Surfrider Foundation applauds the release of valuable, never-seen-before maps of human uses in the Mid-Atlantic released by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO). The maps include data on human uses such as shipping, fishing, surfing, and military.

The release is another important step in the years long process to create a comprehensive Ocean Action Plan (OAP) for the Mid-Atlantic that will better manage and protect our ocean and coastal resources. The body creating the OAP, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB), brings together states, federal agencies, stakeholders, tribes, and the public to advance stewardship of our ocean and coasts.

The RPBs, and the larger idea of regional ocean planning that they are based upon, are a cornerstone of President Obama’s 2010 National Ocean Policy. Regional ocean planning provides an opportunity to protect our special coastal places before they’re threatened by development.Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 12.18.26 PM

In New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and Washington State, Surfrider is aiding the development of ocean plans that will protect the marine ecosystem on behalf of recreational users. In 2013, Surfrider collected data on where and how people recreate in the Mid-Atlantic. This data is now included in the human use maps, documenting the economic and social value of coastal recreation.

To see this new data in an easy to use format, go to and click on the data layers under “Human Use Data Synthesis”.

In June 2016, there will be opportunities for Mid-Atlantic residents to comment and attend hearings on the draft Ocean Action Plan. To be in the know on these hearings, please join our Mid-Atlantic mailing list here. To understand more about regional ocean planning, watch our beautiful (and short) film, The Next Wave.