Proposed cutbacks related to the MLPA implementation total more than $6,756,000. This does not include work stoppages or potential furloughs or cutbacks within the Department of Fish and Game itself. In response, the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO) recently sent a letter to the governor urging him to consider the impact of such funding restrictions on the effectiveness of the implementation process and the impacts on anglers, boaters and local economies.
The California Department of Finance has released a 161-page, 5,300-item list of public works projects that will be suspended or delayed indefinitely because of the state's cash crunch which can be found on the following Website:
“The MLPA is supposed to be a science-based initiative, and with the current budget crisis in California, that will no longer be the case,” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association and a member of the PSO, a coalition of angling and boating groups. “Without funding, the MPA review process will lack basic enforcement safeguards. In addition, without a scientific basis and required scientific baseline and monitoring data, there cannot be a proper five-year review and a chance for adaptive management, which is clearly prescribed in the statute.”
In order for the MLPA process to work, MPA management requires a scientific baseline, along with continued monitoring and enforcement. Absent such enforcement and scientific monitoring, future scientists will not have the data to analyze the success or failure of a marine protected area, significantly curtailing its utility.
“California cannot pick and choose which part of the statute to implement,” Robertson continued. “Without scientific monitoring and adequate enforcement, vast areas of the California coast will be closed to public access and public resources. In the end, such piecemeal implementation only costs California more jobs and more economic woes, with coastal communities taking the brunt of the economic hit.”
The PSO has requested a meeting with Governor Schwarzenegger to develop a strategy to ensure the future health of the marine environment without unnecessary restrictions on recreational anglers and boaters. To download a copy of the PSO letter to the governor, go to http://www.keepamericafishing.org/california.asp.
PSO members include the American Sportfishing Association, Berkley Conservation Institute, Coastside Fishing Club, International Game Fish Association, Kayak Fishing Association of California, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Nor-Cal Kayak Anglers, Shimano Sport Fisheries Initiative, Southern California Marine Association and the Sportfishing Association of California.
Following are the entries to the "shut down or suspended" list for clarification along with the amount for the project and if it was active or just in the pipeline.
- 3760 Santa Monica Bay survey of science needs relative to the Marine Life Protection Act Los Angeles $ 142,818 x was active
- 3760 California Ocean Science Trust will develop and implement the California Marine Life Protection Act Monitoring Program Statewide $ 1,789,427 x was active
- 3760 Initiate, manage and implement data acquisition for nearshore and offshore substrate and marine habitat mapping within the Central and North Central Coast Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) project areas Statewide $ 1,092,727 x was active
- 3760 Funds are being used to conduct intertidal visual surveys for year two of the Central Coast Marine Protected Area Baseline Monitoring project (“the project”) for the Central Coast Study Region (CCSR) of the Marine Life Protection Act. Statewide $ 197,690 x was active
- 3760 Funds are being used to conduct two distinct surveys to assess MPAs in the Central Coast Study Region (CCSR) of the Marine Life Protection Act: (1) submarine surveys of deep waters and (2) hook and line surveys of nearshore fish in cooperation with recreational fishermen. Statewide $ 1,180,190 x was in pipeline.
- 3760 The grantee shall use these funds to conduct SCUBA surveys for year two of the Central Coast Marine Protected Area Baseline Monitoring project (“the project”) for the Central Coast Study Region (CCSR) of the Marine Life Protection Act. Statewide $ 325,870 x was in pipeline
- 3760 Funds are being used to carry out the Central Coast ROV Monitoring Research Project Central Coast MPAs $ 843,729 x was active