FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Stout
In the second meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force today in Maui, Commerce Deputy Secretary Robert Mallett, on behalf of the Task Force, announced a series of actions to begin the collaborated effort to protect and restore coral reefs.
After being in existence for less than nine months, the Task Force identified a number of key actions to begin implementing over the next six months, including:
"This plan of action is a home run in our efforts to protect and restore coral reefs," said U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Robert Mallett. "These are critical issues and we are on the road to protecting our valuable coral reefs."
"In nine months of existence, this group has been able to create an excellent beginning to a comprehensive and coordinated action plan to implement the Executive Order and increase protection for coral reefs," said U.S. Department of Interior Assistant Secretary Don Berry.
"I am very happy with the Task Force
resolution that recognizes the hard work that has been done by
Guam and the other U.S. Islands in drafting the U.S. Islands
Coral Reef Initiative," said Guam Governor Carl T.C. Gutierrez.
"Our report lists approximately $3 million worth of concrete
proposals for coral reef protection in the islands."
"This proposal gives the Task Force clear direction and focus on near term actions in FY1999 and FY 2000, and an action plan that identifies additional priorities, needs and requirements in FY 2001 and beyond," said Commerce Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere D. James Baker.
The Task Force meets again in October 1999 for review and possible adoption of the working group strategies as a Task Force Action Plan.
The Coral Reef Task Force was established by Presidential Order on June 11, 1998, as part of the National Ocean Conference in Monterey, Calif. The Task Force consists of senior leaders of 11 federal agencies and representatives of seven states and territories, and is co-chaired by the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Commerce. The Task Force was created to help implement research, monitoring, mapping, conservation, restoration and international measures to reduce human impacts on coral reefs.