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MLPA Updates

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Heeding the challenge to "Bring it!" member organizations of the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans marched into San Diego Superior Court, seeking to set aside South Coast and North Central Coast MLPA regulations approved by the California Fish and Game Commission.


United Anglers of Southern California and Robert C. Fletcher picked up the gauntlet thrown by Commissioner Richard Rogers last December when Rogers brusquely brushed aside warnings that the MLPA process was fraught with closed door meetings and other violations of state law. And they brought reinforcements from the north, the Coastside Fishing Club, and expanded the legal challenge to include MLPA closures approved for the North Central Coast in August 2009.


The PSO lawsuit cites a lack of statutory authority for adopting the regulations, and, in the case of the South Coast regulations, numerous violations of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in the commission's environmental review of the regulations.


"From the outset, it was clear that the MLPA process was set up to reach a predetermined outcome under the fiction of an allegedly open and transparent process," Bob Fletcher, former president of the Sportfishing Association of California, said. "In a rush to establish regulations based on political timelines and a pre-determined agenda, the Fish and Game Commission has ignored the legal requirements it must follow."


"Ignoring the information before them, the commission went forward with approving regulations to close 116 square miles of southern California’s coastal waters to recreational fishing.,” Fletcher said of the December implementation of the South Coast MLPA regulations.

“Particularly concerning are the flaws in a regulatory process that has been fueled with private money from special interests. The end result of this process has been a rush by the commission to adopt regulations without the authority it has to have to adopt them, and without a proper review of the environmental consequences of what they're doing. That should be a concern for all Californians, whether they fish for fun or for a living, or whether they've never been fishing at all," Fletcher further said.


"Much of the best fishing areas are now closed under the MLPA process,"  Dan Wolford, Science Director for the Coastside Fishing Club noted. "Anglers in the North Central region are now suffering because of excessive, unnecessary closures that we believe were improperly established. We find it extremely concerning that anglers, who are the original conservationists, are being taken off the water through a seriously flawed process, while the real threats to the health of our ocean, such as contaminated stormwater runoff and industrial pollutants, are allowed to continue unabated."

The PSO's legal petition attacks the Commission's action on several fronts. These include lack of a required rulemaking provisions and an absence of statutory authority, as well as violations of the CEQA environmental review process. 

"The good intentions of the MLPA have been derailed by private interests and political motivations," Fletcher said. We urge anglers, outdoor enthusiasts and anyone who supports good government and the public's right to know what its government is doing to visit and donate what they can to help us continue to fight this flawed process in the courts."


Reader Comments
I donated $500 two weeks ago through KAF to fight for our rights. Let the war begin. Paul
Paul Nielsen
After years of watching our "leaders" in the sport fisning community try to get along and partner with those trying to shut down sport fishing, it is nice to see some of these same people finally waking up an fighting back. We have every right to fish and hunt, and those trying to shut us down represent the minority opinion. But even if they didn't, we would still have these rights. At some point if we battle and hold steady we will win this war. For me these sorts of lifestyle issues are much more important than whether the Democrat or Republican wins an election, and affect my quality of life much more directly. And millions of people like myself feel this way and will vote for those that support our right to fish and hunt, and against those who try to take it away or who don't support it.
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