I respect my critics’ right to disagree. However it seems that my core message was missed by a few readers. With regards to the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), it is critical that a permanent state of conflict be avoided at all costs. This will allow us to work as a unified ocean community to tackle real ocean pollution issues. The MPA folks need to be much more thoughtful about where to place the coastal MPA’s and be certain that they have taken every measure to mitigate the socio-economic impacts, preserve freedom and the culture of fishing. So far the coastal MPAs are placed in areas where they create the most harm possible to the fishing community.
The MPA process has been heavily influenced my special interest (some would call it corrupt) and much of the existing science refutes the efficacy of the existing MPAs. The MPAs are preservation for preservation’s sake and are not a fisheries management tool. They exist only to create jobs for the throngs of unemployed marine scientists and to establish legacy and ample grant money for aquarium and university heads.
Fish and game wardens are mostly against the MPAs as they are unfunded and un-enforceable, hence create a chasm of hatred between the wardens and the people that they serve. There are even noises from the MPA crowd about abolishing the California Department of Fish and Game and replacing them with private security firms who are willing to do the heavy handed enforcement.
The MPAs can easily be moved a few miles in one direction or the other or even cut in half. Such efforts will turn millions of angry anglers and divers into hard core supporters of the effort and create a much needed sense of harmony in the ocean community.
Long live a free ocean!—Chris Goldblatt