|Partnership for Sustainable Oceans Calls for Equality
During Marine Life Protection Act Regulatory Process
Sacramento, CA – February 24, 2010 - On March 3, 2010, California's Fish and Game Commission (FGC) convenes in Ontario, Calif., to discuss the four Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) marine protected areas (MPA) proposals for the South Coast Region.
In its continuing efforts to represent and protect access for recreational anglers and boaters, the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO) is calling upon the Commission to put the MLPA process in Southern California back on "even footing," demanding that all proposals be given fair and equal consideration by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) as clearly stated during the December 9, 2009 commission meeting. During its February meeting in Sacramento, Calif., the FGC said it was possible that only the Integrated Preferred Alternative (IPA), developed by the Blue Ribbon Task Force, would have regulations proposed by the DFG, thus effectively ending consideration for Proposal 2 and the other RSG proposals.
At the December meeting, the FGC voted to direct the DFG to evaluate all four marine protected area (MPA) proposals – the Integrated Preferred Alternative (IPA) and Proposals 1, 2 and 3 from the Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG) – and include all as part of the formal regulatory process. FGC Executive Director John Carlson stated that, " .the Commission will ensure that these processes evaluate the IPA and accompanying alternatives presented by the Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) prior to the ultimate determination of the regulations for MPAs in the South Coast study region." All four proposals must have regulations proposed by the DFG in order for the FGC to select one of the four for its final designations, including Proposal 2, which is supported by the PSO.
Bob Fletcher, former Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Fish and Game and PSO member, commented "It is imperative to ensure equality and full transparency that the FGC follow the model established during the North Central Coast process here in the South Coast region. To do anything less would only be compounding the problems and suspicions of an already flawed process. If we hope to achieve the best possible end result, one that will truly balance economic impacts and the health and sustainability of our ocean, fish populations and precious habitat, then the DFG must include regulations and thoroughly analyze all four alternatives."
Fletcher further said, "To single out the IPA at this point in the deliberation process as a final decision is a hasty rush to judgment with consequences we would all regret. Should the DFG neglect its duty to follow the Commission agenda as noted on December 9, 2009, it would demonstrate blatant disregard for promises and commitments made to stakeholders and the general public for a fair and open process."
The PSO reaffirms its position to remain actively and constructively engaged in the MLPA process. The goal is to ensure that the eventual outcome is based upon the best available, unbiased science and sound public policy.
Recreational anglers and boaters are encouraged to attend the FGC scheduled for March 3, 2010 in Ontario, Calif. at 8:30 a.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel, 222 N. Vineyard Avenue.
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