Publication Date

Spring 2006



Document Type



Two high-level committees - the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission - have recently issued reports expressing grave concerns about the condition of America's oceans. In these reports, the commissions suggest that institutional flaws underlie current problems. Specifically, the commissions' views are that state and federal agencies with marine jurisdiction lack the mechanisms, and the incentives, to coordinate their management activities. Accordingly, both commissions recommend the creation of regional ocean governance bodies. Although the commissions' designs differ, their goal is the same: management that operates on a larger scale and incorporates more ocean interests. This article critiques these proposals and suggests an alternate focus for reform. As compared to the multiple-use regime proposed by the commissions, a system of smaller-scale, dominant-use agencies has a greater chance to improve the condition of the marine environment.


© 2006 Josh Eagle