Schwarzenegger Talks Tough on Ocean Protection, Says NRDC

Governor Issues Comments on U.S. Oceans Commission Report

Statement by Ann Notthoff, NRDC California Advocacy Director

SAN FRANCISCO (June 4, 2004) - The Schwarzenegger administration released today the governor's comment letter in response to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy's Preliminary Report. The report, which was released on April 20, concluded that overfishing and poorly coordinated management have helped trigger the collapse of commercial fisheries and the marine systems that sustain them. The commission asked the governors of coastal states to comment on the report before it is finalized and sent to the president and Congress.

Below is a statement by Ann Notthoff, California advocacy director for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

"Gov. Schwarzenegger gets it: the coast and ocean are part of the very essence of California. His comments build on our state's tradition of coastal leadership by calling on the U.S. commission to strengthen its recommendations for an overhaul of U.S. ocean policy. We're especially pleased to see his call for beefing up the commission's recommendations on marine protected areas and ecosystem management.

"The governor is right to acknowledge the commission's call for the creation of a National Ocean Council. Even better, he called on Congress to enact a national ocean policy act to codify a new national ocean policy. This recommendation also was included in last year's report by the independent Pew Oceans Commission.

"The governor agreed with the U.S. commission's call for the establishment of a national ocean policy trust fund, with one important caveat -- the fund should not include incentives for increased oil and gas development off our coasts. This is important because America can't drill its way to energy independence, and we shouldn't be risking our precious ocean resources in search of fossil fuels.

"Finally, there is clear bipartisan consensus among scientists, political leaders, fishing interests, conservation groups, the Pew Ocean Commission, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and now Gov. Schwarzenegger, that we need to manage entire ocean ecosystems, rather than managing single species without concern for their interconnectedness."