CalOceans News

Showing all articles published in September 2009.


South coast MPA plans available for public review

September 25th, 2009

The final three stakeholder plans for a south coast marine protected area network are now online.

After nearly a year of study and negotiations, the regional stakeholder group was divided into three teams: one focused on conservation, one on fishing, and a third “middle ground” team was charged with creating a compromise plan with cross-interest support.

The conservation group focused on quality over quantity, designing an efficient network that will deliver quick and substantial benefits with fewer protected areas. Their plan would protect ecological hot spots like Naples Reef, Point Dume, the western half of Rocky Point and the southern half of La Jolla’s reef while leaving nearly 90 percent of coastal waters open for fishing.

The middle ground plan tries to balance the needs of different user groups, but still includes some protection for key sites like Point Dume, Naples Reef and La Jolla.

The fishing group’s proposal would provide the least conservation benefits, since it was designed to leave the best habitat open for consumptive use. Their plan fails to provide any protections at iconic places like La Jolla, the Gaviota Coast and south Laguna.

The three plans each protect similar percentages of the ocean (16% total in marine protected areas, and about 12% in fully protected marine reserves). The real difference is the quality and diversity of habitat. Protecting better quality habitat will produce bigger gains in ecosystem health and productivity.


Healthy oceans are a common goal

September 9th, 2009

Fisherman, scientist, and retired Channel Islands National Park manager Gary Davis knows a fair bit about southern California's ocean. He started his career on the San Diego sport boats in the 1950's. Since that time, he's seen the big fish dwindling, until anglers are now fishing for the small Pacific mackerel they used to use as bait.

Davis has watched fishermen and conservationists at odds over plans to protect the ocean, and is urging them, and all southern California residents, to stop fighting over scraps and start focusing on the big picture. Healthy oceans benefit everyone.

Davis believes California needs an ocean nest egg--a little something set aside to ensure a prosperous, and sustainable future. A strong, science-based network of marine protected areas is an integral part of the solution.


South coast MPA proposals finalized this week

September 8th, 2009

South coast stakeholders are meeting today and tomorrow in Los Angeles to put the finishing touches on three alternative plans to protect coastal waters between Point Conception and the border with Mexico. The divers, anglers, surfers, business owners, and conservationists on the Regional Stakeholder Group have been divided into three teams--one represents primarily fishing interests, one is focused on conservation, and the third is a "middle ground" room that will work to find a compromise solution with cross-interest support.

As the marine protected area maps take shape, stakeholders are especially focused on key areas like Naples Reef in Santa Barbara and La Jolla in San Diego that provide great recreation, study, and conservation opportunities.

Members of the public are invited to attend the September 10 meeting and provide comments on the ocean protection plans under development. One community group, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commision, has weighed in with an official resolution of support for the creation of marine protected areas offshore from Point Dume and Palos Verdes Peninsula.