Ocean Policy

United States

The National Ocean Council announced the "National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan" in April 2013, a document positioned as a concrete implementation plan for comprehensive ocean governance policies which had been carried out since 2009 under the Obama Administration's National Ocean Policy*1. The document contained information concerning the issues in the ocean that the United States faced and detailed concrete policies that the federal government should take to deal with them.

Following the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, the National Ocean Council adopted the Marine Planning Handbook in July 2013.

Although it seemed that with the announcement of the implementation plan and handbook, the formulation of a policy guideline regarding ocean governance in the United States at the federal level had been completed for the time being, it has actually been left to each region to play a leading role in the execution of the policy. Thus, it is worth noting how specific initiatives will be undertaken at a regional level based on the implementation plan and handbook.

Other important international movements in the ocean policies of the United States include its Arctic Ocean Policy and entry into the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

With regards to the Arctic Ocean Policy, the Executive Office announced the "National Strategy for the Arctic Region"*2 in May 2013 and the "Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region" in January 2014. The following three points are given as the fundamental guidelines for both documents: 1) To increase the profits of security guarantees in the United States; 2) To pursue responsible stewardship of the Arctic Region, and 3) To strengthen international cooperation.

Regarding UNCLOS, the Obama Administration consistently maintains the position that the United States should enter into the Convention. Even both the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan and the National Strategy for the Arctic Region claim that entry into the Convention will lead to increases in the U.S. national revenue due to increased access to developing seabed resources beyond 200 nautical miles and mineral resources in the deep ocean floor. However, 34 senators voiced opposition to the idea in July 2012*3 and since then there have been no noticeable changes.

  1. *1 Please refer to the 2012 report for full details on the Obama Administration's National Ocean Policy and the formulation of the implementation plan mentioned in this chapter. (2012 report: Part 1, Chapter 2, Policy Proposal Movements in the United States (In Japanese), written by Shio Segi
  2. *2 https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/docs/nat_arctic_strategy.pdf#search=%27National+Strategy+for+the+Arctic+Region++2013%27
  3. *3 Please refer to pages 15 and 16 of the 2012 report for further details.

Ocean Policies of Other Countries