On June 12, 2009, Barack Obama sent a memorandum to the heads of United States executive departments and federal agencies to establish an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The Task Force was charged with developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of the country’s oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes. It also plans to recommend a framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning.
The Task Force’s Interim Report, which provides proposals for a comprehensive national approach to uphold the country’s marine stewardship responsibilities, was released on September 10, 2009 for public review and comment.
The Marine Aquarium Council has recommended to the Task Force that National Policy be directed to address the trade of marine organisms so as to assist with the management of resources harvested from the world’s rivers, lakes, and oceans. ISEAL Alliance eco-labeling organizations, such as the Marine Aquarium Council, the Marine Stewardship Council, and the World Wildlife Fund''s Aquaculture Dialogues, have already deployed effective management systems across global seascapes and trade routes. As part of their core mission, eco-labeling organizations develop and implement ecosystem based management systems (National Priority Objective #1) that help regulate and protect the world’s oceans and coral reefs, while also providing consumers with the option of purchasing products that provide direct conservation benefits. Establishing certified fisheries helps foster coastal and marine spatial planning (National Priority Objective #2) through clearly defined and managed areas where organisms are collected and harvested. At the same time, eco-labeled products generate informed decisions and improved understanding (National Priority Objective #3) by disseminating to the public the realities of the trade of marine species, especially in partnership with private sector businesses and NGOs.
Pursuant to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observations and infrastructure (Area of Special Emphasis #5), eco-labeling organizations can assist with developing and improving data management, communication, access, and modeling systems for areas where resources are gathered. Voluntary certification schemes can also strongly support regional ecosystem protection and restoration (Area of Special Emphasis #2) by ensuring that private sector businesses meet baseline standards for the collection and trade of cultured and wild caught marine organisms.
Download the Marine Aquarium Council’s White Paper to the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and support MAC and the international voluntary standards system movement.