Ocean advocates pore through national policy specs

Ecotrust's Megan Mackey — who espouses kayaking on the Pacific as well as protecting its ecosystem — is taking a close look at the new National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan.

Ecotrust's Megan Mackey — who espouses kayaking on the Pacific as well as protecting its ecosystem — is taking a close look at the new National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan. 

One month after the While House issued strategies that would coordinate management of the country’s oceans, West Coast interests are preparing to interpret the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan.

The Plan could have big effects on Oregon’s fishing, environmental tourism and wave energy industries. The idea is that several ocean interests will come together to craft ocean management policies.

“My hope is that it provides a process for a diverse set of stakeholders to come together and weigh in on the management of our territorial sea,” or the part of the ocean that extends three miles off of Oregon’s coast, said Megan Mackey, a fisheries policy associate for Ecotrust. “It should provide a venue for everyone to be heard. Ecotrust sees it as a good thing.”

Mackey added that while the plan doesn’t create or change existing regulations or authorities, it aims to help ocean users “share information to plan how we use and sustain ocean resources.”

Ocean resources supported more than 600,000 West Coast jobs. The tourism and recreation sectors represented more than 70 percent of those positions.

The National Ocean Policy aims to establish parameters on marine planning, effects of various activities on coastal communities, recreational fishing and boating, commercial fishing, aquaculture and agriculture, offshore renewable energy, offshore oil and gas facilities, shipping and port activity.

In terms of offshore renewable energy recommendations such as wave energy, the National Ocean Policy calls for companies to:

  • Improve access to data on climate, water, wind and weather, as well as provide environmental models of seasonal and extreme conditions to support development of coastal and offshore renewable energy, including wind, wave and tidal.
  • Improve access to data that will help determine suitable siting for facilities.
  • Develop analyses of how emerging uses of marine and coastal resources affect the economies of the coastal communities.

Mackey and other ocean advocates will discuss the plan in detail over the coming weeks. Similar conversations are occurring across the country.

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