The World Ocean Council (WOC) paper synthesizing the common themes from industry comments submitted on the U.S. National Ocean Policy (NOP) is now available at http://www.oceancouncil.org/site/pdfs/NOP%20Comments%20Summary%20Paper%20-%20June%202015.pdf. Initiated in 2010, the NOP calls for the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources.
To translate the NOP into substantive actions, the National Ocean Council (NOC) released nine strategic action plan outlines for public review including: ecosystem based management, coastal and marine spatial planning, and coordination among governmental agencies. The NOC received comments from many stakeholders, including industry, on the strategic plan outlines in 2011 and on the NOC draft Implementation Plan in 2012.
The WOC has summarized comments submitted by ocean-related businesses and associations at both of these stages, focusing on priorities, key messages and recommendations. Common themes include: concerns over lack of funding and lack of legislative support, the need for greater clarity in plans for implementation and questions regarding the possible conflict between the Policy and other regulatory requirements. Industry also encouraged regionally-specific designs and implementation.
Paul Holthus, WOC founding President and CEO, noted that, “It is essential that industry input to ocean policy and planning is taken into account as governments consider if and how marine planning might move forward in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Through the efforts of the WOC Working Group on Marine Spatial Planning, this paper provides a comprehensive review and synthesis of industry concerns and comments on important aspects of the U.S. National Ocean Policy, especially regarding marine planning.”