I believe that the continued use of the term "owns" the ocean misdirects the discussion. "Ownership" changes the concept to one of dominion over the resources, rather than the duty to protect and restore. "Ownership" carries with it the idea that one has the right to exclude others and exploit as one sees fit. This is a common resource that must be protected and, to the degree it has been harmed, it should be restored.
Rather than ownership, the State and Federal government instead have a duty more like a trustee to protect and maintain the marine resources for the future. The beneficiary is the public. That means avoiding exploitation that diminishes the resource in a way that it is lost to future generations.
The frame of the discussion should be who has the duty to monitor, maintain, and improve the resources, and what is the nature and extent of the duty? Next is the question of the extent of the privilege allowed to those who exploit the resources. Whether for energy, fisheries, or recreation, the ability to use or consume marine resources must be exercised only to the degree that it does not diminish the resource for the future. It is the State and Federal Governments' duty to regulate in a manner that protects and restores the resources.
posted 2 years, 11 months ago
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