National Ocean Council Blog
- Posted byon April 16, 2013 at 2:06 PM EDT
Today, the Obama Administration released its plan for translating the National Ocean Policy into on-the-ground actions to benefit the American people. Here’s what people are saying about the plan:
“The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan emphasizes the role that ports and maritime commerce play in the nation’s economy. We are glad that many of the key recommendations will support the flow of commerce in and through our nation’s ports by improving the quality and reliability of navigation and ocean observation data, increasing the efficiency of permitting processes and agency coordination and identifying the possible impact of increased weather events and sea level rise on port facilities.”
American Association of Port Authorities
"The vitality of our working waterfronts is a national economic priority. The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan provides a predictable and inclusive decision-making framework to ensure that our economic interests are fostered in the face of growing and competing demands on our oceans."
Dr. Geraldine Knatz, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles
"I welcome and appreciate the recognition of existing regional and local management and the commitment to supporting and enhancing partnerships to improve the management of our marine resources."
John Pappalardo, Chief Executive Officer, Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association
"The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan is good news for generations of shellfish growers and those who enjoy shellfish. The industry is completely dependent upon a healthy ocean, innovation and responsible planning. The actions identified in this plan will allow shellfish production to continue to be a vital component of our country's rural coastal communities. I applaud the President's leadership in preserving this industry for future generations."
Margaret Pilaro Barrette, Executive Director, Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association
“We are encouraged to see that the final Implementation Plan addresses many of the concerns we raised when the draft was offered for comment. The final Plan is appropriately focused on key areas such as permitting efficiencies, habitat restoration and economic development opportunities, while respecting local and regional authority and sovereignty. Hopefully the plan will draw attention to key research and development needs so that lawmakers will be moved to direct appropriate funding resources to these critical needs.”
Bob Rheault, Executive Director, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association
“Demand for our farmed shellfish has exceeded our ability to supply it for years. We are pleased that the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan recognizes the opportunity to expand domestic shellfish aquaculture and the valuable jobs it can create. The Plan provides critical direction on permit coordination and efficiency and implementing the National Shellfish Initiative as well as focusing on science, ocean acidification and monitoring which are all critically important to shellfish growers.”
Bill Dewey, Director of Public Policy and Communications for Taylor Shellfish Farms.
"The National Corn Growers Association appreciates the administration’s outreach to the agriculture community during the development of the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan. We welcome the Plan’s emphasis on voluntary conservation programs and nutrient trading pilot opportunities, as well as expanded research to better understand the complex causes of hypoxia. We can work together to grow the economies of coastal and farming communities while preserving water quality for years to come."
National Corn Growers Association
“Well-informed decision making is essential to avoiding and mitigating conflict among various ocean user groups. This is especially important for a region like the Mid-Atlantic where we expect to see a modern emergence of renewable energy development. I appreciate the National Ocean Policy’s emphasis on integrated decision-making and improved coordination at the regional level, in support of regional priorities. New decision-making tools, such as regional data portals, will facilitate improved collaboration and efficiency in ocean planning. For example, this week we will host a workshop in which managers, scientists, fishermen, and other stakeholders will come together to collaboratively evaluate and develop fishery management strategies to protect deep sea corals, utilizing the MARCO regional data portal to display information. This kind of enhanced coordination and communication between agencies and ocean sectors is critical to ensuring positive outcomes for present and future generations.”
Rick Robins, Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council
“We believe implementing the National Ocean Policy is essential for the offshore wind industry to thrive in this country. Offshore wind is a new industry with the potential to create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment in the U.S.”
Jim Lanard, President, Offshore Wind Development Coalition
“Marinas are more than just a place for ocean users to dock their boat at the end of the day – they are a true economic hub for tourism and recreation. That’s why having a plan which maps out ocean uses for the Northeast region – identifying potential conflicts before they happen – will be of great value to my industry. The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan will enable regions like New England to move ahead with this smart ocean planning by engaging people like me, who live and work on the water every day, while not forcing planning on other regions that do not currently want to engage in the process.”
Michael Keyworth, board member and past president, Rhode Island Marine Trades Association; Vice President and General Manager, Brewer Cove Haven Marina in Barrington, Rhode Island.
“The National Ocean Policy is about making smart choices for a healthier ocean – which, in turn, saves money, time and jobs. The implementation plan shows that the policy is a realistic plan that recognizes the tough fiscal climate we’re in. That’s why it emphasizes that these priorities can help direct the limited resources to where they’re most needed.”
Janis Searles Jones, Executive Vice President for Policy and Programs, Ocean Conservancy
“I’m proud to have supported the Oceans Act in 2000 that led to sweeping bipartisan recommendations for a new and comprehensive national ocean policy. The nation’s prosperity and the well-being of all Americans depends directly on the continued health and stewardship of the ocean, coasts and Great Lakes. The Administration’s thoughtfully revised Implementation Plan marks a new and practical step in over a decade of federal ocean policy efforts and I look forward to working together with the Administration to move the Implementation Plan forward.”
Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV, Chairman, Commerce Science & Transportation Committee, United States Senate
“We're excited to see a final plan from the National Ocean Council that has real actions to protect our coasts and oceans. By providing support for ocean planning, the plan will help ensure that new industries like offshore wind power do not unnecessarily impact the marine ecosystem and human uses like recreation and fishing."
Pete Stauffer, surfer and Ocean Program Manager with Surfrider Foundation, Portland, Oregon
“We who work on the water daily see the direct effects of changes caused by ocean acidification or increases in ocean temperatures. As a lobsterman I've come to think of the Gulf of Maine as being unique and precious, and deserving of all our efforts at stewardship and protection that the National Ocean Policy and Ocean Planning will enable.”
Richard Nelson, Lobsterman from Friendship, Maine
“The whole concept of the national ocean policy is to maximize the benefit and minimize the damage. What’s not to love?”
Dr. Leslie Kaufmann, Biologist with Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
“Full implementation of the National Ocean Policy is what we need to protect, maintain and restore New England’s ocean and coasts. Conservationists, fishermen, scientists, boaters, surfers, clean energy advocates and community leaders are all working together because we understand the value of stewardship and getting out ahead of ocean use conflicts by doing smart planning for our oceans.”
Priscilla Brooks, VP and Director of Ocean Conservation, Conservation Law Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts
“With more than 10 million participations, the marine recreational fishing community represents an incredibly large diverse ocean user group. The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan is the first real comprehensive approach to our country’s ocean interests that recognizes the importance of recreational interests, and it goes a long way toward providing an outline for continued responsible use.”
Tom Raftican, President, The Sportfishing Conservancy
“Through this plan, there is a commitment to education, regulatory streamlining, and better monitoring and data. It reflects a serious and thoughtful attempt not only to tackle big problems, but also to take advantage of opportunities to work collaboratively with industry to build a domestic aquaculture industry.”
Danny Murphy, President, American Soybean Association
“As a tribal leader I was deeply moved by the understanding and acceptance from the federal, state and the public of who we are and what we bring to the table. Together we work in a manner that truly benefits all we serve. We are modeling the way for other regional bodies to do the same."
Chief Richard Getchell, Chief of the Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians (Maine) and tribal co-lead for the New England Regional Planning Body
“I was very pleased to see the plan for translating the National Ocean Policy into actions that will help us address the very real issues that we face right now and that will only intensify in the future. The Gulf is vital to the energy security, economic well-being and environmental health of our nation. We have options now that we will not have even a few years from now, so it is timely to get this plan on the table.”
Dr. Larry D. McKinney, Executive Director, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies
“The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Leadership Council applauds the National Ocean Council’s release of its National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan. Executing this plan will improve management of our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes and help ensure our vital ocean resources are able to support the communities, businesses and ecosystems that rely on them now and into the future. By incorporating the most advanced scientific knowledge in the field and focusing on increasing efficiency and effectiveness of governmental decision making, the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan offers a stronger, simpler path to healthy, well-managed oceans. We appreciate the thoughtful work the National Ocean Council has done to include feedback from all sectors and we look forward to continuing to work together to improve our economy, our environment and our national security.”
The Honorable William Ruckelshaus and The Honorable Norman Mineta, Co-Chairs, Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, on behalf of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Leadership Council
“The strength of America’s economy is tied to the health of our oceans, particularly in coastal states like Rhode Island. With the release of this plan we now have a blueprint to streamline efforts across the federal government to keep our oceans, and our economy, thriving. The plan will support regions and states as they take steps to prepare for economic development, protect their beaches and wildlife, and ensure their coasts are still thriving for future generations. I look forward to working with the Administration to put this plan into effect.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, co-chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus, United States Senate
“On California’s Central Coast, we understand the role that the ocean plays in supporting our local community. From tourists visiting the Monterey Bay to the fishing industry that relies upon strong marine fish populations, our local economy is dependent upon the jobs created by a healthy, well managed ocean environment. And when the economies of our coastal communities thrive, the entire country reaps the benefits. But for too long, the management of our oceans has been handled by a confusing and often competing mix of federal agencies. This plan finally gets all of the relevant federal agencies on the same page, allowing them to coordinate their missions and provide for more efficient stewardship of our oceans. It also opens the lines of communications between the federal government and the states and local communities that are directly impacted. By working together and taking a holistic, science based approach to the management of our marine ecosystems, we not only build a stronger economy now but ensure the ocean’s long-term sustainability to benefit future generations.”
Congressman Sam Farr, chair of the House Oceans Caucus, United States House of Representatives
"We are excited about the opportunities within the National Ocean Policy that will secure sustainable use of the ocean while protecting the marine ecosystem."
Leesa Cobb, Director, Port Orford (Oregon) Ocean Resource Team
“I applaud the National Ocean Council’s work to develop a common-sense approach to management of one of America’s most beloved and valuable natural resources. The changes included in the final plan reflect careful consideration of the concerns of a broad group of stakeholders. The result is a policy that enhances federal government efficiency and allows states and regions a stronger say in crafting solutions to their specific ocean challenges to ensure a vibrant future for America’s oceans and coasts.”
Michael Conathan, Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress
“The Implementation Plan recognizes that ensuring healthy oceans for future generations will require an all-out local, regional and national effort. We must develop science-based solutions to our toughest ocean and coastal challenges --from marine pollution and ocean acidification to habitat loss and species decline. We’ve learned in California that when we all come together to tackle a common problem, representing government, business, science, and conservation interests, we can really make a difference. We stand ready to work with the Administration to make this a reality."
Julie Packard, Executive Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium
“Our oceans are a precious resource and a federal strategy to manage the use and protection of it is an important tool for states like Massachusetts that are endeavoring to develop offshore wind. By balancing environmental, commercial fishing and energy interests with science-based data, this plan will ensure we are all working together to make a cleaner energy future.”
Alicia Barton, CEO of Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
"The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, much like Oregon's recently completed Territorial Sea Plan, represents a thoughtful and inclusive planning process to create a framework that balances current and future ocean uses to the benefit of all."
Jason Busch, Executive Director, Oregon Wave Energy Trust
- Posted byon July 30, 2012 at 1:33 PM EDT
We note with much regret the passing of Admiral James D. Watkins on Thursday. ADM Watkins served our Nation with distinction for more than half a century. His long and productive Navy career culminated with his term as Chief of Naval Operations, the Navy’s highest uniformed position. A man of many talents, ADM Watkins went on to serve as Secretary of Energy during the George H.W. Bush administration after having led the Presidential Commission on HIV/AIDS.
We are particularly grateful for ADM Watkins’ service to the Nation in the oceans arena. ADM Watkins served as President of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) during the 1990s. From there he founded the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) to focus on the national need for ocean education, ocean science, and ocean policy. In 2007, CORE and JOI merged to form the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL), which now continues to pursue ADM Watkins’ vision. After his retirement from CORE in 2001, ADM Watkins continued to apply his considerable talents in the oceans arena by chairing the George W. Bush administration’s U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, the final report of which provided much of the foundation for our current National Ocean Policy.
Upon completion of the Commission’s work in 2004, ADM Watkins went on to form the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI) in partnership with the leadership of the Pew Oceans Commission. This bipartisan effort was designed in part to maintain momentum towards a formal ocean policy, a goal that was recently brought to fruition by President Obama’s 2010 Executive Order 13547, Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes.
ADM Watkins’ work in the oceans arena carries on through the ongoing efforts of many groups and individuals throughout the Nation. For that legacy, we are most grateful.
John P. Holdren and Nancy Sutley are co-chairs of the National Ocean Council.
- Posted byon May 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM EDT
Editor's Note: This blog introduces readers to Timothy W. Janaitis, Director of Business Development for global underwater services company Phoenix International Holdings, Inc., which provides 225 American jobs.
As a global underwater services company, Phoenix International depends on our oceans. One of our internationally recognized missions took place last spring when we located and recovered both black boxes from Air France Flight 447, an aircraft that had crashed in 13,000 feet of water in the Atlantic two years earlier. We are currently preparing to launch a mission to search for, and ideally recover, the airplane of pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart lost in the South Pacific 75 years ago.
On a broader scale, our company provides underwater operations, engineering and construction support to those who have economic, environmental and cultural interests in the oceans. We see new business opportunities in areas such as the emerging offshore renewable energy industry. Development of this and other offshore industries represents significant growth potential for us.
So it is with great frustration that we see companies departing the renewable market due, in part, to a lack of clear ground rules in federal waters that slows the level and pace of project approvals. Clearly, we need a consistent framework in which investors and developers can propose and bring their technologies offshore as quickly and safely as possible within the established guidelines. This requires a sensible regulatory environment, and cooperation among all interested parties, including agencies and stakeholders.
The National Ocean Policy provides the needed framework to stimulate job creation and economic growth, not only at Phoenix International, but at other ocean dependent businesses and organizations as well. All Americans have an interest in healthy oceans, and thriving ocean industries. Citizens who have diverse -- and sometimes conflicting -- interests and needs must have a process that allows for constructive dialogue, so they can find solutions. Only in this way can consistent ground rules and processes be established that allow energy and other offshore developers to have their proposed initiatives expeditiously and properly evaluated. The National Ocean Policy and the work of the Regional Planning Bodies allow for such representation and decision-making, and should be embraced as valuable support for maritime industries.
Timothy W. Janaitis is Director of Business Development for Phoenix International Holdings, Inc.
- Posted byon March 23, 2012 at 5:36 PM EDT
President Obama has stated that the United States will promote the stewardship and sustainable use of the oceans in several ways including by cooperating and exercising leadership at the international level and pursuing U.S. accession to the Law of the Sea Convention. On March 21st, the State Department published a Fact Sheet identifying a number of compelling reasons why the United States should join the Law of the Sea Convention now.
Among the advantages noted in the Fact Sheet, joining the Law of the Sea Convention will create American jobs and bolster U.S. national security. That is one reason why U.S. companies, business groups, labor unions, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and a host of others support joining the Convention now.
To learn more about the Law of the Sea Convention: http://www.state.gov/e/oes/lawofthesea/factsheets/186605.htm.
Jerry Miller is Deputy Director for Science and Technology in the National Ocean Council Office
- Posted byon March 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM EDT
Today, we are pleased to announce a significant step in ocean stewardship for the Arctic Region. Through ocean.data.gov, the National Ocean Council is making available a wealth of data for planning and management in the Arctic, including information on biological, physical, oceanographic, habitat, and human use in the region. By making information more easily and widely accessible to local decision makers and stakeholders, the United States will be best positioned to lead in an ever changing Arctic environment.
The United States has broad interests in this region, from national security and territorial sovereignty to sustainable management of domestic energy and living resources, environmental protection, cultural heritage, and scientific research, all of which must be addressed in the context of rapidly changing conditions. The Nation, the State of Alaska, Tribal governments, and coastal communities are faced with critical decisions about how best to enhance natural resources and manage sustainable human activities in this region. The data and information made available through ocean.data.gov will help to inform future actions and decisions.
Right now and ready for use through ocean.data.gov, you will find information on Arctic fisheries, marine mammals, near-shore impacts, bathymetry, salinity, temperature, and much more. Ocean.data.gov is the National Ocean Council’s portal for data, information, and tools to support people engaged in planning for the future of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. This portal provides easy access to many tools for the implementation of ecosystem-based management including models to evaluate ecosystem services and visual tools to create maps of human use and marine habitat. We are just getting started and look forward to hearing from you about additional data and tools to include.
A cornerstone of the National Ocean Policy is developing and implementing ecosystem-based management to promote more effective and sustainable stewardship of our Nation’s ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. This whole-system approach considers the full range of activities taking place within an ecosystem to understand how they impact each other, and to develop a responsible management plan that balances those interests. This effort to make Arctic data and information available is an initial step in implementing ecosystem-based management in the region. These domestic efforts will also support collaboration on ecosystem-based management with our international partners on the Arctic Council.
We will continue to build this information resource by adding more data sets and tools in the near future. Please join the community, tell us what you think, and help us support you in your Arctic stewardship efforts.
Deerin Babb-Brott is Director of the National Ocean Council Office
- Posted byon March 8, 2012 at 6:30 PM EDT
This week marks my first as Director of the National Ocean Council (NOC) Office, a role in which I'm tremendously honored to serve on behalf of the American people. Since its inception, the NOC has evolved into an engine for advancing stewardship of our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes—resources that contribute not just to our Nation's economy, but also to our environmental health and overall public wellbeing. The task before the Council—to advance the sustainable use of our ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources under President Obama's National Ocean Policy—could not be more important.
The NOC has already made significant progress. In January 2012, the National Ocean Council released a strong, scientifically robust draft Implementation Plan to carry out the National Ocean Policy. The draft Plan reflects feedback from hundreds of stakeholders and members of the public. Additional comments being received and incorporated now will help us improve and develop the final Plan.
I am looking forward to building on this progress by applying 22 years of experience in the resource management field, with a focus on coastal management issues and public involvement that culminated in leading the development of an ocean management plan for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I am also looking forward to working with the members and staff of the NOC and the agencies who are working hard to ensure healthy oceans. The expertise and capability of those directly supporting the NOC is extraordinary. But we can't do it alone. That's why collaborating and communicating with our partners and the public—including industries, environmental groups, states, tribes, communities, academia, and others—will remain a top priority for the Council as we move ahead.
Again, it's an honor to be aboard.
Deerin Babb-Brott is Director of the National Ocean Council Office
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