"By developing this plan, Rhode Island has emerged as a national leader in coastal management and ocean stewardship," said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, who joined state leaders on the shore of Narragansett Bay last week to recognise the plan's approval.
"This plan takes into account all ocean uses for enhancing commercial, recreational and environmental goals. This plan is what President Obama envisioned in the National Ocean Policy and it sets a great example for other coastal states."
With NOAA's approval of the state's Ocean SAMP under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act, Rhode Island becomes the first state to have incorporated a comprehensive ocean special area management plan in its coastal zone management programme.
This approval means that enforceable policies in the Ocean SAMP for protecting existing activities such as fishing, important habitats and archaeological resources, and identifying areas suitable for energy projects, may be applied to federal actions in federal waters.
The approval follows the court backing of a power-purchase agreement for the pilot 30MW Block Island offshore wind farm at the start of July.