Sacramento, CA -- June 29, 2010 - In response to requests made by the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO), United Anglers of Southern California (UASC) and the city of Redondo Beach, the California Fish and Game Commission has agreed to schedule one scoping meeting for the South Coast phase of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) at a time, date and place to be announced. The decision was announced during the June 23-24, Commission meeting held in Folsom, California.
Scoping meetings provide the public, stakeholder organizations, governmental agencies and other interested parties the chance to weigh in on issues related to the potential environmental effects of marine protected area proposals being considered by the Commission.
The PSO, UASC, and the city of Redondo Beach each submitted letters requesting scoping meetings after learning that the Fish and Game Commission initially intended to bypass the scoping meeting process for the South Coast Region.
"While we're pleased that the Commission has acknowledged the need for the scoping meeting process in the South Coast, a single meeting for the region is not nearly adequate for such an important issue," commented Steven Fukuto, president of UASC and a PSO member. "This is yet another example of the MLPA process being rushed to implementation without buy-in and input from the very people it will impact."
"Multiple scoping meetings were held for both the Central and North Central Coasts, and I see no reason why the South Coast should receive less," said Paul Lebowitz, director of the Kayak Fishing Association of California and PSO member. "Giving South Coast residents only one opportunity to voice their concerns regarding the MPAs about to be imposed on them is not enough. Given the complexity, magnitude and scope of what is being proposed, the decisions made now will have consequences for generations."
"Anglers need to make their voices heard and tell the Commission that they demand to be treated fairly in the South Coast," said Fukuto. "I call upon anglers throughout Southern California to go to www.KeepAmericaFishing.org and send an e-mail to the Commission urging them to hold a series of scoping meetings in the South Coast. One is just not enough."
Lebowitz concluded, "It is incumbent upon the commission to correct this oversight by scheduling a series of scoping meetings to help facilitate the most informed and enlightened MLPA outcome possible. The recreational angling community in Southern California deserves no less."