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Northern California 'marine protected area' information available online
by Dan Bacher
Wednesday Jun 13th, 2012 4:55 PM
Unfortunately, the DFG web page fails to include any of the "Inconvenient Truths"about the alleged "marine protected areas" that the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative created.
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Northern California 'marine protected area' information available online

by Dan Bacher

On June 6, the California Fish and Game Commission approved and adopted regulations for the north coast "marine protected areas" (MPAs) created under Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. The decision completed the network of MPAs in California’s open coastal waters, from Mexico to the Oregon state line.

The DFG announced on June 13 that information regarding the North Coast "marine protected areas" is now available on line.

California's north coast region encompasses approximately 1,027 square miles of state ocean waters, including waters around offshore rocks, from Alder Creek (Mendocino County) north to the California/Oregon border. The new network of 19 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), one State Marine Recreational Management Area, and seven special closures will cover approximately 137 sq mi, or 13 percent, of the north coast region.

The press release announcing the decision is located at http://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/north-coast-marine-protected-areas-adopted-in-final-coastal-ocean-region/ .

Information about the new and modified north coast MPAs, which are expected to go into effect in early 2013, is located at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/ncmpas_list.asp .

The Department of Fish and Game also claimed that it has created a "one-stop Web page for all California MPA information" at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/mpa_summary.asp.

Unfortunately, the DFG web page fails to include any of the "Inconvenient Truths" about the "marine protected areas" that the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative created.

First, these alleged "marine protected areas" do not protect the ocean from oil spills and drilling, military and seismic testing, pollution, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy projects and all other impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering. In violation of the letter and spirit of the landmark Marine Life Protection Act of 1999, these marine reserves fail to comprehensively protect the ocean from ocean industrialization and other threats to the marine ecosystem.

Second, the so-called "open and transparent" process was privately funded by the shadowy Resources Legacy Foundation. This is an inherent conflict of interest, since this foundation also funds many of the corporate "environmental" NGOs who lobbied for the creation of marine reserves with the least possible protection from all other human impacts on the ocean other than fishing.

Third, the Northern California Tribal Chairman's Association, including the Chairs of the Elk Valley Rancheria, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Karuk Tribe, Smith River Rancheria, Trinidad Rancheria, and Yurok Tribe, believes the science behind the MLPA Initiative developed by Schwarzenegger's Science Advisory Team is "incomplete and terminally flawed." (http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2012/06/08/yurok-tribe-challenges-mlpa-initiatives-terminally-flawed-science)

The Yurok Tribe said it has attempted on numerous occasions to address the scientific inadequacies with the MLPA science developed under the Schwarzenegger administration by adding "more robust protocols" into the equation, but was denied every time. This denial of consideration of the Tribe's scientific data flies in the face of false claims by MLPA advocates that the privately funded initiative creates "Yosemites of the Sea" and "underwater parks" based on "science."

Fourth, the new regulations, in a great miscarriage of justice, prohibit Yurok Tribe members from gathering seaweed, mussels and fish at their traditional gathering areas at Reading Rock and the False Klamath. Two Tribal Elders told the Commission that they would continuing gathering food, regardless of the Commission’s decision.

“We are hunters, fishermen and gatherers and we have lived here since time immemorial,” said David Gensaw Sr., a member of the Yurok Tribal Council. “We have gathered on these shores forever since the Creator put us here.”

“We’re here today to tell you that we need that subsistence, and we will continue to provide our people with that nourishment,” he stated. “Hopefully, we can work this out without a confrontation.”

Yurok Tribal Elder Jack Matz emphasized, “If the regulations are implemented the way they are planned now, you will have a confrontation with a lot of elders, including myself.”

Fifth, the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces that oversaw the implementation of these "marine protected areas" included a big oil lobbyist, marina developer, real estate executive and other individuals with numerous conflicts of interest.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, served on the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces for the North Coast and North Central Coast. Reheis-Boyd, a relentless advocate for offshore oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the Keystone XL Pipeline and the weakening of environmental laws, also chaired the task force that developed the MPAs that went into effect in Southern California on January 1.

The MLPA process is an egregious example of corporate greenwashing, as evidenced by Reheis-Boyd’s leadership role in the creation of the alleged “marine parks.”

Many grassroots environmentalists and fishermen believe that Reheis-Boyd was appointed to the task force to make sure that the oil industry’s interests were protected – and to ensure that recreational and commercial fishermen and seaweed harvesters, the most vocal opponents of offshore oil drilling, are removed from many areas on the ocean to clear a path for ocean industrialization.

The big question that remains is: why did MLPA Initiative advocates, including representatives of corporate "environmental" NGOs, not oppose the appointment of a big oil lobbyist to the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces, let alone her appointment as chair of the South Coast process?