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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Who:    California Fish and Game Commission
What:   News release (see below) regarding the adopted marine protected area regulations for the
            MLPA South Coast Study Region (Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the
            California-Mexico border in San Diego County) and certified final environmental impact
            report (EIR, prepared under the California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA) for proposed
            south coast marine protected areas
When:   Regulations are expected to go into effect in 2011; the final EIR is available now
Where:  A message will be sent to this list when the south coast marine protected area regulations have
            been approved by the Office of Administrative Law; the final EIR is available at

California Department of Fish and Game News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 15, 2010
Adrianna Shea, Fish and Game Commission, (916) 508-5262
Jordan Traverso, DFG Communications, (916) 654-9937
California Fish and Game Commission Gives Final Approval for South Coast Marine Protected Areas
The California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) has adopted regulations to create a new suite of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Southern California. At a Commission meeting in Santa Barbara today, the regulations were adopted as part of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), which requires California to reexamine and redesign its system of MPAs with the goals to, among other things, increase the effectiveness of MPAs in protecting the states marine life and habitats, marine ecosystems and marine natural heritage.
Informed by recommendations generated through a two-year public planning process, the regulations will create 36 new MPAs encompassing approximately 187 square miles (8 percent) of state waters in the study region. Approximately 116 square miles (4.9 percent) have been designated as no-take state marine reserves (82.5 square miles/3.5 percent) and no-take state marine conservation areas (33.5 square miles/1.4 percent), with the remainder designated as state marine conservation areas with different take allowances and varying levels of protection. In addition to approving the MPA regulations, the Commission also certified the environmental impact report prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act.
The public planning process for the south coast region, from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the California border with Mexico, began in July 2008 and included more than 50 days of meetings with formal public comment held for a 64-member Regional Stakeholder Group, a Science Advisory Team and a Blue Ribbon Task Force appointed by the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. In addition, more than 12,000 written public comments were submitted through the regulatory and environmental review processes to help inform recommendations on south coast region MPAs.
The California Department of Fish and Game, the lead agency charged with managing the states marine resources, will be responsible for implementing the MLPA program which will include enforcement, education, monitoring and research activities. The south coast MPA regulations are anticipated to go into effect in mid-2011 after appropriate filings with the Office of Administrative Law and the Secretary of State.
The south coast study region is the third of five study regions to complete the planning process under the MLPA. Once implemented, the south coast MPAs will join the MPAs currently in place from the central and north-central coast study regions to form a network ranging approximately 875 miles from the California border with Mexico to Alder Creek near Point Arena in Mendocino County. The Commission will receive recommendations for the north coast study region from the north coast blue ribbon task force in February which will mark the start of the formal regulatory process. Planning is under way to develop the process for San Francisco Bay, the fifth and final study region.
The existing MPAs in the northern Channel Islands, which encompass an additional 168 square miles and 7 percent of state waters in the study region, were not modified as part of this decision.
A map of the decisions made today can be viewed at

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Critical Vote Dec 15-16

The Situation
During its upcoming meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission could vote to enclose approximately 15 percent of southern California’s coastal waters within marine protected areas (MPAs), including many of the most popular fishing spots, under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process. This critical vote comes at a time when concerns about the MLPA process continue to escalate. A recent court ruling validates long-held concerns about the secretive ways in which the groups implementing the MLPA have been making decisions. The meeting is being held December 15-16, in Santa Barbara.

The MLPA process has been plagued by numerous issues which have not been resolved, including:

  • The lack of a transparent and open decision making process
  • Inadequate resources for enforcement and biological monitoring
  • A process that side-steps a science-based fisheries management approach that clearly identifies the threats to California’s marine environment

Touted as “ecosystem protection,” the MLPA only targets recreational fishing and its significant economic contributions to California’s economy all the while ignoring the litany of significant threats to California’s oceans, such as sewage outfalls and storm water runoff, agricultural chemicals and other pollutants, ocean acidification, ocean side development and once-through cooling.

The Department of Fish and Game estimates that the MPA regulations will cost California’s taxpayers $40 million annually for enforcement and biological monitoring – resources that the state simply does not have. With a current deficit of $26 billion, California cannot afford to adopt costly measures that will only work to limit recreational fishing access which provides employment for 20,000 Californians.

How You Can Help
Given the numerous serious concerns surrounding the process, please send a message to the California Fish and Game Commission urging them to suspend the South Coast MLPA implementation.

Visit for more information on the MLPA.

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