The oceans surrounding the United States are in serious trouble, and the system of governance is insufficient to protect them, according to the US Commission on Ocean Policy, which is to deliver its final report today (September 20) to the president and to members of Congress.

Built on inputs from hundreds of experts and the public in numerous site visits and public meetings around the country, the report describes how pollution, excess nutrients, sediments, and algal blooms are affecting the water and the life it sustains, how living marine resources are declining, and how habitat is being lost.

"Persistent organic pollutants and nutrients, particularly nitrogen, on the coasts are one of our biggest challenges," Donald Boesch, of the University of Maryland, who testified before the commission, told The Scientist. "Nitrogen reaches the oceans from agricultural runoff, animal waste in agricultural production, street runoff, and atmospheric pollution from...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?