I happen chanced on a Humboldt Fisherman’s Marketing Association meeting to hear their views on the “Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA).” Fishermen at the meeting were handing out shirts that said “Much Less Public Access” with a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger holding a fisherman upside down on the back. The Act will create Marine Protected Areas (MPA) on coastal areas that will be designated after “scientific” studies “to increase the coherence and effectiveness in protecting the state's marine life and habitats, marine ecosystems, and marine natural heritage.”
In a nutshell, MPA’s will be created in places that could curtail fishing or kelp harvesting in certain coastline areas. The big contention by the locals is the lack of true scientific data to determine where this might happen. Fishermen are being solicited to “cut their own noses off in spite of their faces” by helping in the process of designated potential places they will not be able to fish. One commercial fisherman said he had provided fishing data to be added to a database and when he checked it out later, they had no history of fish being caught in the area he had been working for 20 years! Local fishermen are also worried they will be out lobbied by Southern California populace interests in trying to protect their own fish baskets. Fishermen could take a 20% hit according to "Ecotrust" an organization collecting data.
One hope for the local Fishermen would be if the Initiative staff would push forward a “single plan” or a “unified” directive with all stakeholders involved, Fishermen, Environmentalists, Department of Fish and Games, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Fisheries, Native Americans and all other related interests.
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