The U.S. and the ocean: Policy, politics, and the public by Jerry R. Schubel
The U.S. was founded as a maritime nation and was a world leader for most of the 19th and 20th centuries. We have lost much of that leadership. We have the largest Exclusive Economic Zone of all nations, and in 2010 got our first ever National Ocean Policy, but we are still stuck in the muck. We have failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; application of Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning is sputtering; ecosystem-based management remains elusive; and the ocean is rarely mentioned as a source of jobs and new economic activity in the current debate. U of M Professor Emeritus, John Kingdon wrote a defining treatment of the governmental policy-making process. We will explore its relevance to ocean policy through two case studies—managing freshwater inflow to the San Francisco Bay estuary, and managing aquatic invasive species introductions by ships transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway. Ocean scientists seek ocean policies based on sound science, but are limited by lack of experience in the policy arena and by the lack of appropriate institutional structures to engage them and their expertise. I will offer some observations on disruptive strategies.
Jerry R. Schubel, PhD, is President and CEO at Aquarium of the Pacific.