Hear What New Englanders are Saying about Ocean Planning – then Get Involved!

Robin Just


Photo Credit: IronRodArt – Royce Bair (“Star Shooter”)

We are in the throes of a first-in-the-nation regional ocean planning process, and we need you to join those who are already taking part. The Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) is holding a series of public meetings throughout New England (find one near you here) to tell people what’s going on in ocean planning and to find out what your questions and comments are about the goals that they have developed, and their potential actions and outcomes. This process is much more effective and meaningful when people who care about the management of our ocean and coasts get involved.

There were two public meetings held last month – one in Portland, ME and one in Narragansett, RI. The meetings were well attended, and many people made comments and asked questions. Among the fishermen, renewable energy developers, and conservationists who spoke, several themes emerged:

  • People want a transparent process, where they know what is being planned before it happens, and they want to be involved in meaningful ways.
  • There should be careful review of the maps and data decision-makers are using to plan ocean uses.
  • People want to know what this planning process will look like, and how will it be used in a practical way.

There is a meeting tonight in Ellsworth and tomorrow night in Rockland, ME, this Thursday afternoon in Boston, and later this month in New Bedford, Gloucester, and Barnstable, MA, in New Haven, CT, and in Portsmouth, NH. See the full schedule and location details here. There are many ways to submit comments to the RPB even if you can’t go to a meeting.

Why should you get involved? There are so many reasons to appreciate New England’s ocean – amazing wildlife, gorgeous scenery, a natural playground to enjoy with our children – but there is also an unprecedented amount of change right now: renewable energy has hit the water, our fisheries are in tremendous flux and some of our most iconic and economically important stocks are in true peril, our waters are rapidly warming and getting more acidic, and we are seeing accelerating coastal erosion in some of our most heavily developed shorelines. The time is now to start making better decisions that will protect our ocean for future generations.

Do you care about the way our oceans are managed? Then come learn more about ocean planning and make your voice heard! Find a meeting near you and get involved.

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Rhode Island

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