Oceans, Politics

Federal Government Receives Failing Grade in Ocean Policy


The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative released its third annual report card on the actions of the federal and state governments in implementing the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission, as well as the actions described in the Administration’s own U.S. Ocean Action Plan.

While regional and state government received an “A-“, the federal government fared far worse, failing to earn a grade above “C+” in any assessed category. The Commission examines policy initiatives and communicates with leaders in Congress, the Administration, and the states who are responsible for creating and implementing new and improved policies in order to determines its grades.

Added for the first time was a new category assessing “Links between Oceans and Climate Change” to call attention to the relationship between the oceans and climate change. An initial grade of “C” was assigned.

  • National Ocean Governance Reform: D
  • Regional and State Ocean Governance Reform: A-
  • International Leadership: C+
  • Research, Science, and Education: C-
  • Fisheries Management Reform: C+
  • New Funding for Ocean Policy and Programs: D+
  • Links Between Oceans and Climate: C


The commission cited stagnant funding as the major constraint to progress in addressing the problems facing the nation’s oceans and coasts.

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