An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century calls for a new governance framework, more investment in marine science and a new stewardship ethic by all Americans - all within the context of an ecosystem-based management approach - to halt the decline of this nation's oceans and coasts. In total, the U. S. Commission on Ocean Policy put forward 212 recommendations for a new national ocean policy in the report. The value of the oceans and coasts to the nation is immense and their full potential remains unrealized. Over half the U.S. population lives in coastal watershed counties and roughly one-half of the nation's gross domestic product ($4.5 trillion in 2000) is generated in those counties and in adjacent ocean waters. A comprehensive and coordinated national ocean policy requires moving away from the current fragmented, single-issue way of doing business and toward ecosystem-based management. This new approach considers the relationships among all ecosystem components, and will lead to better decisions that protect the environment while promoting the economy and balancing multiple uses of our oceans and coasts.