NOAA 2002-R401
Contact: Stephanie Dorezas
NOAA News Releases 2002
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Several officials representing NOAA will testify during the Commission on Ocean Policy's first regional public meeting, Jan.15-16, 2002, at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today.

Margaret A. Davidson, director of NOAA's Ocean Service and William Hogarth, director of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, will stress the importance of the oceans to the nation's economy and security and the need to protect and conserve ocean resources for this and future generations. Officials from NOAA's National Sea Grant College Program also will offer information to the commission on its 31 year partnership with researchers and outreach specialists in the nation's universities and colleges.

"Building successful partnerships requires a higher level of commitment and mutual understanding," Davidson said. "To develop a truly interdisciplinary atmosphere, traditional institutional barriers must be removed so team members can coordinate research assets and tackle common problems. The commission meeting in Charleston represents the beginning of this important process by bringing together key groups of people early on in the proces."

The commission meeting is the first in a series of nine regional public meetings providing regional, state, and local government agencies and non-governmental organizations with the opportunity to discuss coastal issues of interest or concern to the Southeastern United States, encompassing the area from Delaware to Georgia. The meeting is comprised of several panel sessions with testimony from leaders in ocean science and policy.

"I look forward to this opportunity to share with the commission the activities underway and planned for our agency, as well as the challenges we face in meeting our mission," Hogarth said. "The views and recommendations of the commission are appreciated and critical to this agency and its mission."

Davidson will speak on a panel regarding partnerships at work, highlighting the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., one of the most innovative examples of partnerships at work. The lab was built to address on the nation's coastal waters. She discuss efforts to remove barriers to working together, and how this laboratory developed from a multi-disciplinary and intergovernmental group.

Hogarth will address the challenges NOAA Fisheries faces in balancing the use and conservation of fisheries and related ocean resources. Among these challenges is the agency's move toward an integrated approach to fishery management while working with multiple mandates, including the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Hogarth will highlight fishery management successes such as Spanish/king mackerel and summer flounder; and the agency's recent advances in regulatory streamlining which will make NOAA Fisheries more responsive to its constituents and the communities it serves. He also will touch on new efforts to modernize NOAA Fisheries to enhance scientific data collection and analyses.

Also testifying will be M. Richard DeVoe, director of NOAA's South Carolina Sea Grant program. DeVoe's testimony will provide the commission with an overview of Sea Grant activities in regional research, education and extension services in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions from Delaware through Georgia.

Robert Bacon, NOAA's South Carolina Sea Grant Extension Leader, will provide the commission with details highlighting how Sea Grant is "providing a bridge to help transfer research-based information on hazard loss reduction from the laboratory to individual homeowners, small contractors, home inspectors, local government and others" through a demonstration-project restoration of a historic 1875 Charleston home.

The 16-member commission, appointed by President Bush, is undertaking an 18-month investigation of oceans-related issues and will make far-reaching recommendations to the president and Congress for a comprehensive national ocean policy, including the Great Lakes. Over the next year and a half, the 16-member commission will assess a wide range of challenging issues, including stewardship of fisheries and marine life; responsible use of offshore oil, gas and non-living resources; coastal storms and other natural hazards; ocean and coastal pollution; marine transportation; the role of oceans in climate change; oceanographic science and technologies; and international leadership and cooperation in marine affairs.

At each coastal region the commission will conduct site visits to oceans-related facilities including offshore oil rigs, oceangraphic vessels, fisheries, and maritime and port facilities. In addition, public hearings will be held to hear the concerns and comments of local businesses, organizations, citizens and government authorities.

Established by federal legislation, the Commission on Ocean Policy is charged with reviewing the effects of federal ocean-related laws and programs. The Oceans Act of 2000 requires the commission to establish findings and make recommendations for reducing duplication, improving efficiency, enhancing cooperation, and modifying the structure of federal agencies involved in the world's oceans. The act requires the commission to consider environmental, technical, economic, and scientific factors in the course of its deliberations.

The commission will present its findings and recommendations in a final report to Congress and the president in the spring 2003.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

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