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State’s ocean law draws good support

Published by FiskerForum, 04-06-2008 · info@fiskerforum.dk

Massachusetts has signed new law for protecting ocean resources, the Oceans Act, as it is called, for comprehensive ocean management.

Massachusetts’ 1,500 miles of coastline has been the setting for offshore projects like never before. It has plans for wind farms and tidal-energy facilities, underwater sand and gravel mining, telecommunication cables and LNG plants. Jack Clarke, spokesman for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, told that there is great need for protecting ocean resources are hailing a measure Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law last week that will make Massachusetts the first state with a plan in place to manage and protect its ocean waters.The new law is called the Oceans Act and it is for creation of a comprehensive ocean management plan by the end of 2009. According to the authority the plan will govern all development and construction within 3 miles of the coast and be developed on advice of a 17-member commission and a panel of scientists. Environmentalists said that Massachusetts, like most coastal states, regulates offshore projects in a piecemeal fashion and without enough consideration for the impact they can have on marine life and natural habitats. The environmentalists cheered the law as a major step toward striking a balance between commercial, environmental and recreational interests in the state’s Atlantic waters. Priscilla Brooks, director of the ocean conservation programme at the Conservation Law Foundation, told that the new law will let the state get ahead of this “rapid expansion, so they can promote smart growth of the ocean and protect its ecosystem.”It is said that the law temporarily halts any plans for renewable energy projects in ocean sanctuaries, such as one in Buzzards Bay. Fishermen were pleased that the law left control of commercial fishing to the state Division of Marine Fisheries.

Source: Daily news Tribune

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