Recreational Fishing Alliance joins suit to stop Channel Island MLPAs


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Posted by Chris on December 11, 2002 at 09:48:42:

From: Jim Wilson

For immediate release: December 9, 2002
Contact: Herb Moore Jr., Director of Government Affairs
609-294-3315

Recreational Fishing Alliance Joins Lawsuit To Stop Channel Islands
Closure The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) and its Southern
California Chapter (RFA- SoCal) have joined a coalition of fishing
organizations challenging the decision by the California Fish and
Game Commission (FGC) to permanently close 175 square miles of
coastal
waters surrounding the Channel Islands to fishing.

The lawsuit, initiated by the Ventura County Commercial Fishermen's
Association (VCCFA), charges that FGC's October 23rd decision to
establish a large network of marine reserves around the Channel
Islands will adversely affect thousands of individuals and businesses
by closing these areas to recreational and commercial fishing.

Attorney Ilson W. New is challenging the FGC decision on several
procedural and substantive grounds including non-compliance with the
Marine Life Management Act, the Marine Life Protection Act as well as
violations of the California Environmental Quality Act. The coalition
is seeking injunctive relief to prevent the implementation of the
Channel Islands closure on January 1, 2003. Without the court's
intervention, California will be home to the largest complete closure
to recreational and commercial fishing in the continental United
States.

"The Channel Islands closure is a direct threat to the personal
freedoms enjoyed by California residents," said Joel Greenberg, of
RFA SoCal. "The impact on recreational fishing and the overall
economic harm is almost unthinkable."

Recreational fishermen voiced strong opposition to a "blanket"
closure around the Channel Islands throughout the development of this
plan. "Commission meetings represent the only opportunity for the
public at large to speak out on our fisheries," said Jim Martin of
RFA's Northern California Chapter (RFA-NorCal). "Input from members
of the public is backed up by packed halls of supporters, who
overwhelmingly feel that their views are ignored."

"California has been placed on the front lines in our struggle to
preserve our right to fish," said Greenberg.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) is a national, grassroots
political action organization representing individual sport fishermen
and the sport fishing industry. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the
rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry
jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of U.S. saltwater
fisheries.


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