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CRMC, Fugate honored with Benchley Ocean Award

January 17, 2017, Wakefield The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), along with the University of Rhode Island, and Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regional Planning Bodies, were recently honored with a Peter Benchley Ocean Award, recognizing marine leaders all over the world.

The 2017 winners of this award – the world’s preeminent ocean honors – and their efforts span a range of global conservation solutions including creating and vastly expanding marine protected areas, mitigating overfishing, reducing marine pollution, and addressing climate change.

Garnering the award for Excellence in Solutions, the CRMC was lauded for its creation of the R.I. Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP), along with the SAMP team, including the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center and URI Graduate School of Oceanography. The CRMC developed and adopted in 2010 groundbreaking marine spatial planning in the Ocean SAMP document, a federally recognized coastal management and regulatory tool using the best available science. It provides a balanced approach to the development and protection of ocean-based resources.

Word of the Ocean SAMP’s success and worth traveled quickly in the national and international coastal and ocean management community, and in 2015 culminated in a breakthrough collaboration of multiple regional planning bodies (with leaders appointed at the federal, state, and tribal levels) coming together with important new science and enhanced policies, leading to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions finalizing the first two regional ocean plans in the nation’s history.

“These collaborative efforts have focused on identifying and carrying out best practices for early coordination in decision-making; developing, sharing, and using new and better ocean data; and implementing interjurisdictional coordination actions that address priority opportunities and challenges in each region,” the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards stated. “Most importantly, they are enabling us for the first time ever to make smarter, better coordinated planning decisions for long-term enhancement of our shared ocean resources, including fisheries stocks, transportation channels, and the leasing, permitting and development of offshore energy projects. Ultimately, they are proving that securing our ocean future in a collaborative way is not only possible, but the best way forward.”

The Peter Benchley Ocean Awards, co-founded by ocean conservation and policy advocate Wendy Benchley and author and Blue Frontier Executive Director David Helvarg and named in honor of Peter Benchley (author of Jaws) who worked for 40 years educating the public on shark and ocean conservation issues, will be given to recipients on May 11 in Washington, D.C. To-date, Benchley award winners have included five Heads of State, U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense, senators, marine scientists, journalists, explorers, youth leaders and citizen activists. For a full list of the 2017 honorees, go to http://peterbenchleyoceanawards.org/honorees/current.

 

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