Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Who Is Protecting the Coast

To Whom It May Concern,
My friend, Arch Richardson, has recently sent me information concerning the possible closure of the Richardson Ranch for the proposed MPA. Having reviewed the material and read some of the arguments in favor of such a closure at the Richardson Ranch I felt compelled to comment on what I feel would be a gross miscarriage of the intent of this plan.

The first thing that occurs to me is that the nature of this private property and the limited access that has been in place for generations (this fact alone may be a rub for those in favor of closing this area because of their inability to gain access to it for their quest of the trophy ten inch abalone) has provided, for the surrounding waters, unmolested spawning for abalone, fish and other invertebrates for decades...isn't this what the MPA is supposed to accomplish?
The fact that the Richardson Ranch was open to local Native Americans for the gathering of seaweed and other bounties of the ocean in a time of close mindedness and out right discrimination shows what true stewards of the land these families have been over the years.

Having seen first hand the beauty of this area, from an underwater perspective, I can tell you that there is no place like it on the North Coast. The decimation of abalone populations that I have witnessed since first diving this area in 1979 makes me wonder why the powers that be wouldn't close down areas like of Salt Point, Still Water Cove, or the countless other spots that so desperately (and obviously) need the respite.

Why penalize the private property owners of this area by enacting an MPA when in fact we should all see them as protecting an area that would have otherwise been overrun and depleted years ago. I guess I just don't understand why you wouldn't enhance what seems to be an existing MPA (there is a negligible impact on the marine life in this area because so few people, over the years, have had access to it) and create zones outside of these areas in places that clearly need the help of a MPA. That's just my two cents worth.

Tommy Harris
38 Massasoit Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

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