With the recent adoption of marine protected areas in California’s northern region, a vast network of no-fishing zones along California’s coastal waters is now in place. However, the legal status surrounding how these no-fishing zones were established remains a question. Coastside Fishing Club, a member of the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO) which represents the recreational fishing and boating community, has announced that legal efforts against the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process, which established the no-fishing zones, continues. Coastside recently filed an opening brief in its appeal of an October 2011, ruling that upheld the regulations created through the MLPA process.
“While anti-fishing groups have celebrated the adoption of MLPA regulations throughout the state, we remain confident that these regulations were enacted without legal authority,” said Coastside Fishing Club’s President Rick Ross. “We are hopeful that through this appeal, the serious flaws in the MLPA process will be recognized by the court and, subsequently, overturned.”
Coastside Fishing Club, along with United Anglers of Southern California and California citizen Robert Fletcher, filed a lawsuit in January 2011, against the California Fish and Game Commission to invalidate regulations established through the MLPA process. The lawsuit cites a lack of statutory authority for the California Fish and Game Commission to adopt the closure regulations. The Commission relies on a statute that was enacted as part of the Marine Managed Areas Improvement Act. This Act has certain prerequisites to regulatory action, which the Commission admittedly did not satisfy.
Despite this, a judge in the San Diego Superior Court ruled against Coastside Fishing Club in October 2011, upholding the MLPA regulations. After a careful review, Coastside concluded that the ruling is inconsistent with the mandates of the law as established by the legislature, and initiated the appeal process. A ruling from the appellate court is expected by year’s end.
“The legal effort against the MLPA is our best chance to stop these burdensome closures from continuing to negatively impact California’s fishing community,” said Ali Hussainy, president of BDOutdoors.com. “The best way for anglers to help fight for their fishing rights in California is to visit www.SaveCAFishing.org and make a contribution. All anglers need to stand together and fight for our right to fish before it’s too late.”
Along with the PSO, BDOutdoors launched www.SaveCAFishing.org to raise awareness of the legal challenge against the flawed MLPA process and to provide an opportunity for all anglers, boaters and anyone interested in fair legal process to contribute to the effort. Under the “Donate” section of the site, individuals can contribute $5.00 or more a month on a recurring basis, or make a one-time donation. All proceeds will directly support legal action to keep California’s healthy and abundant coastal waters open to recreational fishing.
Image courtesy Partnership For Sustainable Oceans