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What does Washington seek to gain from the MSP process?


Ocean planning can benefit a wide range of stakeholders and partners. Planning processes typically focus on identifying existing and emerging uses, reducing conflicts among users, reducing environmental impacts, and increasing coordination among state, tribal, and federal agencies.

Washington expects to gain the following from its MSP process:

  • Improved baseline information on the marine environment and current uses like fishing, shipping, recreation, and aquaculture;
  • Improved coordination among governments, include improved integration of existing policies and management;
  • Analyses to support decision-making;
  • Recommendations for siting new ocean uses, including protections for current ocean users and ocean environments;
  • A clearer, more predictable framework for agencies to communicate about and respond to new ocean uses;
  • Increased scientific research and the ability to adapt the plan based on new information.

Similar benefits have been observed by coastal states that have completed a Marine Spatial Plan and have been recognized by the National Ocean Policy. Washington expects these types of improvements to benefit ocean users, the marine industry, tribal governments, fishermen, and all recreational users.

Washington State’s law also articulates several broad principles for developing a marine spatial plan such as engaging the public and stakeholders; recognizing and respecting tribal treaty rights and existing uses; protecting working waterfronts; encouraging sustainable economic opportunities; enhancing public access; and restoring ecosystem health.

For more information, visit the National Ocean Policy website or read Marine Spatial Plans from other states.


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