Video: US Ocean Plans




Produced by: Green Fire Productions

Voices of Ocean Planning:

Chris P. Scraba, Deputy Chief, Waterways management, Homeland Security, United States Coast Guard

“We protect people on the sea, we protect the nation from threats given by the sea and we protect the sea itself from an environmental stewardship perspective. You can see right away that the prosperity of our nation is inextricably connected to maritime commerce and the safe flow of this commerce into these ports. Ocean planning fits very well with the Coast Guards approach; it’s critical for the Coast Guard and other agencies work together in a collaborative manner to ensure the maritime transportation system is safe, secure, efficient and resilient to continue to bring this large volume of cargo into our ports”


John Kennedy, Director, Mid-Atlantic Gateway, U.S. Department of Transportation

“Ports will have to accommodate larger vessels, or they will be left behind. The whole point of this Regional Planning Body is for every entity at the table to work together to maintain a healthy ocean ecosystem, sustainable ocean uses, because we found that going off the work being done in a vacuum just isn’t going to get it done for these pressing challenges of the 21st century.”


Jose F. H. Atangan, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Ocean/Ranger Planning Section Head

“About 30 miles east of [Port of Virginia] is a juncture of three very important aspects that contribute to ocean planning. There are commercial, national security and conservation interests. In addition, you also have the largest naval installation in the world. We have approximately 75 ships that are home ported here in Norfolk, Va. We have hundreds of military aircraft stationed here in Norfolk, Naval Air Station Oceana and nearby Langley Air Force Base, so this is the primary training ground for the Atlantic Fleet. All this is in the same area where we have wind energy being pursued, hydrokinetic energy and expansion of the shipping lanes associated with the Panama Canal expansion. Just outside the Chesapeake Bay is the North Atlantic Right Whale migratory area as well as canyons that are the home of deep water corals that were only just discovered. The Navy has a critical role in national defense, to protect the ocean highways and the global economy. What the ocean plans enable you to do is it provides an avenue, a mechanism, a process by which stakeholders (commercial, national security, fishermen and conservation) have the same information going into the decision-making process through the use of the regional data portals. Data is the key for understanding the decisions being made regarding the ocean.”


John McMurray, Owner/Operator, One More Cast

“Once you become educated on what ocean planning means and what regional planning bodies are doing, you understand that it’s a way to protect the areas that you fish, to protect the ecosystem, protect sustainability, a way of continuing the tradition that is fishing. We are getting to a boiling point where all these different ocean uses are coming to a head and we will have real access issues. We’re the canaries in the coal mine: we’re the first people to see a decline and the first to see a recovery. This is a public resource we are talking about, and all stakeholders, all interests, need to have input into that process. We need to be heard, we need to engage, and ocean planning is providing us that opportunity.”


Michael Luisi, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body Member

“Climate change is a major issue. We’re seeing changes in water temperature in this region that are greater than any other place in the world. As the conditions change, we will see fish species, aquatic resources we manage, moving as well; it’s really a critical element to making sure that our commercial and recreational fisheries are maintained while there are these shifts in the populations for which we manage and all these other human uses of the ocean develop. Where fishermen benefit, as decisions are made in the future, it is the intention of the plan to provide for early stakeholder input, to provide all of the necessary information from the fishing community, so that as other agencies and other decision-makers are thinking about and considering managing different parts of the ocean they will have these critical data layers that show where the habitats are, which are vital to fish production, so that we can do our jobs as fisheries managers.”


Richard Getchell, Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians, Tribal Co-Lead, Northeast Regional Planning Body

“The goals that we’ve accomplished through the tribal aspect are right in line with what the state and federal government wants to do as well. What makes it successful to date is that the people who come to the table have the utmost respect for each other, and that’s the bottom line.”


Why We Need Ocean Planning

The ocean and coasts are active places, and we’re putting more demands on them every day. Think about it: traditional uses such as fishing, boating, shipping, recreation, and tourism are all changing and expanding, and at the same time we’re pioneering new industries alongside them like wind energy and sand mining. Ocean planning is about thinking ahead and planning for how to make it all work. Otherwise, we put the ocean’s vast, yet fragile, resources at risk. Voluntary ocean planning allows us to coordinate all these uses in a way that benefits our economy, our communities, and ocean health. Ocean planning is a science-based and data-driven process that provides a tool for people and government to work together, share information and solve problems in a way that works for everyone. Ocean planning helps to identify and resolve potential conflicts early on, helping decision makers and stakeholders in both the private and public sectors do their jobs better. This creates better outcomes for everyone, supporting a healthy ocean and vibrant economy

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