What’s Up With The MLPA??

Tim KlassenMarine Protected Areas

From the HASA 2010 Fall Newsletter

By now most of you know that the MLPA is a state law that creates a series of “Marine Reserves” that would allow no take or limited take of marine resources like fish and abalone along the California coast. The way that the law has been implemented has been very controversial. The state was divided into five regions. Each region would be implemented individually. The central coast and north central coast have been completed. The south coast mapping has been completed and is undergoing CEQA analysis before being sent to the Fish and Game Commission for final approval. The San Francisco Bay has not begun. The North Coast (us) is nearly complete and will go before a Blue Ribbon Task Force on October 25th and 26th. The Blue Ribbon Task Force will decide what closure options to forward to the Fish and Game Commission for final approval. While there was plenty of opportunity for fishermen to be involved in the process, playing by the rules did not seem to help much. As the other regions were completed, fishermen felt manipulated and largely ignored. The process is privately funded and the Governor seems to want to make this a “legacy” issue. While the law was written to “get it done right” it seems to be more “get it done now”. So what could be done to get better results for fishermen than the other regions experienced?

First, there were rallies to draw attention to the issue. Many HASA members attended rallies at the Red Lion Inn and later at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center. Several HASA members were appointed to the Regional Stakeholders Group (RSG) as well as a HASA member on the Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF). We have also been working with groups and organizations from other areas. There have been a couple of lawsuits filed. One by the Coastside Fishing Club that was dis-missed and one by Robert Fletcher that is ongoing at this time. A Sacramento judge recently found that the Blue Ribbon Task Force and the Master Plan Team are subject to the California public meeting laws. To learn more about their lawsuit or donate to the legal fund go to OCEANACCESSPROTECTIONFUND.ORG. Also, letter, emails or phone calls to your elected representatives are very important. They won‟t know how you feel unless you tell them.

On October 25th at 3 pm at the River Lodge in Fortuna there will be an opportunity for public comment to the Blue Ribbon Task Force. The North Coast Regional Stakeholder group has come up with a single proposal, unlike other regions where different groups came up with multiple proposals to send to the BRTF. The BRTF then mixed and matched the different proposals to come up with one of their own. It is hoped that a single proposal will not give them any opportunity to combine competing proposals. Short of legal or legislative action that dramatically alters the MLPA; the single proposal is our best hope of achieving an outcome that we all can live with.

There will be another issue at the River Lodge meeting and that is “special closures”. Special closures will restrict ANY access within 300 feet of certain rocks. These include; Southwest Seal Rock, Castle Rock, False Klamath Rock, Sugarloaf, Steamboat Rock, Rockport Rock and Vizcaino Rock. You will not be able to take a kayak, boat or even swim within 100 yards of these rocks.

Please come to the meetings at the River Lodge and tell the MLPA what you think.

MLPA round3_map