Over-fishing, pollution should be curbed

Over-fishing, pollution should be curbed
Newsday – Long Island,NY,USA

Over-fishing, pollution should be curbed
December 26, 2004
The oceans that surround us deserve more attention and commitment from the White House. Pollution, over-fishing, destructive trawling methods and other perils continue to endanger this precious resource. But President George W. Bush’s response to the report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy has been typically tepid: a dash of rhetoric, a call for more study, but very little money.

The Oceans Act of 2000 created the commission to do the first comprehensive look at U.S. ocean policy in more than three decades – a period that included vast growth in the nation’s population, and a frightening increase in stresses on the ocean habitat. The commission issued its report in September, and Bush responded on Dec. 17.

Bush did establish a Committee on Ocean Policy, but he put it in the Council on Environmental Quality, known for having little clout. Besides, the council has many other fish to fry than ocean policy. So this issue may get lost there.

Further, Bush characteristically came up shy on funding. The commission’s report estimated its recommendations would cost $1.5 billion the first year, rising to $3.9 billion in later years. Bush is talking about $2.7 million, with an “m.”

Nor did Bush say much about reform of regional fishery management councils, now dominated by commercial fishing interests. Sound science should have a bigger voice in determining allowable catches, so that short-term thinking doesn’t deplete the fisheries over the long haul

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