The Partnership for Sustainable Oceans, which represents recreational fishing and boating interests in California, denounced a decision that it says could have a devastating effect on the state's economy and the public's right to access the state's coastal waters.
Under the California Marine Life Protection Act, California's South Coast Blue Ribbon Task Force voted to send its own preferred alternative proposal to the state's fish and game commission that will close vast areas of the South Coast to public access.
Particularly hard-hit, according to the PSO, will be the Malibu, Orange County and San Diego County fishing communities.
The recreational fishing and boating community supported Proposal 2, a proposal that they say provides significant additional conservation for California's ocean resources while minimizing the economic impact of lost fishing opportunity.
"By making this decision, the BRTF passed over the three proposals it earlier voted to send to the Fish and Game Commission that were created by 64 stakeholders who worked 14 months to create these three proposals under an ever changing set of guidelines," said Bob Fletcher, former president of Sportfishing Association of California, a regional stakeholder group member and PSO member.
"Proposal 2 has a high conservation value that is relatively the same as other proposals but would have the least economic impact on Southern California, particularly San Diego where fishing and boating is an integral component of the local economy. The BRTF choose to ignore Proposal 2 in favor of its own version," he added.
The PSO encourages recreational anglers and boaters to attend the Dec. 9 fish and game commission meeting in Los Angeles where the BRTF will present its preferred alternative to the commission.
The PSO includes the American Sportfishing Association, Berkley Conservation Institute, Coastside Fishing Club, contributing members of the Avalon Tuna Club, International Game Fish Association, Kayak Fishing Association of California, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Nor-Cal Kayak Anglers, Shimano Sport Fisheries Initiative, Southern California Marine Association, the Sportfishing Association of California, United Anglers of Southern California and the Watermen's Alliance.