Scientists call for national system of MPAs

Jocelyn Garovoy jocelyn at
Thu Feb 17 13:59:42 EST 2000

Announcement: February 16, 2000

         Marine Conservation Biology Institute (MCBI) and The Cousteau 
Society are proud to release the documents from their recent workshop, 
Establishing a National System of Marine Protected Areas in the United 
States.  The workshop, held in Washington DC, included more than a dozen 
leading social and natural scientists from around the world and over thirty 
observers from federal agencies, universities, and  NGOs in the USA and 
Canada.  The workshop participants have produced an unprecedented set of 
recommendations calling for the immediate establishment of high-level 
federal process to create a comprehensive national system of marine 
protected areas, and recommended criteria for the design and management of 
the proposed system.

         Please find the letter outlining the group's recommendations to 
President Clinton and Vice President Gore below.  The full text of the 
document, Safeguarding America's Seas: Establishing a National System of 
Marine Protected Areas, can be accessed through MCBI's website:

February 14, 2000

President William Jefferson Clinton
Vice President Albert Gore
The White House
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. President and Mr. Vice President:

         Among the many challenges the United States faces in the 21st 
Century, the greatest one is bequeathing future generations a livable 
planet.  This requires that our leaders safeguard our nation's unequaled 
marine environments no less than our terrestrial landscapes.  The 
Clinton-Gore Administration has made major contributions toward that end, 
including holding the first National Ocean Conference in June 1998 in 
Monterey CA and outlining needed initiatives in Turning to the Sea: 
America's Ocean Future.  We strongly believe that, if implemented 
effectively, the recommendation in that report to establish a national 
system of marine protected areas would be one of your Administration's 
greatest environmental legacies, one whose historic impact would be 
comparable to those of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt 
and Jimmy Carter in protecting the American landscape.

         To help you achieve this bold and critically important goal, 
Marine Conservation Biology Institute and The Cousteau Society convened an 
international group of more than a dozen natural and social scientists, all 
of whom are experts in marine conservation, to propose measures that this 
and succeeding Administrations could undertake to protect the biological 
diversity and integrity of our nation's estuaries, coastal waters and 
oceans.  In the document that follows we outline a plan your Administration 
can initiate that would be an unprecedented step toward protecting 
America's ocean legacy, and offer state-of-the-art guidelines for 
establishing marine protected areas to achieve this purpose.  We encourage 
you to create a National Marine Protected Area Council via Executive Order 
to coordinate and carry out this plan, much as you have coordinated efforts 
to address invasive species and coral reef protection through other 
farsighted Executive Orders.

         This is not a task for those lacking in vision, but we come to you 
knowing that establishing this system will benefit our nation, our children 
and all generations of Americans to come.


Tundi Agardy Ph.D.,  Senior Director, Global Marine Program, Conservation 
International, Washington DC
Angel C. Alcala, Ph.D., Research Professor, Silliman University, Pasig 
City, The Philippines
Louis W. Botsford, Ph.D., Professor of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation 
Biology, University of California-Davis, Davis CA
Phillip Dustan, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, College of Charleston, 
Charleston SC
Peter M. Emerson, Ph.D., Senior Economist, Environmental Defense, Austin TX
Jon Lien, Ph.D., Honorary Research Professor, Ocean Sciences Centre, 
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. Johns, Canada
James Lindholm, Ph.D., Postoctoral Fellow, University of Connecticut 
National Undersea Research Center, Groton CT
Michael Mascia, Ph.D. Candidate, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort NC
Amy Mathews-Amos, M.S., M.P.A.,  Program Director, Marine Conservation 
Biology Institute, Washington DC
Elliott A. Norse, Ph.D., President, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, 
Redmond WA
John C. Ogden, Ph.D., Director, Florida Institute of Oceanography, St. 
Petersburg FL
Alison Rieser, J.D., Director, Marine Law Institute, University of Maine, 
Portland ME

cc:     The Honorable William M. Daley, Secretary of Commerce
         The Honorable Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior
         George Frampton, Chairman, Council on Environmental Quality
         James B. Steinberg, Deputy Assistant to the President for National 
Security Affairs, National Security Council

         Ellen Athas, Associate Director for Oceans, Council on 
Environmental Quality
         Ian Bowles, Director of Environmental Affairs, National Security 

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