Wednesday, October 28, 2009

MLPAs back on agenda

Marine life meeting slated for Thursday, October 29

By Kurt Madar, The Daily Triplicate
October 27, 2009

The process for creating marine protected areas along the North Coast will once again be discussed in Crescent City on Thursday.

The Marine Life Protection Act Initiative is holding three open house workshops this week, one of them here.

The MLPA process designs marine protected areas along the California coast.

The North Coast is the fourth region in California to go through the MLPA process.

Due to a significant amount of interest from local groups, the MLPA Initiative has extended the deadline for external proposals, officials an­nounced last week.

Part of the pro­cess is forming a Scientific Advisory Team (SAT) and Regional Stake­hol­der Group, both of which will be res­ponsible for dev­el­op­ing a proposal as to where marine protected areas (MPAs) should be placed.

If You Go

■ WHAT: Marine Life Protection Act Initiative open house/workshop

■ WHEN: Thursday October 29, 4:30-8:30 p.m.

■ WHERE: Board of Supervisors Chamber, Flynn Center, 981 H St., Crescent City

“After the open house where people will be able to ask questions; there will be a workshop,” said MLPA Initiative representative Annelore Reisewitz. “The workshop will provide training for individuals and groups interested in developing external proposals.”

The training workshop will cover development of the key components of possible external MPA proposals — including science and feasibility guidelines — and training in MarineMap, the MLPA Initiative’s online mapping tool.
External proposals would be developed by individuals and groups outside of the SAT or stakeholder group.

“The extension of the deadline till February 1, 2010, is completely new for this study region,” Reisewitz said. “We are starting the external process first, which we haven’t done before.”

Three types of MPAs could be established on the North Coast.

The three levels of protection are primarily based on the severity of the take limit. From least restrictive to most, they include marine conservation areas, marine parks, and marine reserves (which would be no-take areas).

All three of the open-house workshop meetings run from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. in three different locations along the North Coast study region.

The local meeting will be at the Board of Supervisors Chamber in the Flynn Center, 981 H St.

A Fort Bragg meeting will be held Tuesday and a Eureka meeting is Wednesday at the Red Lion Inn, 1929 Fourth St.

In response to the ongoing MLPA Initiative process, local near-shore fishermen had a well-attended fish feed at the fairgrounds Sunday to raise money.

The event was a fundraising effort to raise money for retaining a lawyer to ensure that local near-shore fishermen are adequately represented in the MLPA process.

“I’m really happy with the turnout,” said organizer and local fishermen Kenyon Hensel. “It’s good to see so much community support.”

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