Kayak anglers still face MLPA annihilation in Southern California
BY PAUL LEBOWITZ
WON Staff Writer
Please bear with me. I know you’re tired of the MLPA, that privately funded marine reserve planning process seized by environmental activists pushing excessive ocean closures for the sake of ideology.
You might feel like it’s over, with the best part of Malibu tragically set for closure but a bit of sweet if hemmed-in relief at north La Jolla.
Sorry to break it to you. It could get worse, much worse. The governor recently stacked the deck to force the MLPA through before that lame duck gets his last quack. The balance on the California Fish and Game Commission – the ultimate MLPA ‘deciders’ – has shifted so far towards the closure crowd that no water can be considered safe.
I’m mainly talking about La Jolla. The other side has always wanted more than just a slice of the pie for their trophy case. With a rock solid 3-2 majority on the commission, California’s crown jewel of kayak fishing could be in their sights.
We risk losing everything if we don’t show up in force at the two remaining MLPA commission hearings set for October 20-21 in San Diego and December 15-16 in Santa Barbara. A strong showing will put the lie to the outrageous claims and distortions that routinely spew from those who want to close it all.
Even with the so-called Integrated Preferred Alternative concocted largely behind closed doors by the MLPA South Coast Blue Ribbon Task Force, much remains in play.
Countless kayak anglers devoted their time and energy to preserving access to the bait that congregates under the lights at the end of Scripps Pier. The commission must be watched closely, lest they backtrack. Boundary changes are likely.
In southern La Jolla, the commission has the option to expand the boundaries of the proposed closure area both north and south. You don’t need me to tell you, small changes can have big impacts when you’re paddle-powered.
Laguna is another area kayakers should keep an eye on. That noxious overreaching closure could be shifted to accommodate a sewage outfall and rationalize the ridiculous acute angle boundaries.
Like you, I just want to forget about the MLPA and go fishing. It’s a reward well earned, as it took nothing short of an unprecedented grassroots effort earlier in this game to hang onto anything. Kayak anglers routinely outnumbered other groups at the endless series of MLPA planning hearings.
It would be a terrible pity to squander that all-out effort. Whether we relish it or not, if we want to hang onto our scarce easy-access ocean launch sites, we have to battle right to the finish line. I’ll see you there.
The October 20-21 California Fish and Game Commission South Coast MLPA discussion hearing will be held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel at 8110 Aero Drive. The likely December 15-16 adoption hearing is set for Santa Barbara’s Hotel Mar Monte on 1111 East Cabrillo Boulevard. One day at each meeting should be enough; check the commission website (www.fgc.ca.gov) for the agenda.