Regional ocean planning activities are presently managed by the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC), a Regional Ocean Partnership originally founded in 2005 by the governors of the New England states and later expanded to include federal agencies. NROC provides a voluntary forum for New England states, regional organizations, and federal partners to coordinate and collaborate on regional approaches that support balanced uses and conservation of the Northeast region’s ocean and coastal resources. Where needed, NROC also works with bordering states and countries to address broader challenges.
From 2012 to 2016, the NROC Ocean Planning Committee supported the Northeast Regional Planning Body’s (RPB’s) development of New England’s ocean plan. The RPB was formed in response to the Obama Administration’s National Ocean Policy (Executive Order 13547) and included representatives from all six New England states (Maine New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut), six federally-recognized tribes, ten federal agencies, and the New England Fishery Management Council. The Northeast Ocean Plan was certified by the Obama-era National Ocean Council in December 2016. With the continued support of the NROC Ocean Planning Committee, the RPB implemented the Northeast Ocean Plan in New England from 2017 to mid-2018.
In June 2018, the Trump Administration issued Executive Order 13840, which established a new ocean policy and federal Ocean Policy Committee. EO 13840 recognizes Regional Ocean Partnerships as the primary vehicle for ocean planning activities throughout the nation. NROC’s Ocean Planning Committee, which was established before both Obama and Trump Administration ocean policies, shares many members in common with the former RPB, and continues to coordinate issues related to ocean planning in New England, as well as with the federal Ocean Policy Committee.
The Northeast Ocean Plan continues to be an important documentation of regional ocean management priorities and activities.