California ruling favors fishing, boating groups

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A California Superior Court judge ruled that the Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force and Master Plan Team are state agencies and must share information with representatives of angling/conservation organizations.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Robert C. Fletcher, former president of the Sportfishing Association of California, a member organization in the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans.

"This is a very significant ruling to the many recreational angling groups and individuals across California who have invested so much time and energy in the MLPA process," Fletcher said in a statement. "This ruling validates our long-held position that the groups implementing the MLPA and making decisions that result in closures of large areas of the Pacific Ocean to recreational activities cannot carry on as if they were not agencies of the state."

"Now we'll get to see information that has been previously hidden from us about key decisions made by the BRTF and MPT," added Steven Fukuto, president of the non-profit United Anglers of Southern California and director of the Ocean Access Protection Fund. "Our success in this lawsuit will allow us to shine a light on important decisions that have been made in the dark."

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