Showing all articles published in October 2011.
This month, we are thankful for the great strides being made in marine protected area creation, research, and education in California. Read on for the latest news:
Court upholds northern California marine protected areas
The big (and really good!) news this month was a Superior Court decision that upheld California’s authority to create underwater parks along northern California’s coast under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). This ruling is a win for the economy, environment and the millions of visitors who flock to our shores every year. It’s also good news for the South Coast, where a series of marine protected areas are slated to go into effect on January 1. California worked hard to include divers, surfers, fishermen, business leaders and other groups in the planning process, and the court’s ruling validates the state’s community-driven approach.
Getting the word out in Southern California
With the eagerly awaited opening day for southern California’s new underwater parks just weeks away, Surfrider and Reef Check are teaming up on a series of public forums designed to raise awareness about the protected areas, and answer any questions people might have. They are hosting events in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. To find one near you, check out this flyer.
A different kind of lobster hunt
Monitoring the plants and animals that live in and around California’s new underwater parks will provide a detailed picture of the current state of our ocean so we can track changes over time and make even better decisions going forward. Gathering this information requires an all-hands on deck effort, which is why innovative partnerships such as the one taking place between lobster fishermen, state wildlife regulators and scientists in San Diego are so important. This collaborative study will establish a baseline for California spiny lobster populations. And scientists need your help! Anyone who catches a tagged lobster is encouraged to document the catch at taggedlobster.com.
“Thank You Ocean” says “thank you MPAs”
California’s Thank You Ocean Campaign, a nonprofit partnership supported by the State of California, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the Ocean Communicators Alliance, has unveiled a new page dedicated to MPAs (click here for the Spanish version). In addition to lots of great info on the MLPA and the iconic waters being protected, you can find a series of podcasts, including this recent story that explains that importance of adaptive management.
“Much work remains to build long-term trust between California and the many tribes of this state. But an important page has been turned.” – Hawk Rosales, InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council
In all the years of planning, meetings and compromises that have gone into making the Marine Life Protection Act a success, the stakeholder partnership taking place in the North Coast has to be the most impressive. They did, after all, come up with the only unanimous proposal for network of Marine Protected Areas for the region (the North Coast network is expected to be finalized next year).
But there was a hitch in the plan. Traditional tribal harvest wasn’t accounted for in the MLPA, and the new protections for the North Coast overlapped with the tribes’ historic harvesting sites. In an op-ed in today’s Sacramento Bee, Hawk Rosales of the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council describes the positive, constructive steps the tribes and the state have made in reaching agreement on a plan that preserves tribal rights while safeguarding California’s iconic coastal waters.
Despite historic injustices perpetrated by the state against native peoples, Rosales says “recent events offer hope that, at last, a new era is beginning.”
From the piece:
For the tribes, protection of the ocean and traditional cultural use of marine resources are inseparable ideas. Without careful stewardship, the ocean's gifts will steadily decline and may someday vanish. North Coast residents, including fishermen, harbor districts and conservation groups, stood in solidarity with the tribes.
Rosales praises state officials, including Resources Secretary John Laird and members and staff of the MLPA Initiative, for carefully considering tribal concerns. This story is a testament to the public, inclusive nature of the MLPA: coming together to make ocean management decisions that protect marine life while being respectful of the needs of all ocean users.
With the eagerly awaited opening day for southern California's ocean parks just weeks away--the new system of marine protected areas that will dot the coast from Santa Barbara to Imperial Beach will go into effect January 1--local groups are working to spread the word among ocean users. Surfrider and Reef Check are hosting a series of informational forums to raise awareness and answer questions about the Marine Life Protection Act and the plans for southern California. They will hold events in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego in November. For date and location information, check out this flyer.
A California Superior Court ruled today to uphold the state’s landmark ocean conservation law, the Marine Life Protection Act. The judge ruled in favor of the California Fish and Game Commission, which created 22 marine protected areas from San Mateo to Mendocino County in 2010.
Today’s ruling denied Coastside Fishing Club’s petition to set aside 150 square miles of marine protected areas and upholds the state’s authority to safeguard California’s ocean habitat and wildlife through the adoption and implementation of new protected areas.
The Marine Life Protection Act was passed in 1999 and calls for a statewide network of marine protected areas, which have been proven throughout the world to improve the health of the ocean, restore sea life and habitat, and boost local fishing economies.
“This victory means that millions of visitors to northern California can continue to enjoy the new underwater parks that dot this coastline like a string of pearls,” said Karen Garrison, Co-Director of NRDC’s ocean program. “It’s good news for ocean life, and good for the region’s
recreation and tourism businesses.”
Despite a broad, inclusive process that incorporated input from diverse stakeholders who invested tens of thousands of hours into designing 150 square miles of marine protected areas, a challenge to
these important ocean safeguards was brought by Petitioners Coastside Fishing Club, United Anglers of Southern California and Bob Fletcher.
“This is a huge win for places like Point Reyes Headlands, the Farallon Islands and Montara
Marine Reserve, which can now continue to thrive,” said Samantha Murray of Ocean Conservancy. “The protections offered by California’s science-based marine protected area network will boost the health of the entire coastline, so today’s decision is not only legally correct, but also a critical win for the future of our ocean.”
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