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Aug 3 -- Comment period extended to September 14, 2023. https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-15982

June 29 -- The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), on behalf of the interagency Ocean Policy Committee (OPC), request input from all interested parties to inform the development of a National Strategy for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (National Strategy). The National Strategy will describe the vision, goals, and high-level actions for a robust, equitable, secure, sustainable ocean economy enabled by healthy, resilient ocean ecosystems. It will build on current Federal, Tribal, Territorial, State, and regional sustainable ocean management practices and identify needs and opportunities to enhance these efforts with new and emerging science, technology, knowledge, and policy. Through this request for information (RFI), the Ocean Policy Committee seeks public input on what the goals and outcomes of the National Strategy should be, and how the Federal Government can best advance sustainable management of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and ecosystems of the United States.

Responses are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on August 28, 2023.

To engage the Nation in developing a vision, goals, and high-level actions for sustainable management of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, the Ocean Policy Committee, a Congressionally mandated, Cabinet-level interagency committee charged with coordinating Federal ocean policy, will develop a National Strategy for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (National Strategy) in consultation with federally recognized Tribes and input from governments, civil society, the private sector, and the public. The National Strategy will: (1) describe a vision and goals for sustainable management of the U.S. ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes; (2) characterize and assess needs and opportunities to achieve the vision and goals; (3) identify existing and new high-level actions by Federal, Tribal, State, Territorial, regional, and local governments that can advance sustainable management; and (4) describe how those actions will be implemented to engage and build on the work of and partnerships with civil society, the private sector, and the public.

Examples of subject matter that may be addressed by the National Strategy include, but are not necessarily limited to: ocean food and human health; ocean energy and resources; ocean-based tourism; ocean transportation; new ocean industries; climate change; marine and coastal ecosystems; ocean pollution; equity and environmental justice; ocean literacy and skills; economic valuation of coastal and ocean natural capital; ocean science and technology; ocean finance; Indigenous Knowledge, ancestral and historical areas of importance, and national security.

At the Federal level, the National Strategy will take into account current actions related to the sustainability of the nation's ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, including, but not necessarily limited to: the Ocean Climate Action Plan (https://www.whitehouse.gov/​wp-content/​uploads/​2023/​03/​Ocean-Climate-Action-Plan_​Final.pdf), the National Nature Assessment (https://www.globalchange.gov/​nna), and the National Strategy to Develop Statistics for Environmental-Economic Decisions (https://www.whitehouse.gov/​ostp/​news-updates/​2023/​01/​19/​fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-releases-national-strategy-to-put-nature-on-the-nations-balance-sheet/​). The Ocean Policy Committee is coordinating the development of the National Strategy in conjunction with the United States' participation in the “High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy” (Ocean Panel; https://oceanpanel.org/​), committing with 16 other nations to develop sustainable ocean plans for their marine areas under national jurisdiction. This initiative aims to advance the prosperity, health, and security of participating nations through the sustainable management of their marine areas, and to provide a range of examples that can be considered as potential models by other nations. The U.S. National Strategy will serve as a sustainable ocean plan for the purposes of the Ocean Panel initiative.

. . . An interagency work group under the Ocean Policy Committee and co-led by the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Navy, in partnership with the CEQ and OSTP, and other Federal agencies and entities, will develop the National Strategy with input from, Tribal Nations, local, State, and Territorial governments, the private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations, a wide range of stakeholders, and the public. The workgroup is seeking input from the public on high-level goals and how to achieve them in the following areas:

• Sustainable Ocean Economy -- What should the national vision and high-level goals be for a sustainable ocean economy? Are there successful regional or local efforts that could be applied nation-wide? What elements or activities do you consider critical to a sustainable ocean economy? Are there other topics beyod those listed above (e.g., ocean food; ocean energy and resources; ocean-based tourism; ocean transportation; new ocean industries; climate change; marine and coastal ecosystems; ocean pollution; equity and environmental justice; ocean literacy and skills; economic valuation of the ocean's natural capital; ocean science, technology; ocean finance; Indigenous Knowledge and ancestral and historical areas of importance; and national security) that should be addressed?

• Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes Priorities -- What are your priorities for sustainable management of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes at a local, state, Tribal, territorial, regional, and/or national scale? What key challenges do you face in achieving them? Are your priorities for ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes management reflected in existing workplans, strategy documents, or other materials? What practices/tactics are you employing or would you need to employ to meet those priorities?

• An Informed and Responsive National Strategy -- Are there gaps in our knowledge of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes that need to be addressed to support sustainable ocean management? Are there opportunities to improve how we manage the use of marine ecosystems to maximize their benefits while minimizing human impacts on them? For example, and as relevant only to the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, how can the United States advance its commitment to a precautionary approach to seabed mining and other emerging ocean industries? What co-management and co-stewardship practices are needed to meet ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes sustainability?

• Additional Considerations -- Is there anything else you would like to be considered in the development of the National Strategy?

Ocean Policy Committee: https://www.noaa.gov/interagency-ocean-policy
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-13839

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