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Seven topics have been identified by the topics committee of the Year of the Ocean as focal points of discussions as part of the Year of the Ocean celebration. The Year of the Ocean (Eos, June 19, 1984, p. 402, and April 24, 1984, p. 326) is a year-long commemoration and celebration, begun on July 1, of the oceans. The commemoration has been endorsed by Congress and by President Ronald Reagan.

The topics committee is composed of nearly 20 representatives from government, industry, and academia. Thomas Maginnis, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's office of policy and planning, is the chairman of the topics committee.