One of the primary goals of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative is to provide unbiased, expert advice on coastal and ocean policy and legislation. One mechanism employed by the Joint Initiative is to issue reports that provide insight and practical action-oriented recommendations on specific approaches and reforms needed to promote ocean health. The following reports and white papers address the Joint Initiative’s priority areas: national ocean governance reform (Charting the Course; America's Ocean Future; Changing Oceans, Changing World; From Sea to Shining Sea), regional and state ocean governance reform (One Coast, One Future; An Agenda for Action), and the links between oceans and climate change (Addressing Oceans and Climate Change in Federal Legislation).
Charting the Course: Securing America’s Ocean Future
On June 20, 2013, the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative released a report and executive summary entitled Charting the Course: Securing the Future of America’s Oceans, that calls on President Obama and Congress to improve the management of our ocean resources. The report describes specific recommendations for the Administration and Congress that prioritize areas where short-term progress can be readily achieved. The report outlines measures for immediate implementation that focus on four action areas:
- Enhance the resiliency of coastal communities and ocean ecosystems to dramatic changes underway in our oceans and on our coasts
- Promote ocean renewable energy development and reinvest in our oceans
- Support state and regional ocean and coastal priorities
- Improve Arctic research and management
If implemented, these measures will strengthen ocean-dependent economies, protect coastal communities and provide new opportunities for growth in thriving oceans. The Joint Initiative also urges that the Administration and Congress build off of the blueprint set by the National Ocean Policy and make oceans a priority. These recommendations set the stage for a future assessment by the Joint Initiative of progress in implementing actions that will ensure our oceans and coasts are healthy and vibrant to support our future.
America’s Ocean Future: Ensuring Healthy Oceans to Support a Vibrant Economy On June 7, 2011, the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative released a report, America’s Ocean Future: Ensuring Healthy Oceans to Support a Vibrant Economy, that calls on leaders to support effective implementation of the National Ocean Policy. The report makes recommendations about three fundamental components the Joint Initiative believes are essential for the National Ocean Policy to achieve its potential to improve ocean governance: robust federal coordination, in particular enhanced collaboration with and support for states and regions; better collection and delivery of science and data to support decision making; and immediate investments that would increase government efficiency and effectiveness, including through establishment of an ocean investment fund. These recommendations set the stage for a future assessment by the Joint Initiative, in the form of a report card, of progress in implementing actions that will protect ocean ecosystems so that they can support ocean and coastal economies and protect the many American jobs that depend on them.
Changing Oceans, Changing World: Ocean Priorities for the Obama Administration and Congress On April 7, 2009, the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative released an urgent set of recommendations, Changing Oceans, Changing World: Ocean Priorities for the Obama Administration and Congress. Building on a previous Joint Initiative report released in fall 2008, Changing Oceans, Changing World outlines twenty priority actions needed for improving ocean and coastal policy and management, bolstering international leadership, strengthening ocean science, and funding ocean and coastal policies and programs. The actions respond to critical challenges, including climate change and its impacts, development of a comprehensive energy policy that includes ocean-based energy resources, and stimulation of the national economy, a significant portion of which is dependent on ocean and coastal activities and resources. With strong input and endorsement from ocean and coastal related industries, environmental advocacy groups, science and education organizations, and local, state, and federal government partners the Joint Initiative strongly encourages the Obama Administration and Congress to implement these recommendations within the next two to four years.
One Coast, One Future On January 15, 2009, the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative responded to a request from nineteen local and state elected officials from California, Oregon, and Washington for a report on high priority actions that they, in their capacity as local and state officials, can take to improve the health of coastal and ocean ecosystems and incorporate sound science into decision making. The report One Coast, One Future focuses on actions that local leaders can take to implement an integrated approach to managing the coast and ways that state legislatures can support their efforts.
From Sea to Shining Sea In March 2006 the Joint Initiative received a request from a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators to outline the top ten actions Congress should take to implement the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission. The Senators also solicited a set of funding priorities and necessary changes to laws and the budget process in order to support the implementation of the recommendations. From Sea to Shining Sea directly addresses the Senators’ request and identifies actions and funding priorities needed at the federal level to ensure ocean health and promote ocean science, research, and education.
An Agenda for Action The Joint Initiative produced An Agenda for Action in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Center for the Future of the Oceans based on the discussions and outcomes from a March 2007 workshop on regional ocean governance. Leaders and experts from emerging and established regional ocean governance initiatives around the country were asked to identify the practical steps needed to strengthen and expand the capacity of regions to work collaboratively toward improved ocean and coastal health. An Agenda for Action proposes concrete actions for advancing regional ocean governance.
Addressing Oceans and Climate Change in Federal Legislation In July 2007 the Joint Initiative authored a white paper on the important link between oceans and climate change in order to encourage more ocean provisions in climate change legislation. The paper, entitled Addressing Oceans and Climate Change in Federal Legislation, outlines policies and strategies intended to increase the resiliency of our economic and ecological systems in the face of the impacts associated with oceans and climate change.