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Posted on December 7 at 9:41 a.m.
This piece by the founder of Patagonia eloquently captures the need for long-term vision when it comes to protecting our natural resources. Setting aside special places in the ocean is not about destroying fishing and the businesses that depend on it; it is about looking forward and making sure that those past times and industries can continue to thrive and prosper for years to come. Additionally, as Yvon said, creating marine protected areas is also about preserving our natural heritage and conserving the marine life and habitats that belong to ALL of us, for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.
On December 15th, we will look to the Fish and Game Commission to exercise leadership and vision to ensure that the coastline of southern California remains healthy and vibrant for future generations. Let's hope they do the right thing for the ocean and for all Californians.
On Set Gold Standard for Ocean Health Care
Posted on December 6 at 9:20 a.m.
The hysteria and misinformation being expressed by the comments above is truly unfortunate. However, the commenter did make one correct statement: MPAs are not a fisheries management tool. MPAs are an ECOSYSTEM management tool focused on protecting all of the components of the ocean ecosystem from urchin, lobster, and sheephead to kelp forests, submarine canyons and rocky reefs. The goal is to safeguard all of the pieces of the system, not just one species at a time, as we are doing now with current fisheries management. Fisheries management has a role in protecting our marine resources; however, it is riddled with uncertainty and can lead to significant population crashes (as we saw with our groundfish fishery 10 years ago).
And it must be said that the "preferred alternative" being considered by the Fish and Game Commission on December 15th does not "take away" 75% of the best spots along the South Coast. In fact, of the 11% of the coastline protected in no-take marine reserves, only 11% of all shallow rocky reef and 9% all of kelp forest habitat in the entire South Coast is captured for protection. In other words, approximately 90% of the shallow reefs and kelp habitat in southern California remains open to fishing under the preferred plan.
It's time for us to shift our focus of ocean management from short-term benefits to long-term sustainability. The ocean is a public resource and belongs to all of us. For those of you that want to see fish AND fishing continue into the future, please come to the meeting on December 15 and speak out in support of MPAs in southern California.
On Local Marine Protected Areas May Increase
Posted on July 16 at 4:23 p.m.
I'm shocked that the Independent gave Mr. Goldblatt yet ANOTHER opportunity to spread misinformation about marine protected areas and the process to create them in California. The MPAs currently proposed for the south coast were carefully developed by a diverse group of stakeholders that included recreational and commercial fishermen, seafood processors, divers, kayakers, conservationists, and tribal and governmental representatives. These members of the public worked tirelessly to create a network of MPAs that would provide ecological benefits to the ocean while balancing other uses in the sea.
Moving the boundaries a few miles in one direction or another may seem like an easy fix but it's not. The location of each MPA was established based on a series of negotiations and compromises among ocean stakeholders (who were also trying balance their interests with the requirement to meet scientific guidelines.) And the fact of the matter is that all places in the ocean are not created equal. Some areas are more productive, with a greater diversity of habitats and higher quality habitats. Some places have unique features like submarine canyons or headlands where upwelling creates a flood of deep sea nutrients that provide food for species from fish to gray whales. Protecting some of these places is important to ensure that our ocean is healthy and sustainable for future generations. All MPAs are not created equal.
Mr. Goldblatt is correct about one thing. MPAs are not a fisheries management tool. They are an ecosystem management tool. MPAs don't target one species at a time for protection. They holistically protect all the species and the habitats they rely on so that we have some insurance against the uncertainty associated with our current fisheries management. But MPAs will BENEFIT fisheries as large fish find refuge, grow larger, and produce more babies that will disperse out of MPAs into areas that are fished.
I'd like to point out that there are many favorite fishing spots that have not been included in MPAs; spots that if protected, would really provide improvements for our marine ecosystems- places like Rocky Point on Palos Verdes, Point Loma in San Diego, and Carpinteria Reef in Santa Barbara County.
Let us be clear. The culture of fishing cannot continue if there are no fish. If we choose not to recognize what is happening in our oceans and fail to take responsibility to do something about it, we will never have a unified ocean community.
By the way, not all fishermen believe that MPAs are a bad idea:
On Ocean Friendships Possible
Posted on June 22 at 10:09 a.m.
Worm and Hillborn's paper specifically states that our oceans need a combination of fisheries management and marine protected areas to ensure healthy ecosystems and sustainable fisheries. Because we know so little about the populations of many of the fish being caught in southern California, we must take a precautionary approach and set aside some productive and diverse places as insurance against our uncertainty. We must have a long-term vision for using and conserving our marine resources. Protecting a few places along the coastline, like Naples Reef, while leaving the majority of fishing spots open in Santa Barbara County, seems to be an attempt to balance the long-term vision with the short-term needs of the fishing community. I only wish that there was MORE protection proposed for our beautiful coastline.
On Preservation Paddle Out For Naples Reef