Report on Ocean Management Likely Headed for Chilly Reception

The sad state of our oceans is poised to make headlines again this month, but ocean advocates worry that the Bush administration won’t take the problem seriously. The Commission on Ocean Policy — a 16-member presidential advisory panel appointed to comprehensively revisit ocean management policy for the first time in 35 years — is set to release its preliminary report in the next few weeks, after three years of meetings and presentations. The report is expected to recommend a shift from a harvesting approach to a stewardship approach that would protect endangered species, as well as a doubling of federal funding for research. Public surveys show wide support for protective measures for oceans, but some experts and conservationists fear they won’t be forthcoming. “I don’t think it’s a high priority for this administration,” said commission member William Ruckelshaus.