Showing all articles with tag: regional stakeholder group.
The Marine Life Protection Act’s community-driven approach is bearing fruit in the North Coast, where local stakeholders have agreed to a single unified proposal for a network of marine protected areas that will stretch from Point Arena to the border with Oregon.
After a rough start, the 32-member Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG)—which includes harbormasters, surfers, sport and commercial fishermen, seaweed harvesters, tribal and business leaders and conservation representatives—has found common ground. The group agreed to protect key habitat areas like Cape Mendocino, Vizcaino, Pyramid Point, Reading Rock and South Humboldt Bay. There was also unanimous support for ensuring that traditional non-commercial tribal uses can continue. All protected areas were designed to avoid harbors to ensure safe access to local fishing grounds.
The stakeholders have been working since February to develop a marine protected area plan that would balance ecological and economic concerns. After over 300 hours of meetings, in addition to 20 public workshops and open houses held throughout the North Coast from Casper to Smith River, the stakeholders settled on this landmark unified plan, the first of its kind in the Marine Life Protection Act process.
While the total area protected under the plan is less than in other parts of the state (the proposal calls for 13 percent of coastal waters to be protected, versus 16 to 20 percent found in other regions, conservationists and fishing groups alike were proud of their achievement.
"Everyone talked about a unified community proposal at the beginning of the MLPA process, but I wasn't expecting to pull it off. Sure enough though, everyone came together and we did it. It's a great accomplishment” said Adam Wagschal, Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreational and Conservation District Conservation Director.
“The important thing is that we have a unified plan that blends conservation and consideration of the close connection most of us have with harvesting sea life—one our local communities can work together on, for the benefit of the entire region," said Bill Lemos, consultant to NRDC.
After several months of public outreach and education, the north coast Regional Stakeholder Group process--where local leaders representing a variety of industries and interests will work together to map out a network of marine protected areas that will extend from Point Arena to Oregin--is ready to begin.
The north coast Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG) includes members of the conservation, fishing, business, tribal, science, and education communities. Many of them worked together in the Tri-County Working Group to find common ground ahead of the RSG process.
The first north coast RSG meeting will be held at the Red Lion Hotel in Eureka on February 8 and 9. Click here for information about all upcoming MLPA meetings on the north coast.
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.
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.
This month, the divers, anglers, conservationists, and business owners on the south coast regional stakeholder group are putting the finishing touches on ocean protection plans for Southern California. On September 9 and 10, they will meet in Los Angeles to hear public comments and finalize draft proposals for a network of marine protected areas that will stretch from Santa Barbara to the border with Mexico.
Stakeholders have been divided into three groups, representing fishing interests, conservationists, and a middle ground group representing a cross-section of the southern California community. The middle ground group has been asked to find common ground among different ocean users, and develop a compromise solution everyone can live with.
Each group will propose a network of marine protected areas designed to preserve sea life and habitats while leaving the vast majority of coastal waters open for fishing. The new protected areas are like underwater parks--they allow plants and animals to thrive while providing great recreation and study opportunities for people.
To get involved, become a fan of the ocean on Facebook (www.facebook.com/calocean), or send an email to MLPAComments@resources.ca.gov supporting protection for your favorite dive or surf spot.
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