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Citing increasing threats to the world's oceans, including pollution and over-harvesting of fish, a bipartisan group of U.S. congressmen introduced legislation in September to create a federal commission to review and assess national ocean policy.

The Oceans Act of 1997 also calls on the President to create and implement a coherent policy to protect the marine environment—and the Great Lakes—against pollution and natural hazards, responsibly steward fisheries and other marine resources, and resolve user conflicts.