California wildlife regulators are expected to make a final decision today on a proposal to create a protected area off the Southern California coast where fishing would be banned or restricted.
The Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to debate Marine Protected Areas, which run along a 250-mile arc of coastline from the Mexican border to Santa Barbara County.
California's 1,100-mile coast was divided into five sections to comply with the state's Marine Life Protection Act of 1999. Protected areas have been created in Northern and Central California - Southern California is the third area to undergo the process, the Associated Press reports.
The fishing industry worries that key areas will become off limits and California Fisheries Coalition manager Vern Goehring predicts a lawsuit if the plan passes.
A new protected area would only further regulate fishing - not protect the ocean from multiple threats, he said.