GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

September 18, 2009

My View: Reaching out for input through Ocean Policy Task Force

This fall, President Obama's Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force is traveling to four more cities as part of a six-city tour to hear from the public about how best to ensure the protection, maintenance and restoration of our oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes.

The task force, with vigorous participation by NOAA and 24 other federal departments and agencies, has released an interim report for a national policy for oceans, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems, a framework for policy coordination, and a strategy to implement the objectives of the national policy.

These recommendations were published in the Federal Register this week. The public has 30 days to review and provide comments.

The task force will hold its next public meeting in Providence, R.I., at the Convention Center in downtown Providence on Sept. 24 from 4 to 7 p.m.

I was at the first meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, and I encourage all those who are interested in taking part in this important national conversation about the future of our oceans and coasts to try to attend this meeting or to go online to submit your comments at oceancomments@ceq.eop.gov. The Providence meeting is the third of six that will take place until the end of October and the only one in New England. The last three meetings will be in Honolulu, New Orleans and Cleveland.

It's important for the diverse fishing communities and sectors to attend these meetings. It's essential that commercial and recreational fishermen as well as those in environmental groups, scientists, energy entrepreneurs, the general public and other stakeholders who care about our oceans and coasts be part of this national process to advise President Obama.

Gloucester fishermen and other members of the public from our nation's oldest commercial fishing community need to be at the table.

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