Aimee Bushman of the Conservation Law Foundation talks with Rob about the collaborative work of the Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body (NERPB). Aimee manages the New England Ocean Action Network (NEOAN). The network, NEOAN, is made up of individuals and organizations from the region environmental community, educational and research institutions, fishing industry, clean energy field, and other ocean users, industries, and stakeholders. NEOAN bird-dogs and advices the regional planning council.
The Northeast regional ocean planning council is a remarkable assemblage of representatives from eleven federal agencies, eleven state agencies from six New England states and ten tribal members (The Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Mashantucket Pequot, Mashpee Wampanoag, Mohegan, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Narragansett, and Wampanoag Aquinnah).
President Obama recognized the Northeast ocean planning group for its “strong culture of collaboration” in his proclamation creating a 4,900 square mile Atlantic Ocean refuge, the Northeast Canyon and Seamounts National Marine Monument. Respecting the ocean complexities and challenges of managing coastal waters, the president appointed the Secretary of Interior to govern in partnership with the Secretary of Commerce. The two agencies must consult with all other agencies with responsibilities that touch on the far-flung refuge, including the fishery councils. Thus the work of the ocean planning body continues within and without the federal refuge.
The president acted to protect the Atlantic Ocean by prohibiting the mining of seamounts by solar-cell industries for cheaper tellurium than mining in California. In recognition of good regional ocean management, the president took the extraordinary step of permitting lobstermen to continue trapping lobsters within the refuge for seven years.
The Northeast Regional Planning Body has, after much vetting, submitted the Northeast Ocean Plan to the National Ocean Council for their review and concurrence. Once the Plan is certified by the National Ocean Council implementation will begin.
The work of Northeast planning council and the network that Aimee manages goes on. The Northeast Ocean Data Portal is a most informative tool with detailed maps of individual animals species including sperm whales and Cory’s shearwaters, fish, essential habitats, recreation, transportation and security. One could lost in the various charts, illustrations and reports at www.northeastoceandata.org . For information on the Northeast Ocean Action Network visit http://newenglandoceanaction.org/