Foreign Fishing Corporations File Lawsuit to Stop California Ocean Protection Initiative (MLPA)

Posted on 08 February 2011

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By Richard Charter
Defenders of Wildlife

The Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO), a front group for foreign fishing equipment interests, has filed a lawsuit to stop the implementation of California's landmark effort to protect its oceans.

It is sad and unfortunate that foreign corporations now are funding a meritless lawsuit to kill California's bipartisan ocean protection plan that has been supported by two Governors, the Legislature, the Fish&Game Commission, business leaders, and tens of thousands of Californians. Having lost the battle of public opinion and failing to accept the compromise plans put together in literally hundreds of open meetings, these foreign corporations that profit from depleting our marine resources want to try to belatedly change the rules of the game through the courts.

After literally hundreds of meetings of anglers, business leaders, ocean protection advocates, and citizens, the Fish&Game Commission on December 15th passed a compromise plan to protect California's waters. The PSO suit seeks to undo the actions of the two-year public planning process. The Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO) is an "Astroturf" organization largely funded by foreign fishing gear equipment manufacturers (see for more details).

The plan creates 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.

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, of 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, greater than 12,000 written public comments were submitted through the regulatory and environmental review processes to help inform recommendations on south coast region MPAs.

Together with other local, state, and federal agencies, aquaria, citizens organizations, and businesses,  California Department of Fish and Game will now focus on 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. On February 2, the Commission received 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 and planning is under way to develop the planning 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.


Richard Charter is a Senior Policy Advisor for Marine Programs at Defenders of Wildlife.

Durn furriners.

The MLPA lawsuit is funded by a grass roots movement of west coast recreational fishermen, native americans and small independant fishermen trying to protect their individual rights to sustainably harvest fish and stop the gradual erosion of their fishing rights by trawler corporations and their eco non-profit cronies.

Richard your an idiot, these mlpa's are a sham. How do they stop the pollution. Oh yeah that's what is screwing up the ocean, you big idiot. How does the protected area keep out the pollution. Ask Tony is man off laguna beach how the Alison creek toliet is and when will she fix the real problem instead of acting like she and all the rest off the environmentalists know what they are doing. This is all a corporate grab. Thanks mrs Isman and the rest off the city counsel of laguna beach.

Why are you all getting so aggressive. It is so unnecessary. It is not like you lost your life savings gambling online or anything like that.