Mix-up over Marine Life Protection Act

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This letter in response to your Jan. 5 article, “Malibu fishermen mixed over Marine Life Protection Act.” Unfortunately, your article repeated the common mistake of confusing fishing regulations with the implementation of “marine protected areas.” The mistake is understandable because this idea is brand new and, once again, makes California a leader in protecting our oceans.

The Marine Life Protection Act will create a statewide network of marine protected areas similar to our national parks on land – some fully protected and others with limits on the types of fishing that can occur in their boundaries. Also like our national parks, these areas are set aside so that this and future generations can enjoy relatively undisturbed nature in all its beauty and diversity.

Another common mistake is that Marine Protected Areas will restrict access. The law actually encourages recreational, educational, and research activities that don’t disturb the web of life within the protected area.

Like some of the fishermen in your article, local organizations working to restore the Santa Monica Bay to its old glory are fully supportive of the Marine Life Protection Act. In fact, Surfrider Foundation, Santa Monica Baykeeper and Heal the Bay are eager to start discussions with all interested parties so that we can implement this law in a way that gets the protection we need, but limits the impacts on current fishing practices. Like the legacy of Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir, this generation of California outdoorsmen is ready to take the idea of our treasured National Parks to the ocean.

Nancy Hastings

Southern California Field Coordinator, Surfrider Foundation

Dr. Craig Shuman

Staff Scientist, Heal the Bay

Tom Ford

Marine Biologist, Santa Monica Baykeeper