First birthdays are always exciting. They give us the chance to marvel at the amazing growth that's unfolded over an exceedingly short period of time (which, at times, can feel tediously long). We have the opportunity to step back from the day to day grind and celebrate the milestones achieved by hard work and determination.
April 4 marks the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body’s first birthday. It’s been a year since the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, representatives from federal agencies, the Shinnecock Indian Nation and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council came together to begin the process of developing a plan for sustainable use and protection of the region’s ocean waters. The planning group held their first public meeting in September where they reviewed a draft charter and draft goals and objectives for the eventual plan; the documents will be revised based on public feedback and are set to be voted on at their next meeting this May.
Everyone who uses and loves the oceans—fishermen, environmental organizations, shipping companies, coastal tourism businesses and members of the public—is being encouraged to help develop this ocean plan. There is a new Stakeholder Liaison Committee that the states have established to solicit feedback on ocean planning activities, and the Regional Planning Body has been holding listening sessions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region to get public feedback on what an ocean plan should look like.
This coordinated ocean planning process will identify – in advance – ocean areas that are appropriate for use and those that need protection. Please support this important planning effort by attending the remaining listening sessions and asking for an ocean plan that protects, maintains and restores the health of our Mid-Atlantic ocean habitat and wildlife and preserves the jobs, food and recreation that depend on these resources. You can also email comments to Regional Planning Body at [email protected] until April 15.