March 5, 2009: – - The Surfrider Foundation is currently working with a wide variety of individuals and organizations on the Marine Life Protection Act –or MLPA. The MLPA is a state law that requires establishing a “network” of marine protected areas along the California coastline. This law is currently being implemented in Southern California.
Much like our National Parks protect special places on land, these Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) offer heightened protection for marine life to thrive and people to enjoy. In short, MPAs protect special places for their “intrinsic value”–preserving ecological abundance for generations to come. MPAs around the globe have become popular attractions for people to enjoy nature’s beauty and abundance.
Establishing MPAs can also help restore healthy fisheries. Studies show alarming declines in fish populations worldwide. Fishermen are now catching half of what they did in 1990 and the fish they do catch are 45 percent smaller. Some local fisheries may take 50-80 years to recover. MPAs allow marine life populations to increase and individual species to grow to full maturity–which increases the number of off-spring from protected areas. These larger populations may “spill over” the boundaries of MPAs and provide improved fishing in areas adjacent to MPAs.
The state of California adopted the MLPA in 1999 and created the opportunity for members of the public to participate in identifying special places worthy of heightened protection. Surfrider Foundation members represent a broad spectrum of people who enjoy time in the ocean surfers, fishers, divers, kayakers, sailors and others who just love the natural beauty of our coast and ocean. Our collective knowledge from this experience can help design an effective network of MPAs.
The Surfrider Foundation is gathering information and recommendations from local communities to help formulate a regional network of MPAs. Our goal is to balance our members’ commitment to restoring and protecting our coast and ocean for generations, with our support of sustainable and accessible fishing opportunities.
Help establish successful Marine Protected Areas by completing this survey (all responses are anonymous).
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About Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Now in its 25th year, the Surfrider Foundation has grown from a small group of dedicated surfers in Malibu, California to a global movement made up of over 50,000 members and 90 chapters worldwide.