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Oregon Governor looking to expand aquaculture off the Oregon coast

US - Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski instructed the Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) in a letter yesterday to devise over the next year a state proposal for a network of marine reserves along the Oregon coastline, in addition to examining efforts to accommodate wave energy production and aquaculture in Oregon.

“It is essential that you develop and communicate a clear set of goals and objectives for creating a network of marine reserves along the Oregon coast,” the Governor wrote the Council. “I have watched with interest as the State of California has worked to create a system of marine protected areas. I think there is much to learn from California’s experience and I encourage you to actively engage…with their work on this.”

In December 2005, Governor Kulongoski proposed designating Oregon’s entire coast as a National Marine Sanctuary in a unique federal-state partnership to provide long-term stewardship of the ocean ecosystems. In his letter, the Governor commended OPAC for their interim report examining the proposal and encouraged the Council to continue their dialogue with the federal government. But he also noted that outstanding questions indicate that the state should also pursue independent preservation initiatives.

OPAC’s efforts will complement the regional partnership between California, Washington and Oregon to collaboratively address ocean health issues that was announced in September 2006, letting the Council draw on the work of Washington to designate a marine sanctuary and California’s recent designation of 29 marine reserves.

The Governor directed OPAC to give particular attention to four issues while devising the network of marine reserves:

  • Coordinate with the Department of State Lands, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Wildlife Service Refuge Branch, the Science and Technical Advisory Committee, and other relevant state and federal agencies on establishing a clear set of goals and objectives that meet their needs for resource management and protection;

  • Recommend how to broaden public awareness about ocean issues and seek public input on establishing the marine reserves;

  • Identify “special places” worthy of protection with the Territorial Sea; and

  • Consider alternate methods for designating marine reserves in Oregon, including the National Marine Sanctuary mechanism.

In addition, Governor Kulongoski asked OPAC to continue their efforts proposals to develop wave energy resources and to offer input on federal plans to expand aquaculture off the Oregon coast.