By Dan Bacher, IndyBay
February 7, 2010
Under political pressure from North Coast fishermen and environmentalists, California’s MLPA Initiative staff on Saturday, February 6 announced that Jim Bassler, a Mendocino County commercial fisherman, has been added to the MLPA North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group.
The stakeholder group is responsible for developing recommendations for "alternative marine protected areas" to help the State of California implement Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial fast-track Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process.
"This past week, many citizens contacted the director of Fish and Game, John McCamman, and the chair of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force, Cindy Gustafson, to request more representation of commercial fishing interests in the Mendocino County area," according to Annie Reisewitz from the MLPA Initiative.
"Members of the stakeholder group are intended to help ensure that multiple perspectives are heard in the MLPA Initiative’s marine protected area planning process," Reisewitz stated. "Jim Bassler has the experience and ability to reach out and include not only commercial fishing interests but also the interests of all communities along the Mendocino coastline. Bassler is a small-boat fisherman who fishes primarily for nearshore rockfish, crab and salmon along the Mendocino coast; he a member of the Salmon Trollers Marketing Association in Fort Bragg."
Bassler’s addition brings the stakeholder group to a total of 32 residents of Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino counties within the MLPA North Coast Study Region, which encompasses state waters from the California-Oregon border to Alder Creek near Point Arena in Mendocino County.
The stakeholder group will work with a blue ribbon task force, science advisory team, and MLPA staff "to help California improve the design and management of the north coast portion of a statewide network of marine protected areas," said Reisewitz. The first meeting of the stakeholder group is Monday, Feb. 7 and Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2010 at the Red Lion Inn, 1929 Fourth Street in Eureka.
"We're pleased that Jim Bassler was appointed," said Jim Martin, the Mendocino County MLPA Outreach Coordinator. "He was one of the people nominated by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to be on the stakeholders group. However, there are still gaps in representation from Mendocino County."
For example, there are no representatives from Albion Harbor or from grassroots ocean protection groups, such as Judith Vidaver, chair of the Ocean Protection Coalition. "We hope the initiative staff fills these gaps," said Martin.
Collectively, the stakeholder group members represent "broad interests and perspectives" from the states north coast region, from the border with Oregon to the Point Arena area in Mendocino County, according to a Department of Fish and Game news release. The stakeholder group includes representatives of recreational angling and diving groups, tribes, commercial fishing and other ocean-dependent business interests, ports and harbors, conservation groups, educational and research interests, and government agencies.
Critics of Schwarzenegger's MLPA process have charged that the process is rife with conflicts of interest, mission creep and the corruption of the democratic process and violates tribal sovereignty by not considering traditional seaweed gathering and fishing rights.
For more information about the MLPA Initiative, please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa.
Below is the list of members of the stakeholders group prior to the addition of the new member:
California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative
Members of the North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group
Revised January 27, 2010
Steve Chaney, Superintendent, Redwood National Park
Russ Crabtree, Tribal Administrator, Smith River Rancheria
Greg Dale, Southwest Operations Manager, Coast Seafood Company
John Dixon, Ecologist, California Coastal Commission
Henry “Ben” Doane, board member, Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers and Klamath Management Zone Fisheries Coalition
Brandi Easter, member, Humboldt Skin Divers
Don Gillespie, retired teacher and board member, Friends of Del Norte and Smith River Alliance
Benjamin Henthorne, Environmental Coordinator, Hopland Band of Pomo Indians
Jacque Hostler, Chief Executive Officer and Transportation & Land-Use Director, Trinidad Rancheria
Robert Jamgochian, educator, Mendocino High School of Natural Resources
Dave Jensen, President, Mendocino Coast Audubon Society
Tim Klassen, Owner, Reel Steel Sportfishing
Larry Knowles, Owner, Rising Tide Sea Vegetables
Zack Larson, Consultant, Zack Larson and Associates and Chair, Del Norte County Fish and Game Advisory Commission
William Lemos, retired teacher and consultant, Natural Resources Defense Council
Kevin McGrath, member, Shelter Cove Fisherman’s Alliance
Kevin McKernan, California Program Director, National Conservation System Foundation
Aaron Newman, President, Humboldt Fisherman’s Marketing Association
Pete Nichols, Executive Director, Humboldt Baykeeper
Charlie Notthoff, Owner, Nothoff Underwater Service
Megan Rocha, Assistant Self Governance Officer, Yurok Tribe
Jennifer Savage, North Coast Program Coordinator, The Ocean Conservancy
Valerie Stanley, member, Noyo River Indian Community
Atta Stevenson, Acting President, Inter-Tribal Council of California and member, Laytonville Rancheria
Thomas Trumper, Owner/diver, Pacific Rim Seafood
Adam Wagschal, Conservation Director, Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District
Rob Wakefield, member, Del Norte Fisherman’s Marketing Association
Reweti Wiki, Tribal Administrator, Elk Valley Rancheria
Harold Wollenberg, professional geologist
David Wright, member, NorCal Kayak Anglers and Vice Chair, Surfrider Foundation’s Mendocino Chapter
Richard Young, Chief Executive Officer and Harbormaster, Crescent City Harbor District