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Obama Envisions Ocean Policy

US - The Obama administration is working to craft a new overarching national ocean policy that could change how federal agencies address new projects at sea -- from offshore energy development to aquaculture to marine conservation.

According to a news report by Allison Winter of TheNewYorkTimes, top administration officials last week kicked off what will be a cross-country tour of public listening sessions on the plan, the first public events for a group that has worked in overdrive, but under the radar, throughout the summer to craft the new policy.

Once completed, the group's work could significantly alter marine planning and set the stage for a new system of ocean "zoning" that would allocate marine resources among interests such as fishing, boating, oil and gas development, shipping, renewable energy and wildlife, reports TheNewYorkTimes.

The new ocean policy is intended to give a unifying voice to the 20 federal agencies and more than 140 separate laws that address aspects of ocean policy. Two major national oceans commissions recommended the creation of an overaching ocean policy five years ago in reports that found the marine environment is seriously depleted and disrupted by overfishing, development, pollution and climate change.

the Fish Site Editor

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