Marine spatial planning is one of a handful of concepts — including marine protected areas — developed by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and her former colleagues at Environmental Defense Fund and other nonprofits fueled by philanthropic and industrial foundation funding.
EDF — whose 2005 plan for gaining functional control of the oceans was obtained by the Times in 2009 — has begun ramping up its staff assigned to marine spatial planning in New England and the Pacific coasts.
An internal memo by Jake Kritzer, EDF's director of spatial initiatives for the Oceans Program, announcing a job search for a spatial policy analyst to work on "groundfish closed areas" on both coasts, was obtained by the Times this week.
"The focus might evolve to other geographies through time," wrote Kritzer, who also serves on the New England Fishery Management Council's Science and Statistical Committee.
In the 1990s, Lubchenco did pioneering work on marine spatial planning, and began promoting catch shares and marine protected areas. Using disputed scientific theories — including one that predicted that overfishing would leave the ocean to nothing but jellyfish — Lubchenco and colleagues wrote a political policy manifesto for President-elect Obama urging the spread of catch shares across the nation's fisheries, then accepted his offer to join the administration.
In the second half of George W. Bush's presidency, she and an EDF protoge, David Festa, wrote a piece declaring Bush "the Blue President" after he used the Antiquities Act, in conjuction with work by the Pew Environment Group, to create three marine-protected areas around the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas in the western Pacific.
Residents of the westernmost U.S. territories complained to the Times that the government was acting with colonial arrogance treating residents like subject peoples. And two San Francisco lawyers, James P. Walsh and Gwen Fanger, writing in an American Bar Association newsletter, argued that Bush had misused the law and acted in a manner of dubious constitutionality.