Good News!


Well-known member
Oct 2, 2001
Reaction score
By Ed Zieralski
October 5, 2001
Yesterday's state Fish and Game Commission meeting at Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute clearly was the first round of the newest battle between preservation-minded environmentalists and fishermen.
And this time, the state Fish and Game Commission sided with fishermen.
The Commission was handed a list of seven options it could pick from to create marine-protected areas around the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Santa Barbara.
Preservationists have been pushing for protection of from 30 to 50 percent of the existing Channel Islands sanctuary. Fishermen -- both commercial and sport -- lobbied for as little as 12 percent.
The Commission, taking a major step and perhaps sending a message to environmentalists about future dealings with marine-protected areas, will pick between plans calling for between 12 percent and 29 percent for protected marine reserves at the Channel Islands. It will be discussed again at the Commission's meeting Dec. 6-7 at Long Beach, and there will be more public comment before it's adopted at the Commission's meeting in February.
Bob Fletcher, president of the Sportfishing Association of California, said the decision was "about what I expected." But Craig Helms of the Ocean Conservancy at the Channel Islands wanted more.
"The fact that the Commission went below 30 percent without even seeing the scientific document is shortsighted," Helms said.
Tom Raftican, executive director of the United Anglers of Southern California, disagreed.
"That's the best we could get out of it today," Raftican said.
Raftican produced the day's most dramatic moment by sending sport anglers carrying a dozen or so piles of petitions to the Commission's table as he testified. Raftican said the petitions contained more than 40,000 signatures from California anglers who oppose marine-protected areas at the Channel Islands and the others proposed along the coast by the Marine Life Management Act.
Raftican also told the Commission that the Pacific Fishery Management Council's respected science team last week was bothered by the sanctuary science panel's policy call for a larger percentage of closures, when it instead should have concentrated on scientific recommendations. Raftican served on the constituent-based marine reserves working group that was established to develop a recommendation and consensus on the extent of marine-protected areas. But that group, which consisted of a wide variety of ocean users and environmentalists, couldn't agree on the specific size and locations of the marine-protected reserves, despite 22 months of haggling.
"The specific thing was that they (science panel) made recommendations on fishery management and biological diversity, combined the two and then made a decision on how much percentage of the Channel Islands should be closed," Raftican said. "The consensus was this was a policy decision they made, not a scientific one."
The commissioners will see the Pacific Fishery Management Council's science team's report and review the Channel Islands' science panel's work early next month.
In other fishing-related matters, the Commission heard public comments Wednesday night on its options for a Nearshore Fishery Management Plan. The Marine Life Management Act of 1998 requires the Commission to adopt the Nearshore Fishery Management Plan by Jan. 1. But Commission president Michael Chrisman said the Commission may ask for 90 days more to get more input from the public.
AB 1673, which is awaiting the signature of Gov. Gray Davis, will allow for another year of public comment and research on the Marine Life Management Act, which gives greater management authority to the DFG and the Commission and emphasizes science-based management of the state's marine resources.
Top Bottom