ABOUT US

HISTORY

In June 2010, President Obama convened the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force with the objective to fulfill the United States responsibilities to support sustainable and productive uses of the ocean, the coasts, and the Great Lakes. The Task Force was established to promote compatibility among different uses, avoid conflicts and reduce environmental impacts by an implementation strategy that identifies nine priorities, including Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP). The Ocean Policy Task Force defines CMSP as a comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, eco-system based and transparent planning process based on sound science, for analyzing current and anticipated uses of coastal areas. 

Through CMSP, areas suitable for different types of activities are identified to facilitate compatible uses, reduce conflicts among users and preserve critical ecosystem services to meet economic, environmental, security and social objectives. A central objective of CMSP is to foster partnerships to promote coastal adaptation and resiliency. In order to meet current and future demands on our oceans, the CROP will take a comprehensive look at shared marine regions and take into consideration the wide array of stakeholders who use it and the complex diversity of life that depends on it. This coordinated approach will reduce conflicts, maximize the ocean’s benefits to people, and help maintain healthy marine habitats. The CROP will enhance transparency and accountability of decision-makers while evaluating the best way to balance marine uses, such as providing access for recreation, conservation, fishing, renewable energy facilities and electrical grids. This Partnership will incorporate sound science, best available information and technical tools into the decision-making process.

In May 16, 2012, the Governors of the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (PR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the establishment of a Caribbean Regional Ocean Partnership (CROP). Pursuant to this collaborative agreement, both jurisdictions proactively plan for multiple uses of coastal, marine and trans-boundary areas, as well as identify areas that are compatible with development and ecologically less vulnerable to impacts. In order to meet current and future demands on our oceans, CROP will take a comprehensive look at shared marine regions and take into consideration the wide array of stakeholders who use it and the complex diversity of life that depends on it. This coordinated approach will reduce conflicts, maximize the ocean’s benefits to people, and help maintain healthy marine habitats. With the Portal, the CROP will enhance transparency and accountability of decision-makers while evaluating the best way to balance marine uses, such as providing access for recreation, conservation, fishing, renewable energy facilities and electrical grids. This Partnership will incorporate sound science, best available information and technical tools into the decision-making process.

MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING PARTNERS

The Regional Planning Body 

The Caribbean Regional Planning Body (CRPB) works with stakeholders, scientific, business, technical experts, and members of the public to develop and implement a regional plan for the balanced, sustainable management of the coastal and marine areas of the U.S. Caribbean region. The CRPB includes federal, state and territory government representatives and a Caribbean Fishery Management Council (CFMC) representative as members and has a secretariat function to fulfill the responsibilities of the RPB. However, this CRPB is not a regulatory or management body and has no independent authority to direct government or private entities. Participation on the CRPB does not commit any non-federal government represented by the member to adopt its plan.    

Working Groups

The CRPB will establish working groups as appropriate to progress planning efforts. These committees can be thematic (e.g., energy, permitting, etc.) or geographic (e.g., Virgin Islands) as determined appropriate by the CRPB. Working groups can be comprised of members, their designated representatives, or other non-member experts.

Science and Technical Advisory Group

Science and up-to-date data are needed to support the CROP’s planning effort. Through the STAG the CROP will ensure that the CMSP process takes into account the full range of perspectives and interests in the ocean and is grounded in the most accurate and relevant information possible. The STAG will help ensure that the CROP is using the most up-to-date data available and will help in decision support, conservation and management tools identification.

Stakeholders Advisory Group

The stakeholder advisory group represents a diverse range of interests affecting coastal and marine spatial planning, including individuals representing fishing interests, non-profit conservation organizations, recreational users, business, scientific and educational interests, and others dedicated to habitat conservation and protection of public marine and coastal resources. The stakeholder group will advise and support the CROP throughout the CMSP process with input on sustainable use, conservation and management tools identification.