On July 19, 2010, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13547, “Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes,” outlining an ambitious new oceans management regime. The centerpiece of the Executive Order is an effort for "coastal and marine spatial planning" (CMSP), which some have called "ocean zoning." CMSP could end up providing dedicated areas for a range of ocean and coastal uses. We also expect the process will have a significant environmental protection overlay. It is not clear how this process will mesh with Magnuson-Stevens Act fisheries management.
A new National Ocean Council, made up of cabinet secretaries, agency heads, and senior bureaucrats, is currently at work establishing new administrative structures to move forward with the President's initiative. Called the "most sweeping conservation law Congress never wrote," the National Ocean Policy creates nine regional planning bodies charged with developing overarching coastal and marine spatial plans touching on management and all uses of the nation's marine and coastal waters. These bodies are separate from fishery management councils.
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