About the Council
|John Laird Secretary for Natural Resources, Council Chair||Betty Yee
Secretary for Environmental Protection
|Robert Hertzberg, State Senate||Mark Stone, State Assembly||Michael Brown
Mission of the Ocean Protection Council
The OPC will ensure that California maintains healthy, resilient, and productive ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. The OPC is committed to basing its decisions and actions on the best available science, and to promoting the use of science among all entities involved in the management of ocean resources.
Council Guiding Principles and Responsibilities
The Council was created pursuant to the California Ocean Protection Act (COPA), which was signed into law in 2004 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The OPC is guided by principles included in COPA:
- Recognizing the interconnectedness of the land and the sea, supporting sustainable uses of the coast, and ensuring the health of ecosystems
- Improving the protection, conservation, restoration, and management of coastal and ocean ecosystems through enhanced scientific understanding, including monitoring and data gathering
- Recognizing the “precautionary principle”: where the possibility of serious harm exists, lack of scientific certainty should not preclude action to prevent the harm
- Identifying the most effective and efficient use of public funds by identifying funding gaps and creating new and innovative processes for achieving success
- Making aesthetic, educational, and recreational uses of the coast and ocean a priority
- Involving the public in all aspects of OPC process through public meetings, workshops, public conferences, and other symposia
The council is tasked with the following responsibilities:
- Coordinate activities of ocean-related state agencies to improve the effectiveness of state efforts to protect ocean resources within existing fiscal limitations
- Establish policies to coordinate the collection and sharing of scientific data related to coast and ocean resources between agencies
- Identify and recommend to the Legislature changes in law
- Identify and recommend changes in federal law and policy to the Governor and Legislature
The Ocean Protection Council’s Strategic Plan for 2012 – 2017 proposes action in areas of critical need where the Council’s involvement can yield tangible progress and have the greatest impact. The plan includes goals, objectives and proposed actions that the Council will pursue over the next five years.