The Pew Oceans Commission will adopt a strategic plan and formal mission statement at its first meeting in July 2000. Until that time, the following interim statement is offered as a description of the Commission's intended objectives. The Pew Oceans Commission will focus on threats to living resources in U.S. waters and the measures needed to restore and sustain the health of the marine environment. Problems that will receive special attention from the Commission include pollution, habitat loss due to coastal development, marine aquaculture, invasive species and the impact of fishing on the environment including overfishing, bycatch and habitat damage caused by fishing practices. The Commission will also review the laws and institutions governing U.S. territorial waters and U.S. participation in international fishery agreements to determine whether existing institutions and related responsibilities and jurisdictions are adequate to address the problems facing America's marine environment. The Commission will give special attention to economic and governance questions. The Commission, composed of leaders from business, science, government, and the conservation and fishing communities, will be bipartisan and will include members from all of the coastal regions of the nation and federal, state and local governmental perspectives. The unique potential of the Commission lies in its structure as an independent and balanced group of distinguished Americans who can bring attention and credibility to the need for far-reaching changes in U.S. ocean policy. The principal focus of the Commission will be its report to Congress containing the recommendations of the members that is scheduled for publication in February 2002. In addition to its formal report, the Commission will also work to increase public understanding of the principal threats to marine biodiversity including the declining health of many fish populations and endangered marine species, and to educate the public about the importance of coastal resources to the U.S. economy. This will be accomplished through regional hearings, interim papers and reports issued by the Commission, extensive use of the Internet, and paid and free media. The Commission will secure the services of some of the nation's most knowledgeable marine scientists and researchers to gather and present the best scientific information on particular problems and issues.