Turning to the Sea: America’s Ocean Future

“We must continue the critical dialogue that has begun and build together across party, regional, economic, and other interests a comprehensive oceans agenda for the 21st century. . . . We have to make this an American issue that transcends party and other philosophical differences, that is at the core of our own humanity and our obligation to our children and our grandchildren.”
— President William Jefferson Clinton


At the National Ocean Conference last year in Monterey, California, President Clinton directed the United States Cabinet to report back with recommendations for a comprehensive ocean policy to guide U.S. federal efforts in the 21st century. In a report presented September 2, 1999 to Vice President Al Gore, entitled "Turning to the Sea: American's Ocean Future," the Cabinet recommends nearly 150 actions in 25 key areas to protect, restore, and explore America's ocean resources.

To oversee implementation of the Cabinet recommendations, the Vice President announced a new high-level Oceans Report Task Force. The Task Force will prioritize the recommendations, appoint lead agencies for implementation of key recommendations, and meet quarterly to review progress. The Task Force will be co-chaired by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Deputy National Security Advisor and will include high-level representatives of federal agencies with responsibility for ocean affairs.

Sustaining the Economic Benefits of the Oceans
Marine Transportation
Safe Navigation
Coastal Tourism
Coastal Communities
Domestic Fisheries
International Fisheries
Offshore Oil and Gas
Strengthening Global Security
The Law of the Sea Convention
Freedom of Navigation
Maritime Law Enforcement
Protecting Marine Resources
Submerged Heritage Resources
Coral Reefs
Marine Protected Species
Marine Protected Areas
Ocean and Coastal Habitats
Water Quality
Nonindigenous Species
Marine Debris
Discovering the Oceans
Ocean Education
Ocean Observations
Ocean Research
Ocean and Coastal Exploration


"Oceans are critical, not just to our economy; not just to our food supply; not just to America's trade and security; but to the fabric of life itself. Those dark-blue waters are perhaps the single greatest natural treasure on God's Earth. —Vice President Al Gore

To request hard copies of the report please e-mail, call or fax your request to:

Robert Hansen
Office of Public and Constituent Affairs
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone: 202-482-4594
Fax: 202-482-3154
Email: Robert.C.Hansen@noaa.gov

To access the report via the Internet, please use the following links:

A pdf version of the report, with complete graphics and text, is available on the NOAA Public Affairs site. The full report is a very large file, 18 megabytes. It will take more than an hour to download using a modem connection at 28.8 kps. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the pdf version, which is free from Adobe.

News Releases

September 2, 1999 - White House News Release: REPORT FROM THE CABINET: AN OCEAN POLICY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

September 2, 1999 - Vice President Al Gore Announces New Action to Help Protect and Preserve U.S. Shores and Oceans