Tuesday, December 25, 2012

CA completes legislation for marine reserves along our entire CA coastline

And, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) opens public hearings to protect ocean habitat 30 miles further off Sonoma and Mendocino county coastlines.

San Francisco Chronicle/Los Angeles Times, 12/24/12,  "California wraps up undersea park network."

Live Garibaldi fish, that's me
Marine reserve life is better, fish may live longer
"Surviving budget cuts, mobs of angry fishermen, and death threats, California officials have completed the largest network of undersea parks in the continental United States - 848 square miles of protected waters that reach from the Oregon line to the Mexican border.

The final segment of marine reserves, along the state's North Coast, reflect an unusual consensus reached between American Indian tribes, conservation groups, and fishermen to preserve tribal traditions while protecting marine life from exploitation.  All told, the dozen-year effort has set aside 16 percent of state waters as marine reserves, including 9 percent that are off limits to fishing or gathering of any kind.

State officials got to work shortly after the Legislature passed the Marine Life Protection Act in 1999. It directed them to consider a statewide network of protected waters, modeled after a familiar strategy on land - setting up parks and refuges to conserve wildlife, said Michael Sutton, a California Fish and Game commissioner. ."It's not rocket science," Sutton said. "If you protect wildlife habitat and you don't kill too many, wildlife tends to do well. We've done that on land with the waterfowl population. Now, we've done it in the ocean for fish."  ....  Initially, these reserves were seen as "an insurance policy" against inadequate fisheries management that had allowed rockfish and other marine life populations to plunge to record lows, said Steve Gaines, dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara."  Read article.

Not so fast....
Related article - KPBS, 6/28/11, San Diego Marine protected areas considered.  * Picture from the article (courtesy of NOAA). 

Related  - What's next?   San Francisco Chronicle, 12/20/12, "US moves to protect ocean habitat." The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration moved Thursday to protect 2,093 square nautical miles of ocean habitat off the coast of Sonoma and Mendocino counties.  The decision, at the behest of President Obama and congressional representatives, sets in motion an 18- to 24-month public review process that, if approved, would more than double the area covered by the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries. The expansion would fulfill the long-held dream of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, to protect the entire coast extending some 30 miles out to sea, permanently prohibiting oil drilling and other environmentally damaging industrial uses."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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