Since Surfrider started working on the MLPA in the south coast region, we have received a lot of feedback and emails from our members. Two of my favorite emails came from active Surfrider members (one lives in Orange County and the other in San Diego).
Within their emails they attached photos of recent fish they caught. From their emails (and subsequent conversations), these members expressed an understanding of how Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are biologically important and can work to help key habitat and fish populations grow. And within the same breath, they also expressed concerns about marine reserves being placed in the right locations so that fishing is still accessible.
Really, the whole MLPA equation comes down to placement....
(Good habitat + accessible/sustainable fishing = Successful MPAs)
Surfrider is gathering valuable information from our members/supporters through several vehicles including our survey (if you haven't taken it, please do). We will take all the information we receive and make recommendations about where MPAs can go in order to meet the "cross interest support" the MLPA Blue Ribbon Taskforce is asking for.
I'm sharing these photos because I want to pass on the pride these Surfrider members feel from being watermen. But more importantly, I wanted to share a sense of pride I
feel toward these members.
They are motivated, respectful and are trying to work with Surfrider to ensure MPAs are located in good locations (i.e. areas that are biologically viable and 'make sense' for fishing). Even if we don't agree on everything, we carry on... because in the end, we realize the MLPA is a law that must be implemented...and when it's all said and done, those of us who have become invested in the MLPA process want to know we made a beneficial contribution. And I for one, will pride myself on the fact that we WORKED TOGETHER to get it done right!
In the meantime, I'll relish the sense of pride I feel after talking to these members who are true watermen (surfers, fishermen, divers, and humble people who care about the ocean and are willing to do the hard work in order to watch over this important resource)!