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Coastal and Ocean Program

The coastal and ocean environment is deeply linked to our province's culture, heritage, history, recreational enjoyment and economic prosperity. Activities along our coasts must be effectively managed to ensure healthy and productive coastal ecosystems and a strong economy.

In 2006, Government directed the Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods (FFA)  to take an active role in coastal and ocean policy development and management. In response, FFA led development of the provincial Coastal and Ocean Management Strategy and Policy Framework released in June 2011. This strategy is intended to provide long-term strategic direction on the sustainable use of the province's marine resources.

Strategy Overview

Three over-arching strategic approaches to integrated coastal and ocean management are recommended in the strategy and will be guiding principles in moving forward: coordination across government; decisions based on information and research; and public education and awareness.

Addressing coastal issues is a shared responsibility and it is important that all coastal users are actively involved. In order to guide and facilitate provincial planning, the strategy provides direction for policy development and actions under six key coastal issues raised during public discussions:

Provincial Coastal and Ocean Network

To ensure consistency with other provincial government initiatives and to provide a forum for information exchange on coastal and ocean activities, the Provincial Coastal and Oceans Network (PCON) was established in 2006. The network is chaired by FFA, and is assisting in implementation of the strategy by providing direction and advice.


In order to properly assess the issues facing Newfoundland and Labrador's coastal areas, two issues scans were conducted throughout the province by an external consultant in 2007 and 2008. The scope of the work was to engage, inform, and hear the concerns of interested groups and individuals on coastal and ocean issues facing their region.

The information and recommendations found within these issues scans provided the basis for the Discussion Paper released in 2010. This paper helped guide the consultation process and provided a baseline for discussion on moving forward with setting objectives and priorities for the province. Feedback received from stakeholders and the general public helped guide development of the final strategy.

Regional Oceans Governance

Within Newfoundland and Labrador, federal and provincial government departments with an interest in coastal and oceans management are committed to working collaboratively on integrated coastal and oceans management (ICOM) to protect a wide range of coastal and ocean features, including those which encompass ecological, economic, social and cultural values. Awareness and information sharing is a core principle of integrated management and contributes to better decision making. This website is designed to provide information to the public and stakeholders, on coastal and ocean issues and initiatives in the province. The effective management of coastal activities and ocean resources is a shared responsibility and a coordinated approach to developing actions and policies has been identified as a priority by both provincial and federal governments.

The Regional Oversight Committee on Oceans Management (ROCOM) is the senior executive level forum for federal and provincial departments and agencies with coastal and ocean-related programs. ROCOM provides coordination at the intergovernmental and interdepartmental levels for:

  • Planning, management and regulatory matters related to integrated ocean and coastal management;
  • Internal oversight, monitoring and performance assessment of regional management processes;
  • Formal and executive level government involvement in the development and implementation of plan for regional integrates management processes; and
  • Regional implementation of national policies and programs.

ROCOM is a body of decision makers, each with mandated decision making powers at the zonal and regional level. ROCOM provides advice and recommendations regarding mandated decision-making processes to be implemented via the relevant government departments, agencies and boards. The geographic focus of ROCOM is the Newfoundland and Labrador Region.  

Government agencies recognize that broad scale management of coastal and oceans space must target priority issues and priority areas. The Regional Oversight Committee on Oceans Management (ROCOM) met in January 2013, and agreed on three priority issues that will be the current focus of coordinated management action within the region. These priorities were identified based on international, national and regional priorities following extensive consultation with stakeholders.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Committee on Oceans Management (CNLCOM) is an intergovernmental forum to focus on policy, management, operations and regulatory coordination for the Newfoundland and Labrador Region. CNLCOM builds government support and cohesion for integrated ocean management and provides an opportunity for information sharing and discussion of issues. It carries out work in support of, and as directed by, ROCOM.

Activities and Initiatives

World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is officially recognized by the United Nations as June 8th each year. The “World Oceans Day” concept was first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Since then it has been celebrated annually by an increasing number of countries and organizations. June 8th marks an opportunity to celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea as well as to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the important ways people can help to protect it. World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans. For more information on World Oceans Day visit opens new window.

DFA, in partnership with other organizations, has been bringing education and awareness to schools across the province through oceans art and essay contests. Click here to view more information World Ocean Day.


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