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Friday, February 13, 2009

Help The Surfrider Foundation Get a Better Understanding of YOUR Community and Surrounding Marine Areas.

The Surfrider Foundation is currently working with a wide variety of individuals and organizations on the Marine Life Protection Act--or MLPA. The MLPA is a state law that requires establishing a "network" of marine protected areas along the California coastline. This law is currently being implemented in Southern California.

Much like our National Parks protect special places on land, these Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) offer heightened protection for marine life to thrive and people to enjoy. In short, MPAs protect special places for their "intrinsic value"--preserving ecological abundance for generations to come. MPAs around the globe have become popular attractions for people to enjoy nature's beauty and abundance.

Establishing MPAs can also help restore healthy fisheries. Studies show alarming declines in fish populations worldwide. Fishermen are now catching half of what they did in 1990 and the fish they do catch are 45 percent smaller. Some local fisheries may take 50-80 years to recover. MPAs allow marine life populations to increase and individual species to grow to full maturity--which increases the number of off-spring from protected areas. These larger populations may "spill over" the boundaries of MPAs and provide improved fishing in areas adjacent to MPAs.

The state of California adopted the MLPA in 1999 and created the opportunity for members of the public to participate in identifying special places worthy of heightened protection. Surfrider Foundation members represent a broad spectrum of people who enjoy time in the ocean surfers, fishers, divers, kayakers, sailors and others who just love the natural beauty of our coast and ocean.

Our collective knowledge from this experience can help design an effective network of MPAs. The Surfrider Foundation is gathering information and recommendations from local communities to help formulate a regional network of MPAs. Our goal is to balance our members' commitment to restoring and protecting our coast and ocean for generations, with our support of sustainable and accessible fishing opportunities.

Help establish successful Marine Protected Areas by completing this survey (all responses are anonymous) . To learn more about MLPA go to: www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa and http://www.caloceans.org/ Or email Stefanie at: Ssekich@surfrider.org

Anonymous Mrs. Scott said...

I just linked your webpage to my blog where I mention your Barefoot Beach project. Keep up the great work!

11:32 AM  
Blogger Rich Holland said...

I can only wonder why you fellow surfers would try to keep fishermen off the water. That's all the MPAs created under the Marine Life Protection Act do. The process has relied heavily on creating state marine reserves, which ban fishing. But you should know the full regulatory authority offered by a marine reserve. Here's the legal definition:

State Marine Reserve [36700(a) PRC]

A "state marine reserve," is a non-terrestrial marine or estuarine area that is designated so the managing agency may achieve one or more of the following:

1. protect or restore rare, threatened or endangered native plants, animals or habitats in marine areas;

2. protect or restore outstanding, representative or imperiled marine species, communities, habitats and ecosystems;

3. protect or restore diverse marine gene pools; or

4. contribute to the understanding and management of marine resources and ecosystems by providing the opportunity for scientific research in outstanding, representative or imperiled marine habitats or ecosystems.

Restrictions [36710(a) PRC]: it is unlawful to injure, damage, take or possess any living, geological or cultural marine resource, except under a permit or specific authorization from the managing agency for research, restoration or monitoring purposes. While, to the extent feasible, the area shall be open to the public for managed enjoyment and study, the area shall be maintained to the extent practicable in an undisturbed and unpolluted state. Therefore, access and use (such as walking, swimming, boating and diving) may be restricted to protect marine resources.

Allowable uses [36710(a) PRC]: research, restoration and monitoring may be permitted by the managing agency. Educational activities and other forms of non-consumptive human use may be permitted by the designating entity or managing agency in a manner consistent with the protection of all marine resources.

Note that if they specifically mention such activities as boating, swimming and diving, surfing could certainly be excluded, too. It's not part of the process now, but you make it legal for the state to throw you out of prime surf spots that all too often are adjacent to headlands and beach that support bird and mammal rookeries.

Just thought you should know the possibilities down the road. Fishermen have worked with the environmental community for what we were told was beneficial legislation, only to see it passed and watch groups like the NRDC go to court and use the new law to take away our opportunities.

Rich Holland
Western Outdoors

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Joe Russo said...

Mr Holland,

Thank you for pointing this out. As a surfer AND fisherman in Southern California waters for the past thirty or so years it concerns me that so much of our coastline may be shut down to fishing certainly, and to surfing very possibly.

To all at Surfrider Foundation:

I too interpret the wording in the description of a State Marine Reserve to open the possibility of NOBODY being allowed in the waters of such an area for ANY reason. If it specifically states 'swimming', then that can certainly be extrapolated to mean surfing.

This is, of course in addition to the obvious and massive concerns of both the commercial and recreational fishing and diving communities.

Please be careful how you side on this issue.


Joe Russo
San Diego, California

6:37 AM  

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