Just got out of an MLPA SIG meeting (Statewide Interest Group). As Ken had noted in prior messages, the process for the North Central Coast produced a -preferred- proposal that will be forwarded, along with the other 3 proposals, to the Fish & Game Commission (FGC) who will then evaluate each and make a final approval. This may take the next 5 - 6 months, after which FGC may enact this regions MPAs as part of fishing regulations.
This month's SIG meeting covered two main topics: a) the review of the NCC Preferred Proposal, and b) announcement of MLPA South Coast beginnings which will include informational outreach programs targeted at the public.
Most of the time spent was taking comments from SIG members over the preferred proposal. Most SIG members were patting the MLPA and state resources board for doing a good job. I had to comment that the preferred proposal appears to adopt a fishing compromise from Bodega and south, but it pretty much closes a lot of shoreline, productive shoreline from Bodega and north. Especially contentious, I said was Salt Point and north where SMRs line the coast and consumptive Abalone divers were pretty much put out. The response was that Salt Point SMP allows for finfish and abalone. But I just kept my mouth shut not wanting to blow up the fact that north of Salt Point, actually the southern part of Stewarts Point, just south of the Sea Ranch was where the action was. But that was probably moot since they must of have known about it and wanted to basically shut it down, thus making the total Stewart's point and Salt Point MPAs a contiguous section and extending Stewart's Point MPA north another 0.7 miles just to really make sure there's no fishing period in the productive area north of Salt Point MPA.
On the one note, it's not over. The state resources board said that FGC still needs to finalize a plan and they could put in special closures, especially where MPAs cut across beaches, or conflict with a natural geographical boundary. The enviro/conservationist org gal commented that they did appreciate the open door to continue the fight. I noted that in a lot of ways, the voting and decision making process created a roller coaster ride for all the parties and perhaps it would have been better to have SAT come up with 4 proposals early on and allow stakeholders to work out the plans. Some of the state resources board folks took this as "rubberstamping." I argued that this was laying everyone's chips on the table. My intent was to clearly provide more time to debate each location, as was done with BRTF primarily over a two day meeting period which Ken attended. While that seems like a long 2 days, it's relatively short compared to the 18 month cycle for the entire process. Not sure why any of the members would think putting our chips on the table to let debate occur longer on each section would be any worse. It's the lightning round and meetings where decisions are made at 11:15pm that are perhaps done unfairly and without all the facts.
The process isn't done yet, although there is no plan to have the SIG meet again except to get comments on the process in a couple of months. I figured it as a polite way to saying that the door is still open to lobbying. But that's primary for the well funded orgs with millions in their coffers and apartments in Sacto across from the gov't buildings. But for the time being, there will be no more SIG calls on the NCC. But we plan to stay tuned for FGC meeting announcements since that's the main approval body. I would hope DFG does take some initiative to weigh in on the NCC proposal(s) and make some motion to bless one of them or one of their own. And to do this early enough to allow the folks involved to participate.
I hear that some RFA folks and locals from Fort Bragg and south are teaming up to take some action to keep fishing open. They're trying to organize some action to the closures. Ken may have some contact numbers of NoyoJim may post some notes on that. I've included a partial table of MPAs and map excerpt. Note that the map is rotated slightly so that lat/long. lines are NOT Cartesian up/down and sideways. Latitude lines actually curve down just a little. Notice how a lot was adopted up north from the enviro/conservationist plan.
|Point Arena SMR/SMCA||Include from Proposal 1-3||SMR is no take, SMCA allows salmon only (Proposal 1-3 regulations)|
|Sea Lion Cove SMCA||Include from Proposal 4||SMCA allows everything except, invertebrates and algae (Proposal 4 regulations)|
|Saunders Reef SMCA||Include from Proposal 1-3 and Proposal 4 |
Include DPR boundary change (move northern boundary south 0.1 mi so as not to split Schooner Gulch Beach)
| SMCA allows urchin and salmon.(Proposal 4 regulations) |
|Del Mar SMR||Include from Proposal 4||SMR is no take (Proposal 4 regulations)|
|Stewarts Point SMR||Include from Proposal 4|
Include DPR boundary change (move southern boundary north 0.7 mile)
| SMR is no take (Proposal 4 regulations)|
|Salt Point SMP||Include from Proposal 4|
Include DPR boundary change (move northern boundary north 0.7 mile)
|SMP allows abalone and finfish (Proposal 4 regulations)|
|Gerstle Cove SMR||Consensus design for boundaries (same in NCCRSG proposals 1-3, 2-XA, and 4)||SMR is no take (same in Proposals 1-3, 2-XA, and 4)|
|Russian River SMR/SMCA/td>||Consensus design for boundaries (same in NCCRSG proposals 1-3, 2-XA, and 4)||SMR is no take, SMCA allows crab and surf smelt (Proposal 1-3 regulations)|
|Bodega Head SMR/SMCA||Include from 2-XA||SMR is no take, SMCA allows pelagic finfish, squid, crab (Proposal 2-XA regulations)|