Ocean planning has many definitions, but is often thought of as a comprehensive, stakeholder-driven process that considers the dynamic and interconnected relationship between the ocean environment and the human uses. This pilot project is centered around reducing conflict between and balancing Public Trust uses, which both partners manage, including commerce, navigation, recreation, fishing, and environmental stewardship. While both partners manage Public Trust uses, neither are regulatory bodies and do not intend to establish ocean use zones.
The intent of this pilot project is to hear from stakeholders and ocean users directly to better understand what the current ocean uses are in this offshore space, where they occur, and how they interact. In the first phase of this pilot project, the Commission and Port are focusing on public engagement and data collection.
Through public engagement, the Partners heard from stakeholders directly about how they use the ocean space, their challenges with those uses, their previous experiences and concerns with similar planning processes, and suggestions on how to best manage an ocean planning process. And through data collection, the Partners gathered and compiled publicly available data to visualize coastal and marine-related data to better understand the environmental conditions of the ocean space and how those might relate to ocean uses. These two efforts culminate into the Preliminary Assessment Report and a Web Mapping Application
This is not a regulatory program nor does it stem directly from a particular legislative mandate. This is a voluntary collaboration, intended for planners and the public, that will yield an interactive spatial tool and management framework for the Commission and the Port to inform our decision-making, and will not alter or attempt to alter the statutes or regulations under the jurisdictions of other agencies, including the California Coastal Commission, California Fish and Game Commission, State Water Resources Control Board, and others.
For example, the Marine Protected Area (MPA) network is under the jurisdiction of the California Fish and Game Commission pursuant to the Marine Life Protection Act. The ocean planning process will explore opportunities to ensure ecological sustainability and enhance the function of marine environments by alleviating existing stressors and preventing incompatible developments. Our intent is that the planning partnership will not only help to protect MPAs or enhance the objectives of other managed areas, but may also be able to identify opportunities to improve their functionality.