Fish and Game Commission Re-Notices Proposed South Coast MPA Regulations

Changes Prompted by Office of Administrative Law Rejection of Original Regulatory Package

Sacramento, CA – October 5, 2011 – On October 3, the California Fish and Game Commission opened a 15-day public comment period for revised proposed regulations for the South Coast marine protected areas developed under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process. Revisions were made because the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL), which must first review and approve the regulations before they go into effect, rejected the regulatory package previously provided by the commission.

The Partnership for Sustainable Oceans, which represents the interests of California’s recreational anglers and boaters in the MLPA process, is currently reviewing the revised regulations and will provide suggested issues to consider when commenting on the regulations prior to the October 18, deadline. Comments will also be accepted at the October 19 Fish and Game Commission meeting in Monterey, Calif. It is important that anglers respond to the revised MPA regulations since they may significantly affect their ability to access the most productive ocean areas.

During its September meeting, the commission outlined a proposed timeline to re-notice and finalize the South Coast MLPA regulations, resubmit them to OAL, and seek an anticipated effective date of January 1, 2012. This projected effective date is not only dependent on OAL approval, but also may be affected by the outcome of a pending lawsuit filed by members of the PSO.

The lawsuit seeks to set aside the MLPA regulations for the North Central and South Coast study regions, citing a lack of statutory authority for the Fish and Game Commission to adopt the regulations, and, in the case of the South Coast regulations, numerous violations of the California Environmental Quality Act in the commission’s environmental review of the regulations. A hearing on the North Central Coast portion of the case, originally set for September 26, will now take place on October 6, in San Diego.

For information on how to contribute to the legal effort, please visit www.OceanAccessProtectionFund.org.

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