In another important step toward implementing President Obama’s National Ocean Policy, the National Ocean Council has determined it will formally include Regional Fishery Management Councils in regionally based coastal and marine spatial planning. The participation of the councils will ensure their valuable expertise is part of the collaborative effort to improve the health and stewardship of our ocean.
CMSP brings Federal agencies, States, Tribes and communities together to better manage the marine resources that Americans depend on for food, business, energy, security, recreation and a variety of other essential uses. The National Ocean Council will establish Regional Planning Bodies to carry out CMSP using an ecosystem-based approach that emphasizes better coordination across all levels.
In this collaborative spirit, and recognizing the unique and important role that Regional Fishery Management Councils play in fisheries management, the National Ocean Council will include members from each of the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils on the Regional Planning Bodies. These councils bring valuable expertise and knowledge about the array of marine fishery resources that are used on a region-specific basis to support local economies.
Each Regional Fishery Management Council will be asked to identify one of its Federal, State, Tribal, or local government voting members as its representative to the Regional Planning Body. In addition, each Regional Planning Body will form a standing technical committee that includes the scientific and technical experts from the councils to ensure their input is incorporated into the spatial planning process.
We look forward to working closely with the Regional Fishery Management Councils – as well as our other partners and the public – to ensure healthy oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes for all Americans.
Michael Weiss is Acting Director of the National Ocean Council