Legal, Ocean Protection
November 08 2012

National Ocean Policy in the Ocean & Coastal Law Journal

by Angela Howe

The National Ocean Policy ("NOP") strives to be the one unifying law to govern the resources of our oceans and Great Lakes in the United States.  Enacted by an Executive Order of President Barack Obama on July 19, 2010, the implementation plan for the NOP is expected to be published any day now. The Ocean and Coastal Law Journal out of Maine Law School has now posted online an article by Surfrider Foundation's Legal Director, entitled "The U.S. National Ocean Policy: One Small Step for National Waters, but Will It Be the Giant Leap Needed for Our Blue Planet?"  

This article explains what the National Ocean Policy is, how it builds upon and is distinguished from past ocean governance laws, and what the NOP will need to succeed in effectively managing our coastal resources and preserving the value of our coasts, including the recreational and ecological services it provides.  Namely, the NOP must overcome challenges related to the funding to execute the national objectives of the policy, procurement of political will in Congress to codify and/or support the NOP, and reconciling the top-down policy with the critical need to take cues from regional and local stakeholders.

Through coalitions and regional working groups, Surfrider Foundation has commented on implementation and support of the NOP throughout the past two years.  In the coming months we expect to see a finalized implementation plan, which will put the plan into action, largely through Regional Ocean Partnerships.  While Surfrider Foundation is very successful at the local level, we must also recognize and support these efforts at the national and regional level that are designed to protect the ocean and coastal waters that we love.