Task force considers how protecting marine areas will affect fishing

Members of a blue ribbon task force for marine protected areas are considering how those areas could affect Southern California fishermen’s ability to make a living. KPCC’s Molly Peterson has more.

Members of a blue ribbon task force for marine protected areas are considering how those areas could affect Southern California fishermen’s ability to make a living. KPCC’s Molly Peterson has more.

Molly Peterson: The state’s Marine Life Protection Act has a pretty simple goal – to establish rules for how people can behave in regions off the coast. It’s supposed to help sea life flourish. But poor planning and poor funding have hampered the law.

In southern California, enacting the rules is complicated by the region’s huge population, the diverse topography of the ocean floor, and the kinds of fish people chase. In Dana Point this week, the task force will hear about a range of very early proposals for what to do along the coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

Each proposal maps different spots where limits and rules might work. A group called Ecotrust is analyzing economic impacts for the state in part by talking to fishermen. Even at this stage, the discussion is heating up.

In San Pedro, for example, marine protection could cut the local catch of market squid by a little – or by as much as 25 percent. The state Fish and Game Commission will make the final decision on where to limit access. That’s supposed to happen later this year.

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