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Recap on Surfrider Forums and What’s next.

October 06 2009 | Ocean Ecosystems, Marine Protected Areas,
by Stefanie Sekich

Thanks to everyone who attended our community forums over the past two weeks and everyone who has participated with us during our other outreach efforts. We greatly appreciate your feedback and specific comments about the proposed maps.

We have received some inquires about what's next in the process, as well as Surfrider Foundation’s role in the next steps

As we have said from the beginning, we will be representing our 10 chapters in the region and will make recommendations that reflect the will of our chapters and members.

Here's a break down of the timeline and activities:

What’s next for Surfrider and the MLPA?

Surfrider is compiling a comment letter that will go to the Blue Ribbon Taskforce (BRTF) by Oct 11. The letter will contain recommendations about the current maps based on the feedback we received from our community forums, our Chapter leaders, the outreach we conducted over the past year and the results of the Science Advisory Team’s analysis.

The BRTF will meet in Long Beach on Oct 20-22 where they will identify a 'preferred map' that will then be sent to the Fish and Game Commission for a final vote.

In December, the Fish and Game Commission has the final say and will vote to implement one map.

What does Surfrider Support?

The Surfrider Foundation is chapter member-driven organization. We listen to, and rely on, our chapter leaders, paid members, and supporters to make decisions; hence the reason we held community forums around Southern California.

At this point we are compiling all the information we have gathered to make recommendations to the Blue Ribbon Task Force for amending the current proposals. Why? Based on past experiences, there is a chance the BRTF could make amendments to the three proposed maps of the region.

We are taking this opportunity to make recommendations to the current proposals to more accurately reflect the concerns and recommendations we have received from our outreach efforts. We will have to wait and see the outcome of that process and what alternatives the BRTF will forward for final approval by the Fish and Game Commission.

In the meantime, here is a quick break down of what we heard from our members at our community forums and other outreach efforts. In general there is support for a proposal that includes as much protected area as possible, but with a "balanced" approach that takes into account the concerns of our members who fish. This is not surprising given the diversity in our membership. This "balance" is reflected in the message we are hearing from members in the areas below:

  • Santa Barbara Area--There was support for Map 3 and Map 1. That general support was balanced with the following recommendations: 1) Naples should be a Conservation Area that allows spearfishing for pelagic finfish; 2) there should be a small conservation area within the reserve at Devereaux (specifically at "Jailhouse Point") that allows spearfishing for pelagic finfish. We understand any modification at Devereaux will require flexibility in the Department of Fish and Game's "feasibility" guidelines – something we have been requesting all along.

  • LA Area--There was support for Map 3 and Map 1 -- especially in the Pt Dume area. Again, there was a mix of support for the larger area in a reserve (Map 3) as well as support for the "balance" member saw in Map 1. There was no support for the Map 2 proposal at Point Dume.
  • Laguna Area--There was support for Maps 2 and 1. A lot of our members in the area are concerned about how the proposed marine reserves will impact local fishing. There is also support for the larger reserve. Finally, there is some discussion about the need for a large reserve in Laguna when this area is looked at in the context of surrounding areas (Palos Verdes to the north and Encinitas to the south).
  • San Diego--A large percentage of audience members at this forum supported Map 3 as long as the conservation area north of Scripps is removed. Several attendees at the forum who expressed support for Map 2, after further discussion, appeared to support a reserve between Windansea and the Crystal Pier, but could not support Map 3 because of the conservation area north of Scripps. Interestingly, this sounds like two different ways to support for the same proposal.

Again, we will be taking this local input into consideration and awaiting the report from the Science Advisory Team to finalize our recommendations to the Blue Ribbon Task Force. We will post our written comments to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on October 11.

Once the Blue Ribbon Task Force has forwarded their recommendations to the Fish and Game Commission, we will re-evaluate all of this information, engage our members once again, and make a decision on the map that best represents our members’ diverse interests.

Thanks again for your support and awareness. Stay tuned!


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