Dover, DE—Mid-Atlantic Council member Jack Travelstead has been selected to represent the Council on the National Ocean Council’s regional planning body for the Mid-Atlantic region. Travelstead was appointed Commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission earlier this year after more than three decades of service with the agency.
The nine regional planning bodies, composed of Federal, State, tribal, and other representatives, are expected to play a substantial role in the coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) framework described in the National Ocean Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes (National Ocean Policy).
The National Ocean Policy is based on the recommendations of an interagency task force that President Obama established in 2009. The policy emphasizes the importance of developing a nationwide system for CMSP and calls for the establishment of regional planning bodies to develop regionally-focused coastal and marine spatial plans.
The nation’s eight Regional Fishery Management Councils (Councils) reacted swiftly to an early draft strategic action plan for CMSP released by the National Ocean Council (NOC) last year that provided for ad-hoc consultation with the Councils but did not include official seats for Council representatives on the regional planning bodies. The chairmen and executive directors of all eight Councils jointly submitted comments regarding the draft CMSP framework and the membership of the regional planning bodies. The letter noted that the most effective consultation mechanism would be to provide each Council with an explicit seat. In early 2012 the NOC announced that full membership would be extended to the Councils.
“Marine spatial planning is an issue of concern for many stakeholders in Mid-Atlantic fisheries because it introduces additional uncertainty about the future,” said Mid-Atlantic Council Chairman Rick Robins. “Emerging uses of the ocean will demand a more proactive, coordinated approach to ocean planning, and the Councils have the experience and expertise needed to ensure that the region’s fisheries are effectively considered throughout the development of a regional ocean plan.”
"The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council welcomes the opportunity to participate in the Regional Planning Body for the Mid-Atlantic,” said Chairman Robins. “Jack Travelstead's experiences with the Council, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission make him one of the most knowledgeable and effective fishery managers in the Mid-Atlantic, and I am pleased to name him as the Council's representative.”