|August 17, 2010
Partnership for Sustainable Oceans Supports Request to Delay North Coast Marine Life Protection Act Process
Sacramento, CA – August 17, 2010 – As concerns about the implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) escalate, Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) recently asked California Resources Secretary Lester Snow for a six-month delay in the MLPA's implementation in the North Coast. The Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO), which has actively and constructively participated in the MLPA process while representing California's recreational anglers and boaters, fully supports Assemblymember Chesbro's request to delay the process to allow more time to develop a plan that balances marine conservation with access for the public and traditional user groups.
"We are pleased to see Assemblymember Chesbro step forward and request a slowdown of the MLPA. It's also disheartening that we continue to see the same concerns voiced again and again over the way the MLPA is being implemented," said Steve Fukuto, president of United Anglers of Southern California, a PSO member. "From the outset, the MLPA has been plagued by rushed goals and deadlines before important questions are answered and necessary resources are available. Those of us in the South Coast are frustrated by the state's continued desire to railroad the MLPA process while our questions and concerns are ignored."
While the PSO is fully supportive of restoring California's marine fisheries, it has expressed concerns over the rushed nature by which the MLPA has been planned and implemented throughout California's Central Coast, North Central Coast, South Coast and, now, the North Coast. The PSO continues to question how the state plans to pay for the estimated $40-60 million a year to monitor and enforce the network of marine protected areas (MPAs) created under the MLPA, especially given the state's current fiscal crisis. In addition to these concerns, the North Coast phase of the MLPA has faced heightened opposition from tribal groups over the potential takeover of tribal gathering rights and traditional fishing grounds.
"As someone who has participated in the North Coast planning process and seen firsthand the challenges facing the stakeholders in coming to agreement, I applaud Assemblymember Chesbro for requesting the needed delay and urge Secretary Snow to grant the request," added Allen Sansano, Director of Fisheries Affairs for NorCal Kayak Anglers, a PSO member. "Without time to address the serious issues and conflicts facing the North Coast process, we will end up with a hurried MPA proposal that no one is happy with."
"We urge anglers in the North Coast and throughout the state who are concerned with the flawed nature in which the MLPA is being forced upon the public to step up and help us by donating to our legal effort to challenge this flawed process," said Fukuto. "We need all California anglers to donate what they can to protect their right to fish in the Ocean." The recently formed Ocean Access Protection Fund will enable contributors to donate online through its website, www.OceanAccessProtectionFund.org. The purpose of the Fund, which is operated by the nonprofit group United Anglers of Southern California, is to provide the financial support necessary to maintain legal challenges involving the MLPA as well as future threats to recreational access to ocean and coastal waters.
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