This morning, the White House announced the National Ocean Council approved the Nation’s first ocean plans – the Northeast Ocean Plan and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan. The cornerstone of each of these plans is a database of maps, marine species, climate information, renewable energy, and human activities built through a collaboration of state governments, Federal agencies, fishery management councils, commercial fishing, shipping, energy, transportation, environmental groups, and other marine interests. The data will be used by scientists, industry, government, the public, and other stakeholders to make informed decisions about using ocean resources in a responsible and sustainable fashion.
During the development of these two regional ocean plans, the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) was invited by Ocean Conservancy to visit with members of Congress. NAMEPA was tasked with helping Congress understand the significance of Ocean Planning to the future development of industry and the need to coordinate efforts among the many users of the oceans to mitigate impacts on the environment.
“NAMEPA is pleased that these important strategic programs have been approved,” said Carleen Lyden-Kluss, Co-Founder and Executive Director of NAMEPA. “They are critical to the balance of commerce and conservation, and should be expanded throughout the United States as effective tools for collaboration and development. NAMEPA is honored to be a part of this success.”
Fortunately, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic plans are only the beginning. As stated in the press release by Christy Goldfuss and John P. Holdren on the White House blog, “Today’s action marks a significant milestone for ocean stewardship and we have an opportunity to build on this progress as the Pacific Islands, West Coast, and Caribbean regional planning bodies develop plans of their own. As the Plans are implemented, they will pave the way for the National to more effectively advance economic and conservation goals through sound ocean management.”