Yesterday, the Obama Administration released the final ocean action plan to help coordinate the federal government’s efforts to tackle some of the biggest threats facing oceans, coasts and Great Lakes. This advances the National Ocean Policy’s goal of creating healthier oceans and coasts and stronger economies for our coastal communities.
The health and resilience of the marine environment are crucial to maintaining a diverse suite of economic, social and environmental benefits that we all depend on. In the Pacific Northwest, ocean-related activities contributed nearly $1.8 billion and 26,700 jobs in Oregon and $7 billion and 103,500 jobs in Washington in 2009. America as a whole is no different: the nation’s ocean economy is valued at $138 billion per year and supports 2.3 million jobs.
The implementation plan released yesterday is meant to ensure all government agencies that play a role in ocean-related work — from fishing to shipping to offshore energy and coastal development — work from a single playbook: the National Ocean Policy.
As Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and Co-Chair of the National Ocean Council said yesterday:
With increasing demands on our ocean, we must improve how we work together, share information, and plan smartly to grow our economy, keep our ocean healthy, and enjoy the highest benefits from our ocean resources, now and in the future.”
Ecotrust recognizes the value of robust regional ocean planning and we are working with a number of partners along our nation’s coasts to support smart implementation of the NOP. Our cutting edge data visualization and interactive mapping tools, such as the MARCO Ocean Data Portal that we designed with our partners in the Mid-Atlantic, offer ocean stakeholders a means to engage in informed dialogue about the best uses of our oceans.
As Rick Robins, Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, remarked yesterday on the White House blog, tools like the MARCO Portal allow the kind of…
…enhanced coordination and communication between agencies and ocean sectors [that] is critical to ensuring positive outcomes for present and future generations.”
The National Ocean Policy (NOP) coordinates the work of our federal agencies through the National Ocean Council and encourages states and all stakeholders, including the public, to work together to help address some of the biggest challenges facing ocean life and the communities that are connected to the sea. And the NOP’s Final Implementation Plan reflects over two years worth of hard work, investment and commitment made by state governments, commercial and industrial ocean users, universities and scientists, 25 federal agencies and departments and tens of thousands of citizens across the country to move our oceans toward better ocean management.
We now need state and federal agencies, Governors, tribes, and our elected leaders to support and fund the implementation of the National Ocean Policy.