Current OPC Program Areas
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.
Improving the use of scientific information in ocean and coastal resource decision-making is one of the OPC’s key missions as highlighted in COPA and other state legislation. 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.
Scientific understanding of the risks posed by climate change is anticipated to improve as new information becomes available, creating the need for effective ways to integrate that information into real-world decisions. The OPC will work with its partners to implement flexible and agile approaches to respond to the evolving knowledge base and unanticipated changes when they occur. These include impacts to coastal communities by storms, erosion, and sea-level rise, and to ecosystems as a result of a changing climate.
Sustainable Fisheries and Marine Ecosystems
California’s productive and diverse marine ecosystems face numerous threats, including pollution, habitat destruction, historical overfishing, bioaccumulation of toxins, and climate change. The OPC will promote healthy marine ecosystems and sustainable marine fisheries to protect California’s living marine resources and the communities that rely upon them. The OPC will build on the foundation laid by the MLMA and the MLPA, and partner with the regulatory bodies charged with implementing these statutes to help advance ocean ecosystem management in the state.
Coastal and Ocean Impacts from Land-based Sources
The land and sea are inextricably linked, and much of the water pollution in California ends up in the ocean. The unique role for the Ocean Protection Council will be to continue to advance effective management to reduce the impacts of land based activities on the ocean, focusing on downstream impacts, marine debris, and sediment management.
Existing and Emerging Ocean Uses
The state’s marine environment currently hosts a variety of industrial coastal and marine uses, such as shipping, fishing, offshore oil production, power plants, and aquaculture. Several emerging industrial uses of the ocean are also now being proposed or expanded in California including desalination, marine renewable energy development, and offshore aquaculture. The OPC will work with its partners to ensure that these industrial uses of California’s coast and ocean are planned and managed in a manner that balances their social and economic benefits with the long-term protection and sustainability of the state’s marine and coastal resources.
Information on the OPC’s first strategic plan, which guided its work from 2006 – 2011, can be found here.