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Battle to Prevent Unwarranted Fishing Closures in California Continues

Despite unfavorable court ruling, appeal gives California's fishing and boating community renewed hope for overturning MLPA regulations

Sacramento, CA – December 15, 2011 – Today the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO) announced that the legal challenge against the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process is not yet over. Coastside Fishing Club, one of the three petitioners in litigation before the San Diego Superior Court challenging MLPA regulations adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission for the North Central Coast, filed an appeal with California's 4th District Court of Appeal. Regulations to close large areas of southern California's coastal waters to fishing will likely go into effect in January 2012, and the appeal process will likely last until late 2012.

Coastside's appeal arises from the denial by Judge Ronald Prager on October 17, 2011 of its request for a Writ of Mandate voiding MLPA regulations adopted by the commission for California's North Central Coast in 2009 based on legal defects in implementing California law. After a careful review, Coastside concluded that Judge Prager's ruling is inconsistent with the mandates of the law as established by the legislature. The outcome of the appeal of Judge Prager's ruling on the North Central Coast regulations would likely influence the resolution of a similar challenge to the validity of the South Coast regulations brought in the same lawsuit by Coastside's co-plaintiffs, United Anglers of Southern California and Robert C. Fletcher.

"It's in the best interests of all Californians that our state's laws be implemented in a fair and even-handed manner as the legislature directs," said Rick Ross, Coastside's president. "Coastside intends to pursue this legitimate goal through all available legal means. We strongly believe in the merits of our case, and the appeal process provides a fresh opportunity to have our claims considered in a different forum."

Also today, the PSO  launched a new website, www.SaveCAFishing.org to raise awareness of the legal challenge against the flawed MLPA process and to provide an opportunity for all anglers, boaters and anyone interested in a fair legal process to contribute to the effort. Under the "Donate" section of the site, individuals can contribute $5 or more a month on a recurring basis, or make a one-time donation. All proceeds will directly support legal action to keep California's healthy and abundance coastal waters open to sportfishing.

"The only true hope California's fishing and boating community has left to stop these impending marine protected areas from existing in perpetuity is to support our legal effort," said Dave Elm, chairman of United Anglers of Southern California. "The SaveCAFishing.org website provides a simple, convenient way to support our efforts on an ongoing basis. I challenge all anglers and anyone that supports public access to public resources to donate to our effort to ensure sustainable recreational activities are allowed to continue in California's coastal waters.

"A single fishing trip may cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, but a simple $5 or more monthly contribution to the legal effort against the MLPA process may be the most important investment anglers can make to ensure the continuation of the sport for current and future generations," concluded Elm.

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