Environmental politics and policy, while gaining a significant place in the nation's consciousness, constantly comes up against the United States' desire for more development, more profit and a collective lack of foresight. Nowhere is this more evident than in the crucial biodiversity of the world's oceans, which are victim to pollution, overharvesting, habitat destruction, and simplistic and fragmented environmental policies that do not speak to underlying problems. Robert Wilder describes how management of the world's oceans and their ecosystems has long faced two principal obstacles. The first is the seemingly infinite capacity of human apathy - something that permits us to take the sea's comfort, sustenance, ecological services and integrity for granted. The second is the myriad lines for rigid offshore jurisdiction. That people believe the diversity of life on land should be protected is reflected in well-publicized efforts to save the celebrated biodiversity of rainforests. Far less is known, however, about protecting a far larger two-thirds of this planet - the oceans. Drawing on academic literature and practical experience, Wilder illustrates the nature of the questions facing decision makers and provides solutions. By describing how the emerging idea of precautionary action can help build second-generation policy, Wilder offers means to halt problematic overfishing. He integrates political science with the goals of environmental protection, revealing why agencies often fail in their mission to preserve the environment, and offers paths ahead. Wilder shows how damage to marine ecosystems often stems from distant land-based activities and details emerging ideas such as how industrial ecology can be a cost-effective way to prevent pollution. Through a rigorous integration of policy and science, Wilder suggests a much-improved second-generation governance of the oceans and coasts and proposes ideas for resolving the environmental policy stalemate found within the US government.