[Coral-List] PUBLIC COMMENT: DRAFT FRAMEWORK FOR NATIONAL SYSTEM OF MPAs
jonathan.kelsey at noaa.gov
Mon Sep 25 17:38:36 EDT 2006
Apologies for cross-postings...
NOAA AND DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
RELEASE DRAFT FRAMEWORK OUTLINING GUIDELINES
FOR DEVELOPING U.S. SYSTEM OF MARINE PROTECTED AREAS
Public Comment Period Open for 145 Days
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
and the Department of the Interior today jointly released a draft
framework that outlines guidance for cooperative efforts to develop
the national system of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the United
States, as called for in Presidential Executive Order 13158. The
draft framework will be available for public comment for 145 days.
Electronic copies of the draft framework and all associated documents
can be found at http://www.MPA.gov.
The first effort of its kind in the nation, the framework
describes a national system of MPAs built in partnership with federal,
state, tribal, and local governments as well as other stakeholders.
The national goal is to increase efficient protection of U.S. marine
resources by enhancing government agency cooperation, helping to
sustain fisheries and maintain healthy marine ecosystems for tourism
and recreation businesses, and improving public access to scientific
information about the nation's marine resources.
"The Administration is firmly committed to sound
management and effective conservation of our ocean and coastal
resources," Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and Interior
Secretary Dirk Kempthorne stated in a jointly-signed letter to
governors. "The draft framework represents the culmination of several
years' work to better understand the nation's existing placed-based
marine conservation efforts and gather and incorporate an extensive
set of recommendations from governmental and non-governmental
stakeholders around the country."
Crafted with input from the 30-member MPA Federal Advisory Committee,
state agencies, and the public, the framework proposes collaborative
efforts for building the initial national system with existing MPAs.
It also outlines guidance on building agency partnerships and engaging
stakeholders to enhance MPA stewardship. These efforts are currently
being tested on a regional level by government agencies on the west
"This is a sound example of how government agencies at
every level can work together to improve the management of our vast
ocean resources," said Conrad C. Lautenbacher, under secretary of
Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. "As agencies strive to adopt a
more holistic approach to managing marine ecosystems, this framework
for the national system of MPAs will help ensure the legacy of our
natural and cultural marine resources for future generations, while
balancing economic, recreational, and other uses of our oceans and
MPAs in the U.S. are managed by a host of federal, state, local and
tribal agencies, including national marine sanctuaries, state parks,
and national wildlife refuges. Under the proposed definition of
"marine protected area" in the framework, the National Marine
Protected Areas Center has initially identified about 1,500 marine
conservation areas, managed by over 100 hundred agencies, that would
likely qualify as MPAs under the proposed definition. Most of these
areas were established after 1970, allow multiple uses, and are
managed by state agencies. While the proposed definition includes
areas ranging from those that allow fishing to areas closed to all
uses, less than 1 percent of U.S. waters are currently set aside as
no-take marine reserves.
"States and tribes are critical partners and play an essential role in
marine conservation," said Kameran Onley, assistant deputy secretary
of the Department of the Interior. "The effort to establish the MPA
system is about better coordination, better management and more
effective use of resources. It is not a federal take-over of state or
tribal marine conservation areas, nor does it impose restrictions on
the public's ability to use these areas."
The release of the draft framework is the result of more than two
years of ideas and comments received from a series of public dialogue
meetings and federal, state, and tribal agency workshops; the MPA
Federal Advisory Committee; fishery management councils; anglers;
conservation organizations; the energy industry; commercial fishermen;
coastal communities; scientists; divers; and others. Recommendations
were provided to NOAA and the Department of the Interior in separate
written reports by the federal advisory committee and the states. The
reports as well as comments and notes from public meetings can be
found on the www.MPA.gov Web site.
After the 145-day public comment period ends, the MPA Center will
address all comments received, and begin working with government
partners to establish the national system.
Executive Order 13158 was signed by President Clinton in May 2000, and
endorsed by the Bush Administration in July 2001. It calls for "...a
scientifically based, comprehensive national system of MPAs
representing diverse U.S. marine ecosystems, and the Nation's natural
and cultural resources." The President's U.S. Ocean Action Plan,
released in 2005, outlines a variety of actions for promoting the
responsible use and stewardship of ocean and coastal resources for the
benefit of all Americans. These actions, which emphasize greater
scientific and programmatic coordination between ocean agencies as
well as those taken under the MPA Executive Order, complement one
another and will be closely coordinated.
For more information online:
Department of Commerce - http://www.doc.gov
NOAA - http://www.noaa.gov
National Marine Protected Areas Center - http://www.mpa.gov
Department of the Interior - http://www.doi.gov
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