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Like any good debate case, it is important to start this debate resolution off by looking at some definitions. If you are at all like I am, you probably have never really looked into the United States policy regarding marine natural resources. What are marine natural resources anyway???

To understand what are marine natural resources are, lets turn to a policy institute to see how they define them. The National Ocean Economic Program

identifies two types of marine natural resources – living marine resources and offshore mineral resources. Looking at the first of the two, it could be said that the U.S. marine natural resources include all animal life living in the waters of the United States  The second, offshore mineral resources, include things like oil, natural gas, and other minerals found below the surface of the ocean. I think another area that has potential for some debate is alternative energy sources found in the ocean. For example, wind power and also power harnessed from the water (who says that the water in the ocean is a not a natural resource?).

With the basic framework of what the 2013-2014 STOA resolution will include, lets look at some of the agencies the United States Federal Government uses to enforce its marine natural resource policy.

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. NOAA as it is called, deals with a large portion of the United States marine natural resources. The two main subsidiary bodies of NOAA that deal with marine resources are: The National Marine Fisheries Service and The National Ocean Service.
More information on NOAA can be found here: http://www.noaa.gov/

The Department of Justice also has a division that deals with the legal aspect of marine natural resources. Much of this office deals with pollution cases that involve natural resources. One specific piece of legislation that the DOJ constantly defends, that pertains to the STOA resolution, is the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
More information on the DOJ enforcement can be found here: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/About_ENRD.html

As you might have guessed, the United Nations also has its hand in the management of United States marine natural resources. One treaty that the United States has been in and out of over the past several decades is the United Nations Conference on the Laws of the Sea. The United States has signed the treaty, but has yet to ratify it. UNCLOS is a good treaty to know about because it has large implication on how nations manage marine resources.

UNCLOS Wiki Pagehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki United_Nations_Convention_on_the_Law_of_the_Sea

Here are a few more agencies that deal with marine natural resource policy: The United States Fish and Wildlife Service, The United States Environmental Protection Agency, The Minerals Management Service, and the eight Fisheries Management Councils.

Finally, here are several laws you might look into to get a better understanding on how the United States governs its marine resources. Each name is hyperlinked to the text of the act for your reading convenience.

Coastal Zone Management Act

Clean Water Act

The Port and Waterway Safety Act (33 U.S.C. 1226(b)(3))

The Fisheries Financing Act of 1996

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act

With 70% of the planet made up of water. It is evident, that this is going to be a very large scope resolution. Hopefully, this post gave you a little insight on how the issue of topicality and definitions will shape up this year. The above links are great resources to “fish” around for case ideas and background information.

Good luck and happy fishing. 😛

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