According to a release, the recently initiated MSP agenda pursuant to President Obama's National Ocean Policy is moving rapidly, creating a critical opportunity for the ocean business community to actively engage in a coordinated, multi-sectoral manner. In 2010, the Federal government established an interagency National Ocean Council (NOC), and marine spatial plans are to be developed by nine regional planning bodies as early as 2015. The NOC issued a Strategic Action Plan Outline in June 2011 and held a national workshop soon after to prepare government agencies for the task of developing the government's MSP Strategic Action Plan. Unlike the ocean industry community, the environmental community has had a national MSP coalition for several years and is actively involved in the MSP process.
WOC indicates that the ocean business community needs to get equally well organized and integrated into the discussion on MSP. To address this, the WOC brought together leadership companies and associations concerned about access to ocean space and resources in a National Business Forum. The Forum was co-presented by Battelle Memorial Institute with additional sponsorship from the National Ocean Industries Association and Blank Rome.
The business community voiced concerns that opportunities for ocean industries to formally contribute to MSP have not targeted engaging those industries which contribute significantly to the U.S. economy and need to become a more structural part of the US MSP process. To address the lack of formal engagement, industry participants at the Forum emphasized the value and strength in bringing together diverse ocean industry sectors to engage with MSP decision makers in a coordinated manner, and to establish formal avenues for frequent and ongoing information exchange and involvement.
Access a release from WOC (click here, posted soon). Access a list of corporate members (click here). Access the WOC website for more information (click here). Access the NOAA CSMP website for more details and background information (click here).