New 2012 Fishing Restrictions Start in Southern California
New marine protected areas went into effect January 1, 2012 from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County, California, to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the California’s Department of Fish and Game.In December, 2011, the state Office of Administrative Law approved the regulatory package put forward by the California Fish and Game Commission that sets rules and boundaries for the south coast marine protected areas (MPAs).
In 2011 the California Commission adopted regulations to create a suite of MPAs in the south coast region. Developed pursuant to the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), this network of 50 MPAs (including 13 pre-existing MPAs retained at the northern Channel Islands) and two special closures covers about 354 square miles of state waters and represents about 15% of the region.
California’s first six MPAs were created between 1909 and 1913; by 1950 all had been removed. After 1950 more than 50 other MPAs were created along the California coast. But these MPAs were established in a random manner and without regard to regional conservation goals. Most have been thought to be too small and ineffective in protecting against habitat and species loss. With these existing MPAs less than 1% of coastal waters were protected, and none extended to deeper waters. In 1999 the MLPA was created in order to re-evaluate the current MPA system and to establish a better network of MPAs that would be more effective in protecting against habitat and species loss.
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