First-Ever Ocean Plan for the Mid-Atlantic Is Released

Today the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body released the Mid-Atlantic’s first-ever ocean action plan for public comment.

This is a milestone in ocean management. Dozens of federal and state agencies have overlapping and sometimes conflicting responsibilities for addressing ocean development. Historically, coordination has been lacking.

Today’s draft plan represents a new way of governing. Mid-Atlantic states came together with regional fisheries managers, tribes, and federal agencies to develop this draft plan to guide decisions on ocean conservation and sustainable use.

Planning ahead allows for smarter choices. It helps identify and resolve potential conflicts early.

Many people don't realize how busy our ocean waters are becoming with wind development on the horizon, soaring demand for offshore sand mining, and massive new ships on the way as a result of the Panama Canal expansion. Our Mid-Atlantic ocean is an important migratory route and home to a rich variety of fish and wildlife, from endangered North Atlantic right whales and sea turtles to blue crabs and summer flounder. It’s also an economic powerhouse, contributing nearly 700,000 jobs to the region and more than $48 billion to its gross domestic product. We need to plan ahead for its sustainable development.

The draft ocean plan is a significant achievement in ocean management that can strengthen interagency coordination and public participation in offshore decisions. But there is work to do in order for the plan to ensure a healthy ocean today and in the future. As we review the plan, we will be looking for actions that identify and conserve areas critical for the long-term health of the region’s marine life. Protecting our ecologically and economically valuable ocean life should be a best practice.

Today’s release of the draft plan is an amazing moment. We look forward to taking the next step forward to strengthen and finalize the plan to ensure a healthy ocean for today and for the future.

How to get involved?

  1. Participate on a public webinar about the plan on July 11 from 11a.m.–1:00 p.m.

  2. Attend an open house public listening session to ask for an ocean plan that conserves the health of our Mid-Atlantic ocean’s habitat and wildlife—and the jobs, food, and recreational opportunities that depend on these resources.

  3. Email comments to MidAtlanticRPB@boem.gov

About the Authors

Alison Chase

Senior Policy Analyst, Oceans Division, Nature Program

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