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Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan

Find information on and links to this blueprint for the protection and sustainable use of state ocean waters.

The Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan protects critical marine habitat and important water-dependent uses and sets standards for new ocean-based projects in Massachusetts. The ocean plan’s management framework is implemented within the existing regulatory structure, with the relevant agencies coordinating review and approval of proposed ocean projects.

In response to the Oceans Act of 2008, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) issued the first Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan in 2009. The Oceans Act requires EEA to review the ocean plan at least once every five years, a process led by EEA’s Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). The 2015 ocean plan was released in January 2015 as the first formal ocean plan amendment. On January 3, 2022, EEA released the final 2021 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. The 2021 ocean plan now supersedes all previous ocean plans.

To receive email updates on the ocean plan review process, please send a blank email to join-env-oceanplan@listserv.state.ma.us.

Find links below to each version of the ocean plan, information about the review process, all supporting documents, and other information.

Links to Ocean Plan Information

  • Ocean Management Plan Regulations - The ocean management plan regulations at 301 CMR 28.00 codify management areas and performance standards for activities allowed within the ocean management planning area.
  • 2021 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan - The current version of the ocean plan was released on January 3, 2022, as the second formal ocean plan amendment. This page includes links to the 2021 ocean plan, along with information on its development and supporting technical work group reports.
  • 2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan - This page includes links to the 2015 ocean plan, which was released in January 2015 and was superseded by the 2021 ocean plan. This page also includes information on development of the 2015 ocean plan and links to supporting technical work group reports.
  • Review and Update of the 2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan - This page describes the 2015 ocean plan review and update process and provides links to relevant documents.
  • 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan - The original ocean plan, which was released in 2009, was superseded by the 2015 ocean plan. This page includes links to the 2009 ocean plan, along with the technical reports and planning documents produced during plan development.
  • Ocean Plan Data - All of the spatial data provided in the ocean plan are hosted in the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS) online mapping tool.
  • Ocean Management Planning Area (PDF, 5 MB) - This map shows the boundary of the Ocean Management Planning Area pursuant to the Oceans Act of 2008. A GIS shape file (ZIP, 308 KB) for the Ocean Management Planning Area is also available.
  • Ocean Advisory Commission - This 17-member commission is made up of legislators, agency representatives, and stakeholder representatives charged with assisting the EEA Secretary in developing the ocean plan.
  • Ocean Science Advisory Council - This council of nine scientists with expertise in the marine sciences and data management assists the EEA Secretary in the science and technical aspects of developing and implementing the ocean plan.
  • Ocean Resources and Waterways Trust - This fund was developed for projects subject to ocean plan requirements.
  • Northeast Ocean Plan - This regional ocean plan for the Northeast was developed by the Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB)—a group with representatives from six New England states, six federally recognized tribes, nine federal agencies, and the New England Fishery Management Council.

To receive email updates on the ocean plan review process, please send a blank email to join-env-oceanplan@listserv.state.ma.us. For additional information about the ocean plan, contact Prassede Vella at prassede.vella@mass.gov.

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