Maine Fishing Industry Weighs Effect of Expansive Ocean Plan

Dec 8, 2016

BANGOR, Maine - An expansive plan meant to serve as a way forward for managing the Northeast's ocean resources has been finalized. 

The National Ocean Council finalized the Northeast Ocean Plan, which has been under development for several years, with input from various stakeholders.

"We're still still trying to figure out what the long term ramifications of this plan will be to the fishing community," says Ben Martens, of the Maine Coast Fisherman's Alliance.

Martens says increased interest from other sectors - such as mining, renewable power, aquaculture, and more - will continue to make Maine fishermen nervous. 

"For many fishermen, the idea of putting something else out on the ocean is competition," he says, "and so there's a lot of concern over whether this plan is going to make it easier to put different types of projects out on the water, like wind, or other types of energy, aquaculture, those types of things."

But Martens says, putting a process in place was a necessary step, as more ocean-based industries emerge. 

Betsy Nicholson, the north regional director for NOAA's Office for Coastal Management says the process allowed the working groups to "think across jurisdictions" and put the health of the ocean first.

The plan comes in response to President Obama's 2010 executive order establishing a National Ocean Policy -  the first time such a policy had been ordered.