The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) issued the Commonwealth’s first‐ever ocean plan in December 2009, culminating an intensive planning process launched with the signing of the Oceans Act in May 2008. The Oceans Act requires EEA to review and update the ocean plan at least once every five years. As with the development of the original plan, this process is led by EEA’s Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). In January 2013, EEA initiated a formal review and update of the 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, beginning with a comprehensive assessment of progress and performance to achieve the requirements and commitments established by the Oceans Act and the ocean plan. EEA released the results of this assessment in Review of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan pdf format of Review of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan
file size 2MB, which provides a summary of the background and context for ocean planning in Massachusetts and reports on the ocean plan development process, including the policies and management framework, plan administration and implementation, and work on science and data priorities identified in the Science Framework. The document also synthesizes the views and opinions of the members of the state’s Ocean Advisory Commission and Ocean Science Advisory Council on the ocean planning and implementation process, and summarizes stakeholder and public input received during a public review process in June 2013.

In June 2013, through four public meetings and a formal 60-day comment period, EEA gathered input on the proposed scope for updates to the 2009 ocean plan. Also that month, EEA convened six technical work groups to review scientific data and information and identify and characterize important trends in ocean resources and uses. At meetings in the fall and winter of 2013-2014, the Ocean Advisory Commission and Ocean Science Advisory Council reviewed draft technical work group reports. In March 2014, CZM, with support from SeaPlan (formerly the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership) held two public workshops to share information and solicit input and feedback on the findings and recommendations of the work groups. The final work group reports are provided below.

For additional details on the review and update process through May 2014, see the Review and Update of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan fact sheet pdf format of Massachusetts Ocean Plan Review and Update Factsheet
file size 2MB.

Based on the work group technical reports and input from advisory bodies, workshops, and public and stakeholder meetings, efforts over the spring and summer 2014 were focused on the development of the 2014 draft ocean plan, which was released for public review and comment on September 24, 2014. See the Draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, September 2014 web page for copies of this document.

The September 24, 2014, release of the draft plan launched a 60-day public comment period. Five regional public hearings were held in Ipswich, Hyannis, New Bedford, Vineyard Haven, and Boston to solicit feedback. More than 75 organizations and individuals provided written and oral comments on the draft plan. With consensus guidance from the Ocean Advisory Commission and Ocean Science Advisory Council, adjustments to the draft ocean plan were deliberated and made, and the final 2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan was released on January 6, 2015.