The Ocean Protection Council is a state agency that works to ensure that California maintains healthy, resilient, and productive ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. The Ocean Protection Council is committed to basing its decisions and actions on the best available science, and to promoting the use of science among all entities involved in the management of ocean resources.
The Ocean Protection Council was created pursuant to the California Ocean Protection Act (COPA), which was signed into law in 2004 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The OPC is guided by principles included in COPA:
- Recognizing the interconnectedness of the land and the sea, supporting sustainable uses of the coast, and ensuring the health of ecosystems
- Improving the protection, conservation, restoration, and management of coastal and ocean ecosystems through enhanced scientific understanding, including monitoring and data gathering
- Recognizing the “precautionary principle”: where the possibility of serious harm exists, lack of scientific certainty should not preclude action to prevent the harm
- Identifying the most effective and efficient use of public funds by identifying funding gaps and creating new and innovative processes for achieving success
- Making aesthetic, educational, and recreational uses of the coast and ocean a priority
- Involving the public in all aspects of OPC process through public meetings, workshops, public conferences, and other symposia
The council is tasked with the following responsibilities:
- Coordinate activities of ocean-related state agencies to improve the effectiveness of state efforts to protect ocean resources within existing fiscal limitations
- Establish policies to coordinate the collection and sharing of scientific data related to coast and ocean resources between agencies
- Identify and recommend to the Legislature changes in law
- Identify and recommend changes in federal law and policy to the Governor and Legislature