reserve by clicking on that scenario. For help, see the important points below our signature.)
I support marine reserve designations that are based in best available science because scientific studies from around the world demonstrate that marine protected areas and reserves work - if based in science, helping to regenerate marine habitat, boost marine diversity and revitalize the ocean ecosystem. We want to make sure that Oregon is managing its largest natural resource sustainably to ensure that future generations will enjoy the benefits of a healthy ocean ecosystem.
Flexible-use marine protected areas are useful, but the studies show that the best ecological benefit comes from ensuring that a scientifically-based core marine reserve is designated with an adjacent marine protected area surrounding it.
I support the creation of a network of marine reserves and protected areas in Oregon's state waters to provide underwater havens in key marine habitat for wildlife that ensure a healthy ocean for future generations.
As Oregonians, we all share responsibility in the stewardship of our natural resources. Marine protected areas and reserves function like ecological insurance policies, a prudent step for ensuring that future generations will enjoy the benefits of a healthy ocean ecosystem.
Thank you, committee members, for investing your time in a fair and transparent public process with all stakeholders at the table for reviewing these ecologically important areas.
DEPOE BAY NEARSHORE ACTION TEAM MEETING
Thursday, September 16 2010, 6:00pm
Depoe Bay City Hall
570 SE Shell Ave
Depoe Bay, Oregon 97341
ODFW & STAC Agency Analysis
Monday, September 20 2010, 8:00am - 6:00pm
Oregon State University Memorial Union, Journey Suite
Workshop between Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Science & Technology Advisory Committee to review the scenarios developed by marine reserves community teams.
Open to the public, no public comment period, space limited.
Meeting held at Oregon State University, The Journey Suite
2510 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97330
REDFISH ROCKS MARINE RESERVE COMMUNITY TEAM MEETING
Wednesday, October 04 2010, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Port Orford City Hall
555 W 20th St.
Port Orford, OR 97465
CAPE FALCON MARINE RESERVE COMMUNITY TEAM MEETING
Tuesday October 5, 2010 5:00-8:00 pm
Bob Chisholm Community Center
1225 Avenue A Seaside, OR 97138
CAPE PERPETUA MARINE RESERVE COMMUNITY TEAM MEETING
Monday October 11, 2010 5:00-8:00 pm
Yachats Commons Room
441 Hwy 101
Yachats, OR 97498
CASCADE HEAD MARINE RESERVE COMMUNITY TEAM MEETING
Wednesday October 14, 2010 5:00-8:00 pm
City of Depoe Bay Community Hall
220 SE Bay St
Depoe Bay, OR 97341
CAPE FALCON MARINE RESERVE COMMUNITY TEAM MEETING
Tuesday October 19, 2010 5:00-8:00 pm
Fairview Grange #273
3rd Street and Olsen Road
Tillamook, OR 97141
CAPE PERPETUA MARINE RESERVE COMMUNITY TEAM MEETING
Monday October 25, 2010 5:30-8:30 pm
Oregon Coast Aquarium
2820 SE Ferry Slip Road
Newport OR 97365
CASCADE HEAD MARINE RESERVE COMMUNITY TEAM MEETING
Wednesday October 28, 2010 5:00-8:00 pm
Lincoln City Cultural Center
1550 14th St
Lincoln City, OR 97367
CAPE FALCON MARINE RESERVE COMMUNITY TEAM MEETING
Tuesday November 2, 2010 5:00-8:00 pm
Clatsop Community College
1651 Lexington Ave
Astoria, OR 97103
CAPE PERPETUA MARINE RESERVE COMMUNITY TEAM MEETING
Monday November 8, 2010 5:00-8:00 pm
Siuslaw Fire Department
2625 Hwy 101 N
Florence, OR 97439
Oregon's Offshore Oil Drilling Ban Extended
By a 22-8 vote, the Oregon Senate approved House Bill 3613, which revived and extended the state ban on offshore oil drilling for another 10 years. When Governor Kulongoski signed it into law on March 3, 2010 the moratorium that expired in January of 2010 was reinstated. The bill's co-sponsors, Representative Debbie Boone and Representative Ben Cannon, garnered support from conservationists and the fishing industry alike. This moratorium precludes drilling in the three-mile wide swath of state owned waters along the Oregon coast. The Governor signed HB 3613 into law to ensure coastal protection. The enactment of this policy is yet another example of common sense policy that ensures a more sustainably managed nearshore. Our Ocean would like to thank all community leaders who prioritized this important issue.
21 Dec 2009
"Department of State Lands and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Administrative Rules Adopted"
At its December 8, 2009 meeting the State Land Board adopted the Department of State Lands’ proposed administrative rules for marine reserves and marine protected areas. DSL’s rules establish the Otter Rock Marine Reserve and the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Area, and govern uses of submerged and submersible lands within the reserve and protected areas. Click here to view the regulations that the State Land Board adopted.
Later in the week, on December 11, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations that will govern fishing and hunting in the newly created Otter Rock Marine Reserve and Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Area. ODFW’s rules will not take effect until June 30, 2011, in order to allow time to collect baseline information. Click here to view the regulations that the Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission will consider adopting the Parks and Recreation Department’s proposed administrative rules on January 28, 2010.
The three agencies will continue working together to provide streamlined information. After the January Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, staff from ODFW, DSL, and OPRD will produce synthesized materials that compile the three agencies’ regulations into one educational guide.
5 October 2009
Oregon is working to create a system of marine reserves along the coast, and now, a national Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force is meeting around the country, charged with creating the first national policy for managing oceans. The group is hearing people's ideas on protecting and restoring oceans, coastlines, and the Great Lakes. More...
22 September 2009
Planning MPAs for the Deep Ocean: How Can We Protect What We Do Not Yet Know? (pdf download)
Fishermen Monitor Pregnant Fish to
Aid in Conservation
Port Orford fishermen are working with scientists to find out whether releasing pregnant rockfish can help conserve the resource – and their way of life. Fishermen are working with the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT) and researcher Selina Heppell, of Oregon State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, on a project to determine whether releasing “big old fat fecund females” (BOFFFs) can contribute to the species’ reproduction and survival, ultimately sustaining the local fishery. More...Oregon Coast Coughs Up Kooky Critters
It's typically the warmest time of the year on the coast, and that is causing all kinds of marine creatures to show themselves in some unusual ways. From whales, weird phytoplankton to sea lions popping up places they shouldn't, to funky bugs and interesting birds – there's something to see just about everywhere on the coast.
But there’s a serious note to all this, as there is still a continued rash of birds getting killed by cars on the beach. More...
14 August 2009It’s an exciting time in Oregon’s Marine Reserve Process!
The consensus bill, HB 3013 has been signed into law. Governor Kulongoski referenced Oregon’s new law in his recent Oregonian op-ed: “…the Legislature continued Oregon's legacy of preserving our natural resources and quality of life, which is one of our greatest assets in attracting new businesses to Oregon. [ including the approval of] the creation of two pilot marine reserves and the study of four more along Oregon's coastline, … -- this Legislature kept an eye on the future by enacting policies that will benefit us today and future generations of Oregonians”.
Now that the bill has been enrolled, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, consistent with the new law based on HB 3013, held a public workshop in Newport to discuss Oregon’s marine reserve work plan. The law describes a process to implement the marine reserve at Otter Rock, near Depoe Bay; and the marine protected area and reserve at Redfish Rocks, near Port Orford; as well as further evaluation of four additional sites at Cape Falcon, near Cannon Beach; Cascade Head, near Lincoln City; Cape Perpetua near Yachats and Florence; and, in the Reedsport, Coos Bay, Bandon area.
Our Ocean staff and key community leaders were in attendance, and were generally pleased at the tone and tenor of the workshop which was designed to implement HB 3013. But in order to ensure the success of this important effort, your support is needed!Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking public comments
on the draft work plan until Monday, August 17th. This plan can be viewed at:
and comments should be emailed to odfw.marinereserves@@state.or.us or mailed to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Marine Reserves, 2040 SE Marine Science Dr., Newport, OR, 97365.
We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity, and we thank you if you’ve already commented.
31 Important Ecological Areas off the Oregon Coast (pdf)
Lane County Approves Marine Reserve Resolution
Commissioners endorse Cape Perpetua reserve
Posted: Tuesday, Apr 7th, 2009
South Lincoln News
The Lane County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in support of marine reserves and endorsed the proposed Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve, which runs from Yachats south to Heceta Head.
“Our ocean is incredibly important to Lane County ’s environment, economy and health,” said West Lane Commissioner Bill Fleenor. “It is imperative that we collaborate on opportunities to protect our natural resources.” Full Story
Ocean salmon season unlikely
March 7-10: Ocean advocates go to Capitol Hill
Send a letter to Governor Ted Kulongoski and your local newspaper, and join the public conversation on marine protected areas and reserves!
Governor Ted Kulongoski
needs know that individual citizens like you support establishing a network of
marine protected areas and reserves, and that you care about creating an ocean
legacy we can be proud of. The media, as well, needs to hear that there is
broad support for this exciting new plan to restore our ocean’s resources, from
fish to kelp forests to our amazing rocky reefs. Please read these guidelines and send in your
letter soon. Every voice is important.
Tips on Writing Effective Letters:
Make your letter memorable
Make your words compelling, clear and to the point. If you focus on
one specific issue, you’re more likely to make your points memorable
than if you make your
letter a laundry list of details. Also, stick to commonly used terms
avoid jargon. Connect to basic values such as community vitality,
conservation and leaving a legacy for future generations of
The Governor’s office and the media love to hear personal stories and examples from supporters and people affected by important issues in their daily lives. If you weave in an anecdote or personal philosophy, this will make your letter much more “real” and compelling to the governor and his advisors and to editors sorting through the many letters they receive every week. Talk about the benefits that marine protected areas and marine reserves will bring to Oregon, and talk about why you enjoy the coast and the personal connection you have to Oregon’s ocean (as a kayaker, surfer, fisher, educator, birder, coastal resident, etc.)
Be sure to include your name, address and phone number so that the Governor’s office or the newspaper staff can be sure that your letter is authentic and original. For newspapers, your letter should ideally be 200 - 300 words.
Maximize your acceptance rate
A newspaper is more likely to publish your letter if it’s in response to an article, editorial or opinion piece on marine reserves or other ocean and fish issues that ran recently. So mention that article in your first line, along the lines of, “When I read your article ‘Xxxx Xxx Xxxx,’ I felt compelled to address a few points that weren’t brought up.”
Some key points:
Use some of these
points, using your own words and through personal stories, whenever possible.
Also see sample letters below.
· Oregon’s scenic coastline and rich marine waters are world class, and part of our shared natural heritage. Now, with a network of marine reserves and protected areas, Oregonians can ensure that this legacy of rich ocean habitats will be here for future generations.
· Oregon’s ocean belongs to every Oregonian, and we all have a responsibility to protect and restore it.
· Some of Oregon’s fish populations have experienced significant declines, deeply impacting our fisheries and ocean economy. Some species of fish are caught so quickly that they don’t have time to mature and reproduce. This has led to a decline in the bigger, more fertile fish that are needed to keep an ecosystem healthy. If current conditions persist, some species may never reach stable, sustainable levels.
· Oregon has more than 60 parks along its coast, but almost zero permanent protection for important marine habitats in our ocean. Worldwide, less than one percent of the ocean is protected.
· Like national parks, marine reserves are a place where fish and wildlife can be given safe havens from human impacts. Marine reserves would ensure that we leave a legacy for the future, and help rebuild Oregon’s ocean ecosystem.
- Thank you, Governor, for your leadership in creating a marine protected areas and marine reserves plan for Oregon’s future. I appreciate that this process is being done with public participation, and that long-term monitoring and public reporting are part of this discussion.
**** Sample Letter –this is an example only; please write letters in your own words. ****
Dear Governor Kulongoski,
Like so many Oregonians, I visit the Oregon coast frequently. (My family has been coming to X town for years.) It is a special place cherished by both coastal and inland residents alike. It is clear, though, that our destructive actions are taking a toll on this rich ocean environment. We are all responsible for making sure we protect and restore the ecosystems that support vital coastal communities and seafood bounty we all enjoy.
agree that marine reserves are an
important tool for protecting the ocean and enhancing fisheries. I am convinced that our
state needs to listen to the world-renowned marine scientists right here in Oregon in order to give
us the best chance at sustaining our ocean well into the future.
Our ocean is one of the most valuable resources of our state, and we must have a plan to make these resources sustainable into the future, just as every other state on the North American Pacific coast has done. A strong, environmentally-sound marine protected areas and reserves plan can be put in place while still leaving the majority of the ocean open to commercial and recreational fishing. Other communities all over the world who debated and ultimately accepted marine protected areas and reserves are now reaping the benefits of healthier marine ecosystems and better fishing opportunities as a result. It’s time for us to get smarter and do the same.
**** REMINDER: The above letter is a sample only and should not be submitted. We encourage everyone to use your own words when communicating your support for marine protected areas and reserves. ****
How to submit a letter to the Governor:
Email is the fastest way to submit your letter. The Subject line can read simply “Letter in support of marine reserves.” Your salutation should read “Dear Governor Kulongoski.” This email form on the governor’s website requires your name, address and contact info:
You can also mail your letter to:
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, OR 97301-4047
How to submit a letter to the editor:
When you submit your letter to the editor, it should be to your local newspaper. Most newspapers prefer email. Below are the emails for some newspapers in Oregon. You can look up where to send your letters on other newspapers’ websites as well. Find a paper here:
The Oregonian: Eugene Register-Guard: Salem Statesman Journal:
 More specifically, “Canary and yelloweye rockfish are now depleted after extreme overfishing. See ;
The West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health - August 9, 2007
On September 18, 2006 the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington announced the West Coast Governors' Agreement on Ocean Health. Through the Agreement, the states launched an unprecedented regional collaboration to protect and manage the ocean and coastal resources along the entire West Coast. The regional collaboration is consistent with recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission.
The Agreement seeks to advance the goals of:
Clean coastal waters and beaches;
Healthy ocean and coastal habitats;
Reduced impacts of offshore development;
Expanded ocean and coastal scientific information, research, and monitoring;
Increased ocean awareness and literacy among the region’s citizens; and
Sustainable economic development of coastal communities.
The Agreement directed staff of the three Governors to take certain actions, including the development of an action plan within a year.
Staff has prepared a discussion paper for public input. We submitted comments on August 1, 2007. Read comments
The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative just released its Ocean Policy Report Card for 2006, in response to a bipartisan request from the Senate. The "Report Card":
provides an assessment of our nation’s progress during 2006 toward implementing the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission;
recommends the top ten actions that need to be taken by Congress; and
recommends $750 million in funding priorities.
The report card shows that progress on ocean policy reform has been uneven and even the modest progress that has been made is jeopardized by a lack of funding. For 2006, the grade rises to a “C-,” up from a “D+” average in 2005.
Important Oceans Protection Bill introduced in Congress!
As the 110th Congress opened, a bipartisan oceans protection bill was introduced in the House of Representatives.
HR-21, the Oceans Conservation, Education & National Strategy for the 21st Century Act, is known as Oceans-21. It would establish a comprehensive National Oceans Policy and guiding principles for use and management of our nation’s coasts, oceans, and Great Lakes and their resources. Oceans-21 would implement key recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the report of the nonprofit Pew Oceans Commission.
Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA), co-chair of the bipartisan House Ocean Caucus, made up of over 50 members who represent coastal areas, introduced the bill. He was joined by fellow caucus members Congressmen Tom Allen (D-Me) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md) and Jim Saxton (R-NJ).
"Though our oceans are critical to our survival, they are in trouble," said Farr. "On this first day of Congress, we're taking an important first step with Oceans-21 to present a vision for a strong oceans governance policy, based on our better understanding of how our oceans work."
"The federal government must come together to create a coordinated, national approach to ocean policy," said Congressman Saxton, a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and its Fisheries Conservation & Oceans Subcommittee.
"The road to developing a national ocean policy should be flexible, bipartisan and goal-oriented. Congress must find a means to address both the conservation and commerce aspects of ocean issues. Oceans-21 is a step in the right direction," Saxton said.
Oceans-21 would establish an Oceans and Great Lakes Conservation Trust Fund. It builds upon existing regional initiatives to act as a clearinghouse for federal, state, and local governments to address management needs at an ecosystem scale.
"Our hope is that regional ocean partnerships, which include a fair representation of all affected stakeholders, will lead to better, more integrated management that reflects regional goals and priorities, balances the needs of competing industries, and eases coordinated, collaborative response to regional issues," said Congressman Allen.
Conservationists who recognize the stresses on ocean ecosystems support the measure. “Recent scientific studies have documented the precipitous decline of our oceans as a result of overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction, said Sarah Chassis, director of Nordic’s Oceans Initiative. “This legislation will protect and restore the health of our oceans, which we depend on for food, jobs, recreation, and a way of life."
"Representatives Farr, Allen, Saxton and Gilchrest have demonstrated the importance of ocean health by introducing this key bill in the first hours of the new Congress and we look forward to working with them to turn this bill into law," said Chassis.
The Ocean Policy Advisory Council has formed a Marine Reserves Working Group that is in the initial stages of developing a work plan for designing a network of marine reserves.
For more information, visitor contact Bob Sallinger at