Home to a rich variety of fish and wildlife, the Atlantic Ocean is a beautiful place for families to swim in and fish from, and acts as an economic driver for the Mid-Atlantic region. Ocean industries contribute over $47 billion to the region's gross domestic product, providing us with delicious seafood, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and valuable recreation opportunities.
Our enjoyment of these places relies on their continued health. Unfortunately, ocean ecosystems are facing a rising number of threats, such as pollution, overfishing, rising temperatures, and ocean acidification. CCE works at the local, state and regional level to ensure healthy ocean ecosystems so that we can enjoy vibrant and healthy oceans now and for generations to come. Read more on CCE's blog.
Improving the Way We Manage Ocean Resources
From shipping traffic, to migrating ocean life and offshore energy development, to commercial and recreational fishing, and more, our oceans are becoming an increasingly busy place. Adding to the challenge, dozens of different agencies have overlapping and sometimes conflicting responsibilities when it comes to ocean development. Historically, this has resulted in a lack of coordination, but that is now changing. CCE works at the state and regional level to ensure that coordinated ocean planning efforts move forward in a way that encourages sustainable uses and promotes thriving ecosystems.
New York State's Ocean Action Plan
New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of State (DOS) are working together to develop a comprehensive 10-year Ocean Action Plan (OAP) to protect and restore New York State's ocean resources and to address urgent issues facing these resources and coastal communities. The geographical scope of the State's plan stretches from New York City to the end of Long Island, and includes offshore waters out to the edge of the continental shelf, as well as important estuaries like the Long Island Sound. CCE remains actively engaged in the State's efforts to better understand and manage our valuable ocean resources.
Protecting the Mid-Atlantic's Deep Sea Treasures
Off the Atlantic coast, undersea canyons with vibrant deep sea corals provide food and shelter for marine life, as well as habitat for many commercially and recreationally important species. Fragile and slow-growing, deep sea corals are extremely vulnerable to physical disturbances. The Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) is considering a historic plan to protect our Mid-Atlantic coral communities from fishing gear damage. The Deep Sea Corals Amendment considers management measures to protect areas that are known to or highly likely to contain deep sea corals. CCE is working to ensure that the MAFMC adopts the strongest conservation measures possible.
Mid Atlantic Regional Planning Body
The Mid-Atlantic states of New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia have united with federal agency, tribal, and fisheries management representatives to form the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (Mid-A RPB). The RPB is putting together a coordinated Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan and a Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Assessment. CCE remains engaged in the RPB's efforts to proactively and sustainably plan for ocean uses, like offshore wind farms, as a way of reducing conflicts between new and existing activities, while easing the pressure on our already-stressed oceans.
Updated by bsmith 2/18/15