Dec. 2008 holiday gifts

This last week has ushered forth two great developments for the ocean. The first is actually a retraction of a Bush-driven policy that would have seriously compromised the National Environmental Policy Act by allowing NOAA to bypass external review when managing fisheries – essentially allowing the proverbial “fox guarding the henhouse” (or “sea lions guarding the fish-pens”) scenario.

The second item is truly a gift. Oregon State professor, ocean scientist, and conservation advocate Jane Lubchenco has been appointed to head NOAA. This is a much needed departure from the last eight years, with Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher at the helm.

From the Washington Post:

“Lubchenco, a conservationist who has devoted much of her career to encouraging scientists to become more engaged in public policy debates, is also a vocal proponent of curbing greenhouse gases linked to global warming….The appointment marks a shift for NOAA, which oversees marine issues as well as much of government’s climate work. Lubchenco has criticized the agency in the past for not doing enough to curb overfishing.”

The oceans really need our love right now. With the appointment of Dr. Lubchenco our work just got a little bit easier.