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Massachusetts Ocean Management Task Force
January 27, 2004, Meeting Summary
Division of Marine Fisheries
In Attendance: Sue Tierney, Bruce Tarr, Dale Brown, Susan Snow-Cotter, David O'Conner, Priscilla Brooks, John Duff, Michael Egan, Robbin Peach, Vivien Li, Richard McGuinness, Paul Diodati, Bill Adler, Randy Tucker, Rip Cunningham, Jim Hunt, Vito Calomo, Tom Skinner, Mitchell Jacobs, Chris Sherman, Mike Flaherty, Brett Ferry, Joseph Pelczarski, Kate Van Dine, Christine Godfrey, Mary-Lee King, Sarah Joor, Kate Killerlain, Fara Courtney, Carol Wasserman, Tony Wilbur, John Simpson, and Timothy Timmermann
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The Chair started the meeting by outlining where the Task Force is in its process. Currently the Task Force is re-drafting the recommendations based on comments from the Public Informational Meetings and written comments received thereafter. On February 5, the first draft of the report that will accompany the recommendations will be available to Task Force members. Task Force Members will have 10 days to review the report and comment. An open conference call will facilitate this review. The conference call on the report is scheduled for February 12, 2004 from 9-12. The final day for comments on the report is February 13.
The next meeting of the Task Force is February 26. There will be a second draft of the report at that time. The report and recommendations are open to reshuffling as to importance. In March the Task Force will announce its recommendations to the Secretary. At the national level, the draft report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy is expected out sometime between March 1 and March 23.
Robbin Peach lead the outreach discussion. The comment period on the Task Force's recommendations has been extended to February 13. Ambassadors from the Task Force will meet with key regional constituents to discuss the Task Force recommendations in preparation for the announcement. The report will be available online. An outreach recommendation will most likely be developed. The location for the public announcement of the Task Force's completed work was discussed.
Public comments on the Preliminary Recommendations and Principles are being posted on the website on a regular basis. The comments received prior to this meeting were reviewed by the Task Force.
Currently, the report does not recommend a moratorium and is divided into thematic issues. In the Overview, laws such as the Clean Water Act, the CZM Act and others will be described: their weaknesses, any gaps, and the fixes necessary. Data Trends and needs will review data now, the trends and gaps. Use Characterization will depict the variety of uses of our ocean resources. Task Force members were reminded that when reading the report members should make sure what you want in the report is there.
David O'Conner reported that the Principles Work Group met last week to discuss the comments received. The major comment received was on Principle #1, The Public Trust. There were concerns that the Task Force was broadening the reach of the Public Trust Doctrine beyond fishing, fowling, and navigation. Task Force members' comments varied: not to use the word trust but use enjoyment, access, protection, and conservation. The Chair of the Working Group noted that the first sentence was to capture the Public Trust Doctrine as closely as possible in one sentence. As discussion continued on this issue, the Chair decided that a Working Group at lunch would meet to finalize language. Due to time constraints, changes to Principle 1 were not discussed after the lunch meeting, but deferred to a conference call and finalized at the February 26 meeting.
The Task Force reviewed the revised recommendations and commented as follows:
RECOMMENDATION #1- CORMA: Task Force members commented on MPAs; MPAs have fishery management implications. MPAs have built in conflicts where some uses may be appropriate, while others are not. There was discussion about MPA's inclusion in the recommendation, keeping it separate or removing it.
Members commented that inclusion of the Division of Marine Fisheries authority should be incorporated into the recommendation and would strengthen the recommendation; in contrast, some members commented it would detract from the recommendation by skewing the argument into one on fisheries management.
Task Force members continued to debate the inclusion or non-inclusion of agencies, the planning for projects, and the meaning of planning in the context of management. The Chair ended debate and suggested re-writes with very direct language for the need for planning for areas based on ecosystem information, set aside areas, and a structure for agreement on what goes on in these areas.
RECOMMENDATION #2 - COORDINATION OF MITIGATION: Mitigation is currently a mixture of requirements that needs coordination. The Task Force recommended that the language be tightened up to designate a lead agency for significant projects.
RECOMMENDATION #3 - COORDINATION OF GOVERNMENT: An existing example of coordination such as dredge material management will be included. An MOU using the framework will be developed with the federal government and neighboring states. The language of the recommendation will be revised.
RECOMMENDATION #4 - OCEAN SANCTUARIES: Task Force members questioned the effect of this recommendation on the current Ocean Sanctuary Act (OSA). It may replace the OSA with more guidance on intentions. Due to this implication there was a concern the recommendation would be inconsistent with CORMA. The recommendation will be re-examined with this in mind.
RECOMMENDATION #5 - FEES: Task Force members questioned into which fund the money from the fees would be going. Money from mitigation for environmental impacts is a possibility for inclusion. Would it be coordinated with the federal government? Could it be linked to environmental monitoring and/or restoration? Task Force members asked how the value would be assessed. This recommendation will be revised to incorporate these points.
RECOMMENDATION #6 - VISUAL, CULTURAL, AND AESTHETIC IMPACTS: Some Task Force members asked that economic impacts be added to the recommendation; others said it should be kept narrow. Standard measures for these impacts are not currently available. Wording of the recommendation will be examined.
RECOMMENDATION #7 -MARINE PROTECTED AREAS: The designation of areas for certain purposes and by whom was of considerable discussion in the public comments. Task Force members raised ACECs as an example. Some members said the ACEC process does not go far enough; other members mentioned the political issues involved in designating areas. Many stated they were uncomfortable with the recommendation as drafted due to the unclear role of the agencies and process of designation. The recommendation will be revised to address the concerns expressed.
NEW RECOMMENDATION #9 - SEAFLOOR MAPPING: Cost of the recommendation was of major concern to the Task Force.
RECOMMENDATION # 14 - CLIMATE CHANGE: Task Force members asked if areas could be set aside for energy development. Mapping an area's potential should be considered. Renewable resources should be examined in consideration of climate change and its effect on the ocean, and in coordination with the State's Climate Change Action Plan.
The recommendations will be re-worked as comments arrive. Working Groups will provide drafts of narratives by February 2. The draft narratives will be compiled into a draft report and sent to the Task Force by February 5. Task Force comments on the draft will be due on February 13. Comments will then go back to working groups for consideration. The next Task Force meeting is on February 26 at the Boston Children's Museum.