Regional Ocean Governance
Mark C. Holliday, Ph.D.
Office of Policy
May 13, 2009
The purpose of this session is to identify & discuss
issues most important to NOAA in anticipation of a
future based on regional ocean governance, and to
identify the steps or actions needed to prepare for
Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Report (April 2009)
- There is still work left undone
- Recommendations to Obama Administration
New NOAA Administrator
- CEQ/White House leader for the Oceans
- Goal: Fulfill missing elements of ocean policy &
Summary of Ocean Priorities:
April 2009 JOCI Recommendations
Improved Governance Specific Management Challenges
President by Executive Order should establish a Strengthen and reauthorize the CZMA
National Ocean Policy and a high level ocean advisor Expedite implementation of MSA
Congress should pass a comprehensive ocean policy Employ innovative, science-based approaches to
and framework that— ecosystem-based management
—Advances marine spatial planning
—Provides Federal support for regional
governance Strengthen Ocean Science
Codify and strengthen NOAA Reaffirm JSOST and bolster NOPP
—Establish NOAA as lead civilian ocean agency Codify ORRAP
—Reorganize NOAA around core missions Elevate ocean science coordination to WH level (OSTP,
CEQ . . .)
Regional collaboration, including science-based
Establish Ocean Policy Trust Fund
Bolster International Leadership
Law of the Sea
What are the Missing Elements?
• Statement of national ocean policy founded on
• An interagency strategy to execute policy
• Independent ocean advisor to President
• Comprehensive marine spatial planning
• Federal leadership implementing regional ocean
Sample National Ocean Policy
Through Executive Order, legislation or otherwise:
It is the policy of the United States that maintaining a
healthy, resilient and sustainable ocean ecosystem
function is the guiding principle for all federal agency
activities and actions affecting the ocean.
Underlying the Policy
Build ecosystem resilience Integrate ocean, land &
Protect biodiversity atmosphere
Adopt a precautionary Promote collaboration &
Balance passive and Ensure national security
consumptive uses interests
Chose ecologically relevant Ensure transparency &
scales stakeholder engagement
Adopt best science,
technology and information
Actions to Achieve Unmet
A US ocean policy will rely heavily on collaboration and
partnerships with states, other levels of government
How do we bring together in one place multiple
management authorities, sectors and constituencies?
Five Planning Regimes in use
1. Individual sectors w/out common ends
2. Sectors w/agreed common ends
3. Virtual organizations (partnerships, committee
structures , co-management)
4. An overall coordinating body
5. An overall management agency
Increasingly from “soft” (1) to “hard” (5) governance
Current US situation
• State-organized regional collaboration alliances
- Big 8: West Coast Governors’ Agreement, Great Lakes Commission, Gulf
of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, Northeast Regional Ocean
Council, Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Council, Governors' South Atlantic
Alliance, Gulf of Mexico Program, Gulf of Mexico Alliance
• Regional Fishery Management Councils
• Regional Federal entities (EPA, FWS, MMS, military)
- NOAA Regional Teams
- NMFS Regional Offices
Current Capacity for Regional
Interviewed NOAA personnel serving on major regional
collaboration organizations & NOAA Regional Teams.
How well are the regional organizations positioned to help
NOAA advance regional ocean governance?
Most ecosystem-centered; variable priorities, some NOAA
More collaboration vs. governance --no authority to actually
implement and enforce policy.
Varied public & stakeholder participation – mixed transparency.
Lacking Independent scientific or judicial review of actions.
Future Regional Ocean Governance
New Regional Ocean Councils/Partnerships (e.g., Pew
Report, HR 21)?
Modify roles for regional alliances, states, Fishery
Management Councils, interstate commissions?
“Hard” vs. “soft” governance
Ability to resolve conflicting mandates
Authority to implement, monitor & enforce policy
• Issues and Considerations
– No existing mechanism exists to look at ocean policy decisions strategically
in an integrated manner
– Limited ability to effectively resolve competing or conflicting uses or impacts
– Need to consider cumulative impacts among uses
– NOAA Fisheries/RFMC under MSA and ESA, and NOS under Sanctuaries
Act, are the two principal regional ocean governance authorities outside the
Territorial Sea – broadest federal agency mandate to conserve ecosystems
– Identify interagency strategies/policy goals that cross jurisdictional lines
– Continue use of processes available under NEPA and other existing statutes
– Charge SIMOR or new entity with overarching duty to resolve conflicts
– Congressional action vs. Executive Order
Let’s Plan for Changing Roles and
What changes need to occur in NOAA and NMFS in a
future based on regional ocean governance?
What responsibilities, authorities, research focus,
oversight, accountability, provision of data and
services, resources will need change?
Data & Process Requirements
Integrated Ecosystem Assessments
Data/models at regional level -- climate, habitat, social
science and biological scales
Means to engage public
Coordinated decision-making between federal
(international), regional, state and local bodies
Regional Ocean Governance –
Possible Discussion Questions
What role(s) should NMFS and NOAA as a whole have
and/or what responsibilities?
How would potential Regional Ocean Councils interact with
Regional Fishery Management Councils? NMFS Regional
What are NOAA’s strengths related to this issue; what
services could we provide?
Regional Ocean Governance –
Possible Discussion Questions
What should the roles be for NMFS regions, science centers,
or HQ offices?
How will these responsibilities impact current activities or
future strategies for resource management (i.e., how do
ecosystem based management, integrated ecosystem
assessments and regional ocean governance fit in?)
What is policy?
1 a : a definite course or method of action, selected from among alternatives and in light
of given conditions, to guide and determine present and future decisions b: a high-level
overall plan embracing the general goals and acceptable procedures especially of a
Policy - A statement of important, high-level direction guiding decisions and actions
throughout the National Marine Fisheries Service. Policy translates the ideas, goals, or
principles contained in the mission, vision, and strategic plan into action-specific directives.