WASHINGTON - The Northeast Ocean Plan and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Plan were approved by the National Ocean Council, marking a new approach to comprehensive and transparent decision-making regarding our ocean and coastal resources. These ocean plans have been developed over several years through the coordinated effort of federal and state agencies, tribal authorities and regional fishery management councils. The plans are informed by extensive engagement soliciting data and input from fishermen, port authorities, scientists, shipping companies, recreational boaters, tug boat pilots, tourism interests, offshore wind enterprises and numerous other users. Quotes Bruce Carlisle Director, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management “Our oceans and waterways support a myriad of marine ecosystems and host a wide array of commercial and recreational activities. As the result of significant engagement, data acquisition and development, and careful consideration that involved a multitude of diverse groups and individuals, the Northeast Ocean Plan provides a unique opportunity for federal and state agencies, tribes, fishery management council and stakeholders to collaborate and improve stewardship of our oceans.  From a state perspective, this plan represents an important new framework to improve our knowledge of these areas and make smarter decisions about managing our coastal waters.” Sean Kline Director of Maritime Affairs at the Chamber of Shipping of America “Commercial shipping is extremely dynamic from business and geographic perspectives,” said Sean Kline, director of Maritime Affairs at Chamber of Shipping of America. “Market fluctuation, larger ships, regulation and growing commerce coupled with port and canal expansions combine for continually changing routes and operations. Ocean planning is important to our members to ensure the proper agencies and stakeholders have the voice and ability to work together through agency commitments outlined in the ocean plans. We have already seen the benefits of this collaboration in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.” Betsy Nicholson North Regional Director, NOAA Office for Coastal Management "The shared perspectives of states, tribes and the Fishery Management Council, along with the federal agencies allowed us to think across jurisdictions, sectors, space and time to develop a Plan that honors the health of our ocean ecosystem first. We have a special camaraderie here in the Northeast that allows for us to speak our minds and hold each other to a high standard to produce the best and most practical first step forward as we move into implementation together." John McMurray Owner, One More Cast Charters, Oceanside, N.Y. “The ocean has become a busy place and we’ll likely see in our lifetimes ocean development at a scale that’s almost hard to imagine. As a charter boat captain, this concerns me, especially when my livelihood depends on a healthy and balanced marine ecosystem.  Managing our marine resources on a regional scale with everyone having a say helps to not only minimize conflicts with other industries that will inevitably arise, but more importantly, help us avoid adverse ecosystem impacts. It’s important that the fishing community has a voice in this process and I’m glad to be a part of it.”