Chumash Ask to be Excluded from Marine Protected Areas

Early next year when the state closes sections of the Santa Barbara County coast to fishing as Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs, there still might be a small number of people out there hunting for sea life, as the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians is petitioning this week before the state Fish and Game Commission to be exempted from the closures. Like at least one other tribe in Northern California, the federally recognized Chumash people are requesting that they be allowed to continue “cultural and ceremonial fishing and gathering” in the MPAs, particularly those off of Santa Rosa Island, the Goleta Slough, and Refugio State Beach, three areas slated for closure. The request was scheduled for Thursday, so no decision had been made by press time.

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