Global information released on economic, social, and cultural values of coastal nature

The Nature Conservancy in cooperation with partners worldwide has recently released the Atlas of Ocean Wealth. The atlas includes over 60 maps illustrating ecosystem services around the world as well as a chapter on how ecosystem services can be incorporated into marine planning with examples from Canada and Brazil. Access the atlas and associated online mapping tool.

Strategies described for minimizing conflicts between offshore wind and fisheries

SeaPlan, in collaboration with offshore wind energy developer Deepwater Wind LLC and the Rhode Island Charter and Party Boat Association, has released Addressing Interactions between Fisheries and Offshore Wind Development: The Block Island Wind Farm. The report summarizes strategies that have been effective in minimizing conflict and establishing cooperation between Deepwater Wind and Rhode Island fishing communities at the Block Island Wind Farm pilot project. It describes Deepwater Wind’s fisheries mitigation options framework, including collaborative groundfish and lobster surveys conducted with local fishermen and other strategies that may be useful for informing future offshore wind projects in the United States. Read the report.

MSP challenges and opportunities for ocean businesses analyzed

The World Ocean Council (WOC) has released a report “Ocean Industries and Marine Planning” that reviews and analyzes challenges and opportunities that MSP holds for the ocean business community. The report covers opportunities to identify and develop data sources on marine ecosystems and their uses, streamline regulatory/permitting processes, reduce user conflicts and litigation, and reduce investor uncertainty. To fully support MSP, however, ocean businesses need more clarity on the relationship between MSP and other governance processes and mechanisms, regulatory and authority gaps and uncertainties, and how MSP will function in multiple jurisdictions. Read the report.

Draft ocean plan released for US Mid-Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) has just introduced a draft ocean action plan for the US Mid-Atlantic (the Atlantic coast states from Virginia to New York). The plan outlines a series of actions US federal and state agencies, tribes, and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council can take to better collaborate on ocean governance and decision-making for the region. Public comments are solicited through September 6, 2016, and public meetings in all of the US Mid-Atlantic states will be held between July 12-27, 2016. Read the plan, provide comments, and see the open house schedule.

Denmark undertakes MSP process to promote economic growth

The Danish parliament has passed a bill tasking the Danish Maritime Authority with overseeing the development of a holistic maritime spatial plan for the Danish sea areas. The purpose of the maritime spatial plan is to promote economic growth through coordinated development and use of the sea areas. The maritime spatial planning effort will incorporate the energy sector, maritime transport, fishing, aquaculture, the extraction of raw materials from the sea, recreational activities, and tourism as well as protection of the environment. The final maritime spatial plan is to be issued by March 31, 2021, at the latest. Learn more.

US makes progress towards offshore wind energy

The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has proposed the lease of 81,130 acres off the coast of the state of New York for the development of commercial wind energy. To date, BOEM has awarded 11 commercial offshore wind leases, including nine through a competitive lease sale process (two each offshore of the states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland; two in an area offshore of the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and one offshore of the state of Virginia). BOEM is requesting public comment on the lease sale off the coast of New York by August 6, 2016. Get information on how to submit comments.

In addition, BOEM has issued a call for information and nominations to gauge the wind industry’s interest in commercial wind leases in two areas spanning approximately 485,000 acres in federal waters offshore of the state of Hawaii. To date, BOEM’s offshore program has identified wind energy areas in federal waters off of seven Atlantic states. In the Pacific, BOEM is processing three unsolicited commercial floating wind lease requests offshore of the states of Hawaii and California and evaluating an unsolicited lease request for a floating wind demonstration project offshore of the state of Oregon. BOEM is requesting information and nominations on the potential leases off the coast of Hawaii by August 8. Get information on how to submit comments.