In light of the increased focus on regional ocean planning, MARCO convened two listening sessions (August 19- New York and August 25, 2015- Virginia) for Tribal leaders in the Mid-Atlantic to share information about the planning process and explore interest in participation from tribes. Invited participants included members of federally-recognized tribes, state-recognized tribes, and tribes that have a relationship with a state government in the Mid-Atlantic region. MARCO also introduced Tribal leaders to three participatory Geographic Information System (pGIS) efforts where they can share spatial data and other Traditional Ecological Knowledge with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body.
Insights and information gained through these engagement efforts will (1) improve MARCO’s increased understanding of the issues and needs of tribes located in the region and (2) will inform the Mid-Atlantic ocean planning process, coordinated by Federal, State, Fishery Management Council and Tribal members of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body. The final report can be accessed here.
Both the Shinnecock Indian Nation and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe hold formal seats on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body as federally-recognized tribes. MARCO-sponsored tribal engagement efforts were intended to bring a broader tribal perspective to the process.
Since its inception in 2009, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) has engaged stakeholders from ocean industries, commercial fishing, ocean recreation interests, environmental and conservation groups, research institutions, and the public to help inform its activities. Recent stakeholder engagement efforts have focused on the development of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal and providing opportunities via workshops and meetings to foster dialogue among stakeholders and Federal and State agencies to share ideas on ocean planning. MARCO appreciates the opportunity to facilitate tribal participation in the regional ocean planning process as sovereign entities, in addition to stakeholder input from other constituencies.