With the legal battle at full bore, it's time to dig deep and donate.
BY PAUL LEBOWITZ
WON Staff Writer
SAN DIEGO – United Anglers of Southern California, Robert C.
Fletcher and the Coastside Fishing Club are waging legal war against “tainted”
Marine Life Protection Act ocean closures. Ahead three wins to no losses in
court skirmishes, the effort will face its first pitched battle on September
On that day Judge Ronald S. Prager of the San Diego Superior
Court will hear claims the Fish and Game Commission exceeded its authority when
it approved a network of Marine Protected Areas in North-Central California.
Fletcher, past president of the Sportfishing Association of California, is
confident his attorneys will prevail.
“We feel good about our lawsuit. We’ve made a number of
valid points [in previous hearings]. The court is listening. My feeling is one
of optimism. We plan to win this lawsuit,” Fletcher said.
South Coast ocean closures are scheduled to take effect just
days later on October first. The fiery Fletcher expects a delay one way or
another. That start date presumes the state Office of Administrative Law will
pass muster on the regulations. Although sources say the agency is well known
for wielding a rubber stamp, meeting the timetable is no foregone
conclusion. If and when they do,
the UASC, Fletcher, Coastside legal team will be ready for action.
“Should the South Coast MPA regulations be approved by the
OAL, the court indicated that it will entertain a motion for preliminary
injunction (i.e., a motion to prevent them from being enforced) that would be
scheduled for hearing in late September, before the Oct. 1 effective date
recently designated by the Commission,” a source familiar with the situation
With the legal salvoes following hotly one after the other,
the costs are adding up quickly. To date, ocean fishing interests have
collected more than $440,000 for this massive effort. Fletcher urged anglers to
keep it up.
“As much as we’ve asked of fisherman and friends of
fisherman to ask us financially, the need is becoming even greater now that a
hearing date is set. This is the fist major battle in our fight. Funds are
critical to win it,” he said. Anglers can donate directly to the legal fund at
www.OceanAccessProtectionFund.org. Dig deep.
UASC is hosting a summer fundraiser at Raaauge’s Shooting
Enterprises on Sunday August 7. Chris Fischer of Shark Men TV fame is the guest
speaker. This is an opportunity to briefly put down the fishing pole and pick
up a shotgun. Event guests will pay only for targets and ammo at the Corona
range. Chow down on Santa Maria style tri tip for $50 a person or $450 for a table
of ten. Tickets are available by calling UASC at 562-494-9900.