I, Frank H. Murkowski, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of art. III, secs. 1 and 24 of the Alaska Constitution and to further the purposes of AS 16.05.050 and AS 46.03.010, establish the position of Alaska Ocean Policy Coordinator in the Department of Fish and Game to recommend to and coordinate with the Ocean Policy Cabinet, and other state agencies, state policies for ocean research and management in Alaska.
Following approval of such policies by the Ocean Policy Cabinet and the governor, the Alaska Ocean Policy Coordinator will coordinate and communicate information related to ocean research and management with federal and local governmental entities and nongovernmental organizations in Alaska.
The existing authority of state agencies responsible for controlling pollution and the management of coastal and nearshore resources is unaffected by this Order.
Throughout this Order, references to ocean policy, research, or management include coastal resource policy, research, or management.
Background and Purpose
In September 2004, the United States Commission on Ocean Policy (Commission) submitted its final report, An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century, to the President of the United States. As mandated by the federal Oceans Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-256), the recommendations in the Commission’s final report are far reaching and likely to have significant impact on the way the nation’s ocean resources are currently managed. As the nation’s premier ocean state, with more than half of the nation’s offshore waters and two-thirds of its coastline, Alaska must take a leadership role in responding to the issues and challenges raised by the Commission and subsequent federal implementing legislation.
Management of the nation’s oceans is currently dispersed among a confusing array of federal, state, and local agencies and research organizations. The new ocean governance framework recommended by the Commission envisions regional ocean management to coordinate and communicate common ocean research and management goals, priorities, and results. The State of Alaska is uniquely positioned to pursue the proactive coordination of regional ocean management that can focus on Alaska’s land and oceans, which are geographically separate from any other state.
Under Alaska law, the executive branch of state government has significant responsibilities for ocean research and management. Specifically, the state resource agencies (Department of Fish and Game, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Environmental Conservation) exercise the state’s authority for protecting and managing Alaska’s natural resources, including coastal and nearshore resource management, protecting the environment, and controlling pollution. A mission of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development is to promote a healthy economy and strong local communities. The commissioners of these state agencies, the governor’s fisheries policy advisor, and the governor’s director of state/federal relations comprise the Administration’s Ocean Policy Cabinet.
The Department of Fish and Game is best suited to coordinate the administration’s response to changes in federal ocean policy because of the overriding importance of commercial, subsistence, personal use, and sport fisheries management in Alaska. The commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game shall ensure coordination of the administration’s unified position and response to ocean policy actions by Congress or the President.
The Alaska Ocean Policy Coordinator, in concert with the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, and the governor’s office, shall consult with the University of Alaska and other interested stakeholders on national ocean policy initiatives, as appropriate. Consistent with legal obligations, all state agencies are directed to coordinate national ocean policy initiatives through the Alaska Ocean Policy Coordinator.
The governor’s office will establish the administration’s official policy on ocean management issues in consultation with the Ocean Policy Cabinet. The Alaska Ocean Policy Coordinator will serve as the administration’s liaison with interested Alaska stakeholders for communicating state ocean policy.
The resource agencies and the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development shall provide administrative support necessary to carry out this Order. In accordance with law, these agencies may enter into intergovernmental agreements or apply for federal grants available to accomplish the purposes of this Order.
This Order takes effect immediately.
DATED at Juneau, Alaska, this 17th day of December, 2004.
/s/Frank H. Murkowski