Diverse views, high stakes at marine protected areas meeting

Speakers at the state Fish and Game oversight panel meeting in Santa Monica.
Speakers at the state Fish and Game oversight panel meeting in Santa Monica. Newly Paul/KPCC

A state Fish and Game oversight panel is meeting in Santa Monica to study proposals for limiting access in parts of state waters to protect marine life. KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports.

State law requires that California get opinions from everyone from spearfishermen to conservationists about where to set boundaries for marine protected areas. People who use the coast for work and play have made four proposals for marine protected areas from the border up to Point Concepcion. Commercial and recreational fishermen have submitted two proposals of their own.

Now a panel of marine experts is kicking the tires on those possible plans. When the panel’s done, it’ll make recommendations about which plans best serve the educational, economic, and ecological aims of the state’s Marine Life Protection Act.

Along the south coast, much debate has centered on plans for Palos Verdes and Laguna Beach, where fishing is heavy in areas rich with sea life. Laguna Beach’s city council last month voted to a marine reserve where fishing would be banned. That turns up the heat in an already contentious process.

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