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Obama’s State of the Union salmon joke highlights complexity of coastal ecosystem services

U.S. President Barack Obama told his now-famous salmon joke on Tuesday to illustrate the silliness of unnecessarily complex regulation, but the joke says more about the complexity of coastal ecosystems – and the challenge of keeping them intact in the face of growing development – than it does about regulatory dysfunction.  It’s a challenge that must – and can – be met by getting the private sector involved in protecting the nature along our coasts.

If there are two things we’ve all either heard about or recall from U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, it’s his outreach to the business community and his salmon joke.

"The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in freshwater, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater,” he said.  "And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked."

It’s a joke that ultimately says more about the differences between oceans, streams, and lakes than it does about regulatory absurdity, as Ecosystem Marketplace discusses in this brief analysis from Friday’s edition: Obama Salmon Joke Highlights Complexity of Coastal Ecosystem Services.

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