Regional Ocean Planning

New England’s ocean, like others around the country, is facing increasing pressure from industrial development. Ocean uses, such as oil and gas drilling, sand and gravel mining, underwater pipelines and utility cables, and commercial shipping, pose serious threats to ocean habitat and the fisheries and wildlife they support.

Today, new forms of development, such as offshore wind, wave, and tidal energy, are on the horizon. While CLF supports such beneficial ocean uses to lessen the impacts of climate change, we recognize the need for comprehensive, coordinated regional ocean planning to achieve a delicate balance between development and protection. To ensure the long-term sustainability of our ocean in the face of this continuing demand, CLF is committed to forging strong, ecosystem-based ocean policy at the state and federal levels.


Based on decades of studies and existing efforts, the Obama Administration established the National Ocean Policy, which requires all federal agencies to work with state agencies, tribes and ocean user groups to improve the management of our oceans and coasts. The National Ocean Policy promotes the use of better scientific, economic, and cultural information and data in order to inform decisions and involve all ocean and coastal users.

Regional ocean planning, technically known as coastal and marine spatial planning, is one of nine objectives of the National Ocean Policy. Regional Ocean Planning is a science based process of improving decisions about ocean resources before conflict arises – by involving everyone who has a stake in those resources, including conservation groups, recreational users, and commercial and industrial entities.


New England is leading the nation with our active regional ocean planning process. Click here to learn more about what’s happening.