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National Ocean Policy
Executive Order (E.O.) 13547 (July 22, 2010), Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes, established the National Ocean Council (NOC) and among other things, directed “the development of coastal and marine spatial plans that build upon and improve existing Federal, State, tribal, local, and regional decision-making and planning processes.” The E.O. described the Pacific Islands (includes American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and Hawaii) as one of nine regions where a regional planning body would be established for development of a coastal and marine spatial plan. The E.O. adopted the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force as the National Ocean Policy.
National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan
The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan describes specific actions federal agencies will take to implement the National Ocean Policy. The actions will “benefit the ocean economy, safety and security, and coastal and ocean resilience by supporting local choices and providing foundational science and information.” For more information, see the 2-page Implementation Fact Sheet.
Marine Planning Handbook
The Marine Planning Handbook was published in July 2013. The purpose of the handbook is to provide guidance to regions about establishing regional planning bodies and developing marine plans. It details common planning elements, such as the kinds of information or actions necessary to ensure marine plans are developed through a transparent, participatory, science-based process. The Marine Planning Handbook supplements the Implementation Plan.
Where are We Now
The Pacific Islands Regional Planning Body (RPB) was established April 2013. Its members will work together to develop a regional plan for the balanced, sustainable management of the coastal and marine areas of the Pacific Islands region using guidance from the National Ocean Council, the National Ocean Policy, Implementation Plan, and Marine Planning Handbook. The inaugural meeting of the Pacific Islands RPB was held in July 2013. The kick-off meeting for planning in American Samoa was in January 2016, and the next kick-off meeting will hopefully be summer 2017 in Guam. Additionally, the Data Team is working to develop a data portal and mapping interface for all stakeholders (government agencies, project proposers, and the public).