Conservation Groups Applaud National Ocean Policy

by Tim Flanagan on July 19, 2010

SEATTLE – The Hunter, visit this site a state-funded emergency response tug stationed at Neah Bay,Wash,. was dispatched to assist a 712-foot container ship after the Coast Guard was notified that the vessel had lost propulsion in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, three nautical miles north of Neah Bay, 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Horizon Tacoma was headed from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to Tacoma, Wash. when the crew noticed smoke coming from the number one engine’s turbocharger and shut the engine down.

The U.S. Coast Guard directed the Horizon Tacoma to accept tow from the Hunter and Foss tugs to Tacoma, where the engine will be repaired. The response tug was on scene within 15 minutes, and is currently underway with the Horizon Tacoma in tow. The vessels are expected to arrive in Tacoma Wednesday afternoon.

Mark Gray has this lengthy article at the Pacific Yachting blog:

Challenge, doctor
adventure and teamwork is the Vic-Maui motto. Add to that tales of perseverance and courage, high performance sailing and navigational challenges and you have the recipe for an adrenalin-rush race – Vic-Maui 2010. Regular blogs and emails from most of the fleet allow us to put together a detailed picture.

Looking at the weather picture shaping up in the days before the start, there was a clear sense that this was going to be a fast race, and we weren’t disappointed. This year’s line honors elapsed time of 11d:15h:20m:49s recorded by Scott Burbank’s speedy Riptide 35 Terremoto! ranks in the top third of fastest elapsed times in the history of the race going back to 1968, twenty-two races in all. Terremoto! at a compact 35 feet is by far the smallest boat to win Vic-Maui line honors, and her time ranks up there with elapsed times set in previous races by 50, 60 and even 70-foot sleds. No telling what could have happened if the big guys had come out to play this year!

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Deborah Bach has this story at Three Sheets Northwest:

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[Deborah Bach | Three Sheets Northwest: Jeff Barney, right, of Citizens for a Healthy Bay, talks with tugboat operator Steve Tate on a recent patrol of Commencement Bay.]

Spotting a tugboat operator waving from the shore, Jeff Barney motors his boat over to say hello.

The man, Steve Tate, gestures across the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma where the decrepit ferry Kalakala is moored, an old tugboat floating next to it that appears in danger of sinking. He tells Barney both boats have been drifting around on their moorings. They chat for a few minutes, then Tate thanks Barney for patrolling the waterway.

“You guys do a good job,” Tate says. “I’m glad to see you out here.”

“You see anything on the waterway of concern, you give me a call,” Barney says, before heading back out on the water.

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[Press release from People For Puget Sound —Tim]

(Olympia WA)  – Today the Obama administration unveiled the country’s first comprehensive National Ocean Policy to better protect, decease
maintain and restore our nation’s oceans, cost
coasts and Great Lakes. This policy is the culmination of a year-long process that started when the President convened the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force in June of 2009.  The Policy announced today “serves as a model of balanced, productive, efficient, sustainable, and informed ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes use, management, and conservation within the global community.”

“The National Ocean Policy announced today is a good first step by the federal government uniting in its efforts to protect and restore our waters,” said Dave Peeler, programs director of People For Puget Sound. “What will really count is when the federal government steps up its efforts to make Puget Sound safe and healthier.”

According to Peeler, stepped up efforts are needed by federal and state governments in oil spill prevention and response, orca and endangered species recovery, protection of shoreline habitats like Maury Island from damaging projects like gravel docks, and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

“Last session the state legislature passed a marine spatial planning bill that should ensure that federal and state plans for Puget Sound are consistent and coordinated,” said Peeler. “We need to work together to protect our marine resources and critical habitats. Now the Obama Administration needs to fund these efforts.”

“The fact that the Obama administration embarked on the development of a National Ocean Policy a year ago shows the desire they have to provide better long-term management and ecosystem protection,” said Pete Stauffer, Ocean Ecosystem Project Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “We commend President Obama’s leadership and now call on Congress and our Great Lakes and coastal state governors to support the National Ocean Policy and work to implement the policy,” adds Marjorie Ziegler, Executive Director for the Conservation Council of Hawai’i. 

Our nation’s oceans, coasts, islands and waterways are central to our quality of life, providing not only recreation, sport and sustenance, but a powerful engine for the economy. America’s ocean economy supports millions of jobs and contributes more to GDP than the entire U.S. farm sector. Commercial and recreational fishing alone generated $185 billion in revenue in 2006, supporting about 2 million jobs.

Nothing has highlighted our nation’s dependence on healthy oceans and coasts like the current BP oil spill disaster. “This catastrophe points out that the United States can and must do a much better job to protect and manage our oceans in a way that is not based on a single sector approach to management,” says Sean Cosgrove, Marine Campaign Director for the Conservation Law Foundation. “The National Ocean Policy is an integral part of the Administration’s response to the Gulf oil spill to ensure better environmental protection and reduction of cumulative impacts to ocean and coastal ecosystems,” adds Kathy Fletcher, Executive Director of People for Puget Sound.

While an ocean policy would not have stopped the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster from occurring, a strong National Ocean Policy would have improved the situation by providing necessary oversight and coordination in advance of a disaster, improved protection of ecosystems and natural resources and created an integrated approach to management that includes enforcement of the varying ocean uses.

“The nation can now look to the National Ocean Policy to provide a guiding vision for all federal agencies and a needed mandate for the future protection and restoration of our coasts, oceans, islands and Great Lakes,” concludes David Wilmot, President and founder of Ocean Champions.

The Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, July 19, 2010, can be found at:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Tom July 25, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Many groups are not applauding this bill. Please read statements by both the PSA and the CCA on the subject. this is not good news.

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