Updated on April 21, 2016
First came World Ocean Day (June 8th). Then, last Friday, Obama declared that June is National Oceans Month.
In his proclamation, Obama stated, “During National Oceans Month, we celebrate these vast spaces and the myriad ways they sustain life. We also pledge to preserve them and commend all those who are engaged in efforts to meet this end.”
Sounds great right? But what does it mean? How will the U.S. government take steps towards preserving “these vast spaces”?
At the same time that the National Oceans Month proclamation was released, Obama issued a Memorandum establishing an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force. So now all 20 of the agencies that manage the ocean surrounding the U.S. will have representatives working together to figure out how to, well, work together.
Obama’s Task Force actually builds on an Executive Order from 2004 when George W. Bush was in office. Bush’s order established the Committee on Ocean Policy, and it seems that Obama’s Task Force was pulled together to move things along toward action.
The new Task Force has 90 days to make recommendations for a framework for the many ocean-related agencies to work together. I’ve marked my calendar and will be checking back to see what progress the Task Force has made in that time.