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MLPA Initiative publications - get them while they're hot!

MLPA Initiative publications - get them while they're hot!

by Dan Bacher

The rush is on - don't delay!

A number of publications from Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative are now available for the public as the controversial process "winds down."

"As the MLPA Initiative winds down, we are doing some 'house cleaning' at the office," stated Melissa Miller-Henson, MLPA program manager. "If you are interested, the MLPA Initiative has available on a first-come, first-serve basis extra copies of the publications listed below this message."

"If you have an interest in any of these publications, please contact Kathie Magnuson (Kathie.Magnuson [at] and let her know which document(s) you would like to receive. Be sure to provide your mailing address and phone number in case she has any questions," explained Miller-Hansen.

If the process is "winding down," does that mean that the initiative is closing shop before it has a chance to move to San Francisco Bay? That would be great news to Bay Area fishermen, grassroots conservationists, Native Americans and environmental justice advocates!

Anyway, below are the publications that will make for some exciting reading!

* A Review of the Ecological Effectiveness of Subtidal Marine Reserves in Central California: Part II Summary of Existing Marine Reserves in Central California and their Potential Benefits (3 copies)

* D. Benninghoven, J. Dahl, L. Daigle (2009, July). An Ocean of Opportunity: The Marine Life Protection Act gives cities a tool to protect both economic and natural resources. Western City (48 color copies of the article, not the full magazine)

* Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University (5)

* L. Morgan, S. Maxwell, F. Tsao, et al (2005, February). Baja California to the Bering Sea. Marine Priority Conservation Areas (32)

* Marine Managed Areas: Best Practices for Boundary Making (2006, June). Marine Boundary Working Group, Federal Geographic Data Committee, NOAA (15)

* North Central Coast Study Region - Regional Profile dated 091008 (8)

* R. Pomeroy, J. Parks, L. Watson (2004). How is your MPA Doing? A Guidebook of Natural and Social Indicators for Evaluating Marine Protected Area Management Effectiveness (22)

* R. Starr, J. Cope, L. Kerr (2002). Trends in Fisheries and Fishery Resources Associated with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary from 1981-2000 (5)

* North Coast Study Region, Regional Profile and Atlases dated April 19, 2010 (9)

* South Coast Study Region, Regional Profile and Maps dated June, 25, 2009 (4)

For more information, go to:

MLPA Initiative eviscerates marine protection in California

The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) is a historic law, signed by Governor Gray Davis in 1999, to create a network of "marine protected areas" off the coast of California. Unfortunately, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger privatized the process in 2004 by authorizing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, a private corporation, and the California Department of Fish and Game.

The MLPA Initiative eviscerated the landmark law by creating so called "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the marine ecosystem from oil drilling and spills, water pollution, military testing, wind and wave energy projects, corporate aquaculture, habitat destruction and all all other human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

The officials that oversaw the creation of these "marine protected areas'" included a big oil lobbyist, real estate executive, agribusiness hack, marina developer and other corporate operatives. In an egregious case of corporate greenwashing, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the South Coast MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force, the panel that oversaw the implementation of the MLPA in southern California waters. She held this position in spite of lobbying for new oil drilling off the West Coast!

MLPA officials have violated numerous state, federal and international laws. These include the Bagley-Keene Public Meetings Act, the California Administrative Procedures Act, the Brown Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Anglers win legal victories against MLPA Initiative!

Fortunately, fishery conservation groups have won three court victories in a row challenging the MLPA Initiative.

In the latest victory, a San Diego Superior Court judge has ordered that the Natural Resources Defense Council and Ocean Conservancy have no legal right to intervene in a lawsuit that seeks to preserve ocean sportfishing in California. That lawsuit, filed on January 27, 2011, by members of the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO) – United Anglers of Southern California, Coastside Fishing Club and Bob Fletcher – asks the court to set aside regulations established through the "Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative" which created massive fishing closures along California's North Central and South Coasts.

On the matter of intervention, the fishing groups argued, and the judge agreed, that the two NGOs did not have a direct and immediate interest in the litigation, and therefore will not be allowed to intervene on the side of the Fish and Game Commission.

Last year, Fletcher filed and won a suit against the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force and Master Plan Team– also known as the Science Advisory Team – for failing to provide documents related to their MLPA planning efforts. These groups incorrectly claimed that they were not required to make their records available to the public under the Public Records Act on the ground that they are not "state agencies."

"Once these records were finally disclosed, numerous long-standing suspicions about the lack of openness and transparency within the MLPA process were confirmed, including that the Blue Ribbon Task Force met numerous times outside of the public view in scheduled private meetings," according to a news release from the coalition.

Then on March 11, 2011, a California Superior Court ruling ordered the Blue Ribbon Task Force and Master Plan Team to pay 100-percent of the legal fees incurred by members of the PSO in the Public Records Act case.

"Clearly our legal effort has strong standing, as the court has now decided in our favor three times," noted Dave Elm, Chairman of United Anglers of Southern California. "However, these victories don't come cheap. I urge all anglers, and anyone who supports public access to public resources, to help us fight the flawed MLPA process in the courts by visiting and making a donation today." For more information, go to

On the North Coast, popular resistance to the many flaws of the MLPA Initiative spurred the creation of the largest grassroots political movement since the Redwood Summer of 1990. On July 21, 2010, over 300 people including members of 50 Indian Nations, immigrant seafood industry workers, fishermen and grassroots environmentalists peacefully took over a meeting of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force in Fort Bragg to protest the MLPA's violation of indigenous fishing and gathering rights. For more information, go to

David Gurney, independent journalist, has also created a great blog,, exposing the conflicts of interests and corruption under the MLPA Initiative, as well as investigating other ocean and environmental issues.