The Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean (MACO) was established by MARCO to foster collaboration among states, federal agencies, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, federally recognized tribes, and stakeholders. MACO has developed a plan that outlines a variety of approaches it will take to work and communicate with stakeholders, partner organizations and members of the public.

The plan reaffirms MACO’s commitment to general principles for stakeholder engagement, including the following:

  • provide regular updates to stakeholders;
  • identify a range of engagement opportunities for stakeholders in MACO activities; and
  • ensure adequate stakeholder input into MACO efforts.

MACO will convene, as resources allow, an annual Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum which is open to the public. The Forum is a venue for regional information sharing, coordination and collaboration, and enhancing the region’s ability to leverage existing efforts and information across multiple state and federal government agencies, federally-recognized tribes, non-governmental entities and ocean stakeholders. It is anticipated that the Forum will be held in alternating sites throughout the Mid-Atlantic states.

MACO’s first Forum, held in the spring of 2019, gathered nearly 200 representatives of state and federal government agencies, tribal entities, NGOs and other ocean stakeholders for a series of wide-ranging discussions on issues related to the Mid-Atlantic’s ocean ecosystem and economy.

 

Other methods for involvement and outreach covered in the plan include:

  • Webinars and conference calls by MACO leadership to provide briefings on recent activities and special topics of interest to ocean planning stakeholders, including a pre-forum webinar that will serve the purpose of providing updates on MACO’s recent activities and planning process; gathering valuable feedback on MACO’s work; sharing preliminary details on plans and logistics for the upcoming annual Forum; and soliciting ideas from stakeholders for the Forum.
  • Engagement through standing work groups dedicated to maritime commerce and navigation safety, ocean acidification (via the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network), non-consumptive recreation, marine debris, and ocean mapping and data, and additional work groups in the future. Each of these work groups will create their own work plans for stakeholder engagement and report on their progress/activities online at least twice annually.
  • The use of digital platforms for sharing news/updates and collecting feedback. MACO will continue to maintain a group of pages within the MARCO website’s Ocean Planning directory, with a main hub for information at http://midatlanticocean.org/mid-atlantic-committee-on-the-ocean/. MARCO will also leverage its communications platforms to share relevant MACO updates and activities and to promote the details as appropriate through the MARCO website, newsletter, digital and social media and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal.

The MACO Stakeholder Engagement Plan will continue to evolve based on emerging issues/needs, available resources, and the input provided. Click here to download the Stakeholder Engagement Plan (PDF, 1 MB).

 

Questions and comments can be directed to MACO at any time by email at info@midatlanticocean.org.

To learn more about MACO, click here.