|Request for Letters of Support for Critical Habitat retention|
Posted by Stephen Benavides on January 14, 2009 at 23:16:52:|
California Marine Life Protection Act (“MLPA”) Initiative
Request for Letters of Support for Retaining San Nicolas Island and San Clemente Island in the south coast MLPA Mapping Process.
Last Tuesday, the SoCal MLPA Regional Stakeholders Group ("RSG") received a memorandum from the MLPA I-Team (the staff from various disciplines and direct the process) requesting the Blue Ribbon Task Force (“BRTF”)Adopt the following motion:
“Marine Protected Areas should not be considered and areas identified by the United States Department of Defense on a map dated December 4, 2008, as a live fire, training minefields and amphibious operation areas. Legally permitted fishing will continue to be allowed in the same manner as now in these areas, which is currently estimated at over 80% of the time….”
The BRTF is a body of political appointees who are charged with evaluating the MLPA proposals and recommending a preferred alternative to the Fish and Game Commission for final approval. They have the final say before the Commission.
That map identified all of San Clemente and San Nicholas and 17 miles of Camp Pendleton as live fire areas, ie No MPA's there a all.
I will cut to the chase. What they're requesting is that all of the coastline of both San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands and the entire 17 mile coastline of Camp Pendleton be completely removed from consideration in the Marine life Protection Act Initiative process. In the meantime there will be no levels of protection applied to San Clemente or. San Nicolas Island. Commercial and recreational harvest their will continue unabated and free of any restrictions imposed by the MLPA. In plain terms, this means that the RSG are to have to apply the guidelines for establishing a network of marine reserves through out the Southern California bight without applying any of the protections to those islands or to Camp Pendleton. I can't begin to tell you how bad an idea this is or how difficult it will be to design any meaningful network of marine reserves without including those to islands and Camp Pendleton as integral parts of the network. If the BRTF agrees to the Department of Defense request, this also means that one of the possible outcomes is that Catalina Island will be forced to absorb all of the network carrying capacity for all the offshore islands in the study area.
If you care at all about a successful conclusion to building a network of meaningful reserves in Southern California, It is vital that the regional stakeholders group and the State planning staff be allowed to include the coastlines San Clemente Island and San Nicolas Island and Camp Pendleton as an integral part in designing the spatial array of marine protected areas that will support one another with transport of larva or adult finfish.
We need emails letters from concerned divers who care about trying to create the comprehensive system of protected areas envisioned by the MLPA. I believe this opportunity to finish this process will never exist in most of our lifetimes. This decision is scheduled for January 22, so send an email, not a snailmail.
The Department of Defense and the state of California have already reached accord in similar circumstances. When the Department of Defense took a similar position at Vandenberg Air Force portion of the Central Coast. The central coast RSG and the BRTF made accommodations that met both the needs of building a network of reserves with the correct spatial properties and accommodated the needs of the Air Force for a very sensitive facility. I absolutely believe we can do the same thing at San Clemente Island. Recreational fishers and divers and commercial fishing and been living in close proximity to bombs and guns for dozens of years. The fact remains, however, there is a COMPELLING STATE INTEREST in seeing that all of the offshore islands are included in building this network of reserves that we so desperately need. Your letter can simply say that you feel it is important to include San Clemente Island and San Nicolas Island as an intergral part of the South Coast MLPA process. Below are just a few good reasons. Please don't just cut them out and paste them on your letter, because when they get to many e-mails about the same they throw them away. Your letter should began as follows, it has the email address:
January 14, 2009
Via email: MLPAComments@resources.ca.gov
Re: Military Use Areas in the MLPA South Coast Study Region
Dear Chair Benninghoven and members of the BRTF:
Please accept the following comments regarding military use areas in the MLPA South
You can send it by e-mail, it's as easy as that. I would appreciate your help. This is very, very important to the diving community. Scratch that, it's good for my grandchildren, and yours
-Exclusion of offshore habitat with exceptional water quality from consideration in the network is ignoring and in contravention to the preservation and protection of potential habitat. (This is goal number six of the regional goals)
- Both of these offshore areas are designated as areas of special biological significance by the state California. There is a Compelling State Interest to include them in designing the spatial array of MBAs
If you're willing, thanks for your help.
Then again, if you don't like what I'm asking, write one anyway because they need to hear from you too. It's your ocean too. You should also have a say. This issue is very important.
In 1850 California became a state. The new state had no electricity, and no money. There were gunfights in the street and almost everyone spoke Spanish.
The irony compared to today, is inescapable.
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