|California Fish and Game Commission Adopts MLPA Master Plan Framework|
Posted by CA Resources on August 22, 2005 at 18:43:06:|
San Luis Obispo, CA – The California Fish and Game Commission yesterday unanimously adopted a master plan framework to guide the development of alternative proposals for marine protected areas (MPAs) along the California coast between now and 2011. The commission’s decision marks the culmination of over nine months of public participation in developing and discussing the document, starting with work overseen by the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force.
Adoption of the master plan framework is one of a number of steps being taken to comply with the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), implementation of which is part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Ocean Action Plan released last year.
“This decision on the framework is an important first step, but it is just the first step,” said Phil Isenberg, chair of the task force. “As the Task Force learns more about the ocean environment and the socio-economics of ocean resource uses, it is highly likely that we will recommend revisions to the framework,” he added.
The MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force spent six months working with stakeholders, experts on marine resources, a science advisory team and the general public to develop a draft framework that could be forwarded to the California Department of Fish and Game for consideration by the commission. The department presented its version of the framework to the commission on May 23.
Executive Director John Kirlin stated, “Adoption of the master plan framework is a significant accomplishment. We believe the Fish and Game Commission understood that the framework emerged from tremendous public involvement and input.”
The master plan framework is the first step in developing a complete master plan for marine protected areas, as required under the MLPA. The task force will now oversee an effort to develop and present recommendations for MPAs along the central coast (between Point Conception and Pigeon Point) to the Fish and Game Commission by March 2006.
Developing a proposed draft master plan framework is among four objectives of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force. In addition to the framework and central coast effort, the task force will prepare by December 2005 a comprehensive strategy for long-term funding of MLPA implementation and develop by November 2006 recommendations for improved coordination with federal agencies involved in MPA management.
The eight-member task force was formed by Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman to help the state implement the MLPA.
In addition to the substantial public outreach and participation during the MLPA Initiative drafting process, the Fish and Game Commission also held five public hearings on the draft master plan framework during July and August.
The MLPA requires the Department of Fish and Game to prepare and present to the Fish and Game Commission a master plan that will guide the adoption and implementation of a Marine Life Protection Program within the department. The commission is then required to adopt a master plan, based on the best readily available science, which includes a statewide network of MPAs. After the central coast, the commission will be presented with recommendations for alternative network components along the remaining sections of California coast between 2006 and 2011.
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