Ocean Policy Advisory Council

Oregon's ocean near Waldport.  Photo by Alex Derr.
Oregon's ocean near Waldport. Photo by Alex Derr.

The Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council, known to all as OPAC, was created by the 1991 Oregon Legislature (ORS Chapter 196.405 et seq) to involve state agencies, ocean stakeholders, coastal local governments, and the public in formulating and coordinating policy recommendations about ocean resources and uses to the Governor and state agencies.  Initially conceived as a mechanism to bring stakeholders to the table with state agencies that have actual management authority in various ocean-related spheres, the OPAC membership was altered by the 2003 Oregon legislature to make stakeholders pre-eminent, reducing the Oregon state agency representatives to the status of non-voting members.  The most current list of OPAC members may be viewed here.  Robin Hartmann, first as Oregon Shores’ Ocean Program director, and subsequently as our Ocean Policy Advocate, has been a long-serving member of the council.

OPAC is also charged with preparing and, as needed, amending a plan for managing ocean resources in Oregon’s three nautical mile-wide Territorial Sea.  The initial Territorial Sea Plan was adopted in 1994, amended in 2000, and amended again in 2013 to plan for ocean wave energy development and to add marine reserve sites.  It should be noted that neither OPAC nor the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan address ocean fisheries, which are managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Fishery Management Council. 

OPAC meets twice a year at locations on the Oregon coast.  Information about OPAC meetings is available on the OPAC website. The Ocean Policy Advisory Council is perhaps the most visible part of the Oregon Ocean Resources Management Program enacted by the 1991 legislature.  The other parts of the program are:

  • Applicable elements of Oregon’s federally-approved Coastal Zone Management Program that apply to ocean resources, which includes Statewide Planning Goal 19, Ocean Resources, as well as state laws and regulations pertaining to ocean resources
  • The Territorial Sea Plan as recommended by OPAC and adopted by the Land Conservation and Development Commission
  • Parts of the 1990 Oregon Ocean Resources Management Plan that are consistent with state law