In 2010, a Presidential Executive Order established a National Ocean Policy (NOP) to guide the protection, maintenance, and restoration of America's oceans and coasts. The NOP requires federal agencies to work in a more coordinated, goal-oriented framework with states, tribes, and stakeholders. The NOP also calls for the creation of Regional Planning Bodies (RPBs) to coordinate and implement regional ocean planning with state, federal, tribal, and Fishery Management Council representatives. The Mid-Atlantic RPB (MidA RPB) was formally established in April 2013. It will leverage existing efforts underway by states and regional entities, and engage stakeholders and technical experts at every key step.
Building on Current Momentum
Regional ocean planning in the Mid-Atlantic is being led by state, federal, tribal, and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council partners, with the close involvement of local communities, businesses, and other stakeholders. In April 2013, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) hosted the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Planning Workshop in collaboration with federal partners to help launch regional ocean planning. A summary (16MB) and video of the workshop's proceedings, along with other key resources are available on the MARCO website.
The April workshop was an initial step toward regional ocean planning in the Mid-Atlantic and engaged stakeholders in early thinking about the design of the planning process. Regional ocean planning is intended to improve understanding of how Mid-Atlantic ocean resources and places are currently being used, managed and conserved, and to establish a broad vision that will guide the actions that need to be taken to address shared regional priorities. Information obtained through this approach is intended to guide resource conservation while supporting a growing number of uses vying for ocean resources and space.
The Mid-Atlantic states are already working through established partnerships - with one another, federal agency partners, and stakeholders - to better coordinate, share data, and plan for new and expanding uses in an already crowded Mid-Atlantic ocean. These collaborations have laid a strong foundation for regional ocean planning. Partnerships with Mid-Atlantic stakeholders are critical to the success of regional ocean planning. The workshop was an early step toward establishing lasting relationships with businesses, academic institutions, and nongovernmental entities to ensure all perspectives and interests are heard and that actions reflect the economic, social, cultural, and ecological needs and goals of the Mid-Atlantic region.