CalOceans News

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Ocean protections upheld

October 17th, 2011

A California Superior Court ruled today to uphold the state’s landmark ocean conservation law, the Marine Life Protection Act.   The judge ruled in favor of the California Fish and Game Commission, which created 22 marine protected areas from San Mateo to Mendocino County in 2010. 

Today’s ruling denied Coastside Fishing Club’s petition to set aside 150 square miles of marine protected areas and upholds the state’s authority to safeguard California’s ocean habitat and wildlife through the adoption and implementation of new protected areas.

The Marine Life Protection Act was passed in 1999 and calls for a statewide network of marine protected areas, which have been proven throughout the world to improve the health of the ocean, restore sea life and habitat, and boost local fishing economies.

“This victory means that millions of visitors to northern California can continue to enjoy the new underwater parks that dot this coastline like a string of pearls,” said Karen Garrison, Co-Director of NRDC’s ocean program. “It’s good news for ocean life, and good for the region’s
recreation and tourism businesses.” 

Despite a broad, inclusive process that incorporated input from diverse stakeholders who invested tens of thousands of hours into designing 150 square miles of marine protected areas, a challenge to
these important ocean safeguards was brought by Petitioners Coastside Fishing Club, United Anglers of Southern California and Bob Fletcher.  

“This is a huge win for places like Point Reyes Headlands, the Farallon Islands and Montara
Marine Reserve, which can now continue to thrive,” said Samantha Murray of Ocean Conservancy.  “The protections offered by California’s science-based marine protected area network will boost the health of the entire coastline, so today’s decision is not only legally correct, but also a critical win for the future of our ocean.”