If President Barack Obama’s third choice for Commerce Secretary sticks, we will have a knowledgeable voice as the secretary who oversees much of the nation’s oceans management, including fisheries.

Coming from a coastal state, former Washington Governor Gary Locke should appreciate the importance of our oceans to the people of the United States and the health of our nation’s economy.

The port of Seattle is home to one of the largest and most profitable fishing fleets in the world, and the majority of Washingtonians live along the beautiful Puget Sound, where people enjoy scuba diving in kelp beds, fishing for salmon, and watching killer whales.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

As governor, Locke supported ecosystem-based management of the oceans and the protection of sensitive ocean habitat areas; he emphasized the need for scientific information to form the foundation for management decisions.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

He successfully dealt with complex ocean management decisions during his critical work on the Pacific Salmon Treaty with Canada, and was a champion for ocean funding for the protection of marine animals including killer whales and salmon.

With his background in dealing with complex ocean issues and commitment to putting science at the forefront of decisions, Locke should make an excellent Secretary of Commerce. Joined by the lauded scientist Dr. Jane Lubchenco — also from the Pacific Northwest — who is to become the new head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we could have two ocean champions at the helm of our nation’s most important ocean department.