Closing Waters to Sportfishing in California
The California Fish and Game Commission is forging ahead with closures and restrictions of sport fishing along the California coast. Many of the best fishing locations could be lost completely to sport fishing
The California Fish and Game Commission is forging ahead with closures and restrictions of sport fishing along the California coast. Many of the best fishing locations could be lost completely to sport fishing. All of this is being done under the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). The California Legislature passed the MLPA in 1999 and is being implemented by the California Department of Fish and Game Commissioners. The idea of protecting marine life sounds like something we could all support but the implementation has been faulty. On one side you have fishermen with certain stakeholders and on the other side you have environmentalist and anti fishing groups.
Those in favor of the closures state that only 204 square miles are being restricted or closed to fishing. Of those 204 square miles only 85 square miles are closed to fishing. One problem with this claim is the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are only 3 miles wide. To me the miles of shore line restricted or closed to fishing is much more important. Beach fishers and kayakers rely on good access. Each MPA is not large but some of the proposed areas are prime fishing for many different fish.
California sport fishers and coastal users are fighting the system to try and add some reason to how the MPA areas are chosen. Some restrictions seem reasonable and some make no sense at all. One thing that the California F&G Commissioners were doing was denying access to data use to establish MPA's. The courts have decided that as a public agency, their meetings and data must be public.
The following press release covers some of the latest information associated with this mess. I urge everyone to read the following update from Partnership For Sustainable Oceans. Please visit their site for more information and make a donation. While this is a California issue today I am sure the anti-fishing groups are watching this very closely. This could become a fight for all coastal states. Please visit the Ocean Access Protection Fund.
Closing Waters to Sportfishing in Southern California Denies Public’s Right to Access Public Waters
Sacramento, CA – December 15, 2010 – Despite ongoing legal concerns, the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) voted 3-2 to approve a wide-ranging array of marine protected areas (MPAs), essentially no-fishing zones, along the southern California coast. In its latest effort to implement the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), the commission’s vote indefinitely closes approximately 12 percent of southern California’s ocean to recreational fishing – including many of the state’s best recreational fishing areas.
“The MLPA attempts to resolve a fisheries ‘crisis’ that simply does not exist. As a result of decades of successful traditional fisheries management, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, there is not one marine fish stock currently experiencing overfishing in California’s waters,” said Gordon Robertson, Vice President of the American Sportfishing Association, a PSO member. “Simply put: fisheries management in California is working and the MPAs are not necessary.”
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