coastal scuba diving to be banned?


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Posted by Chris on September 24, 2004 at 02:06:16:

It appears that the Bureau of Land Management has been given jurisdiction over our coast. They have created a The California Coastal National Monument Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which has been posted for public comment until December 16, 2004.

A post on a fishing rights group contends this plan "strikes at those, surfers, kayakers, no-take divers and scuba enthusiasts, etc., who, so far, like our friend Brad, have supported reserves because they don't affect them." I don't see that in my cursory reading of the plan, but I did not read it in detail, however we must be vigilant about not lossing out right to dive along our coast.

The post from the nearshore group follows:

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 17:14:27 -0700
From: "FRED HOLLANDER"
Subject: BLM Threat to Sportfishing

I just finished reading the entire BLM document, and it is alarming. I think it is a great threat to NorCal after returning from a car trip there in June, including Shelter Cove to Crescent City. Here is a post I just made on Allcoast to alert the troops, so I won't reiterate the article here, except to add this gem from the enforcement part of the Preferred Alternative Plan A: "Activities involving management of people would probably be the easiest to accomplish and have the greatest potential for immediate results." Big Brother speaking.

On Bill Clinton's last day in office he issued an Executive Order to fund and create marine reserves. The Channel Islands reserves are the first fruits of that, and the enviro movement for no-take marine reserves gained important momentum and state and federal support. The Bush Administration left those Executive Orders in place, declared its position in favor of MPAs, and has funded a reserve dept. within NOAA.

Well, it seems Clinton issued another on that day that will destroy our sport that is less well-known, but which is about to be implemented - he declared the ENTIRE CA COAST OUT 12 MILES the California Coastal National Monument, and gave power over all reefs, rocks, and small islands above the mean high tide line to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a federal agency.

The BLM has entered into an enforcement policy agreement partnership (MOU)with the DFG and Parks and Recreation, but BLM retains final decision making power. BLM has issued its Draft Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement and is taking public comment until sometime in December.

While it assiduously does not mention fishing, or sportfishing, or commercial fishing, the Preferred Alternative, Plan A, which the document implies is a done deal, has some very scary stuff in it.

Plan A seeks to "preserve" all high tide exposed reefs, rocks, and small islands along the 1,100 mile CA coast and offshore to 12 miles, and protect birds, mammals, and "intertidal species" by banning all but "low impact and non-invasive recreation near these designated structures." Get this: kayaking, boating, scuba diving, and snorkeling is to be banned. Plan A forces us to "appreciate from afar"!!! Some low impact recreation may be allowed seasonally and in some places not too sensitive, but note this statement: "Other types of recreation activities, such as those with sporting or competition emphasis, are already well served in other areas."!!!!!!!!! Sounds like what we heard at the CIMNS, we'll take the best fishing areas because you have so many other areas. Combined with MLPA reserves to come, which the document also notes as a done deal, and which might take precedent over BLM control in the areas with reserves, this will shut down many of our structure fishing spots along the whole coast.

You want examples on the list? Ok, how about Big Rock in Santa Monica Bay, most of the PV Peninsula, and that great rock off Pt.Vicente, Leo Carillo Beach (Deep Hole), Pt. Dume, etc., etc. Even manmade islands like the San Pedro Harbor islands are controlled by the BLM. I'm sure you can think of boilers, rocks and reefs everywhere that will be off limits to fishing. And that is where the trophies of our rec only SoCal calico bass fishery live, as well as our large resident WSB.

The only positive I see is that this one strikes at those, surfers, kayakers, no-take divers and scuba enthusiasts, etc., who, so far, like our friend Brad, have supported reserves because they don't affect them, so maybe we can form a larger coalition to allow fishing and expanded recreational activities. The RFA is getting involved in this one as well the MLPA, but we need your help. Read the document for yourselves at the site below, and write a comment to them that you support sportfishing.

http://www.ca.blm.gov/pa/coastal_monument/draft_rmp_eis.html



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