Friday, December 18, 2009

Fish and Game Commission Update

Last week the Fish and Game Commission listened to testimony from hundreds of people regarding the final maps.   While there was no regulatory vote, the Commission did vote to start the environmental review process and identified the IPA as the "proposed project".

Below is a recent update from the MLPA Executive Director with a great explanation of what has happened thus far, and what is coming up.

Thanks for following Surfrider's work on the MLPA.  We know that it has been a contentious process--but Surfrider has never been afraid on taking on hard projects.  We only hope we can balance the needs of our members, and make new friends along the way.   Like GreenFish. 

Blue Ribbon Task Force

During its eleventh meeting on October 20-22 and November 10, the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) reviewed the "Round 3" MLPA South Coast Regional Stakeholder Group (SCRSG) marine protected area proposals and considered what to include in a preferred alternative to be recommended to the California Fish and Game Commission. The BRTF received analyses and evaluations of the Round 3 proposals from the MLPA Master Plan Science Advisory Team (SAT), California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) and MLPA Initiative staff. The SCRSG also provided the BRTF with background and process information regarding the development of Round 3 MPA proposals; the SCRSG also recommended changes to the proposals based on Round 3 results. More than 1,200 members of the public participated in two public comment periods, resulting in more than seven hours of verbal comment and hundreds of written comment.

After two days of discussion and deliberations, a subset of MPAs from the three SCRSG MPA proposals were tentatively identified by the BRTF for inclusion in a preferred alternative. In addition, the BRTF identified alternative options for four general geographies: Point Dume (three options), Palos Verdes (two options), Orange County (two options) and San Diego (four options). The BRTF recessed on October 22, requesting separate analysis on the alternative options under discussion. In addition, the BRTF indicated that all three revised SCRSG proposals would be forwarded to the commission.
On November 10, the BRTF reconvened to further discuss the different options. After several hours of deliberation and consideration of staff analyses, the task force unanimously adopted a preferred alternative that integrates elements from the three SCRSG MPA proposals, referred to as the MLPA South Coast Integrated Preferred Alternative MPA Proposal, or the IPA. The BRTF voted to recommend the IPA to the commission as the preferred alternative, and to also forward for consideration the three revised Round 3 SCRSG MPA proposals.

California Fish and Game Commission

At its joint meeting with the BRTF on December 9, the commission identified the IPA as the proposed project and guided staff to include revised SCRSG MPA proposals 1, 2, and 3 as alternatives, with the possibility of adding feasibility options developed by DFG. The commission made it clear that this vote was “guidance to staff” and not a regulatory vote. The commission also made it clear it was not selecting a “preferred” project at that time, but needed to designate a “proposed” project to allow staff to initiate the regulatory process under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As required by the California Administrative Procedure Act, the commission will hold at least two hearings to receive public comment on the proposed MPA regulations in the south coast to help inform a final decision; these hearings are anticipated to take place in the spring of 2010, where members of the public will have an opportunity to provide comments. There will also be an opportunity to comment on the draft environmental impact report developed under CEQA that is expected to be released for public review in 2010. Information about the commission meeting schedule and how to provide public comment can be found on the commission website at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Last Chance to Speak Up on South Coast Marine Protected Areas--Attend Commission Hearing on Dec 9 in LA

The 'end of the line' for South Coast Marine Protected Areas has arrived!  Dec 9th marks the final meeting in a 'yearlong process', and we need you to attend.  As you know, the Blue Ribbon Task Force unanimously voted to forward a final map to the Fish and Game Commission. The map, called the Integrated Preferred Alternative (IPA), is a hybrid map representing diverse Stakeholder views.

The MLPA, as a law, was designed and written to ensure diverse views were incorporated into the final map. Surfrider fully supports the IPA because we believe it contains a balance of conservation and fishing interests--and perspectives from all ocean users. The Commission will base its decision on public support--and that’s why they need to hear from you on Dec 9th! 

Please attend the hearing and express that you are concerned about preserving ocean resources and that you support a 'balanced' proposal that provides strong protection while incorporating diverse stakeholder perspectives.

If you would like help with talking points for the Dec 9th meeting, please contact Stefanie at:   To stay updated about Surfrider MLPA efforts and to send an action alert to the Commission here:

Dec 9th  Meeting Information:
Radisson Hotel--LAX 
ABC Ballroom 

6225 W. Century Blvd. 

Los Angeles, CA

Please take the time to fill out this action alert that will be sent to the Commission.

Thanks and hope to see you at the Dec 9th hearing!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Final BRTF Map Posted

The Integrated Preferred Alternative (IPA) as seen above (click to enlarge) has been posted on the MLPA website here: and is also available in Marine Map here: The name of the array for the IPA in Marine Map is: "MLPA South Coast Integrated Preferred Alternative (IPA)". You will want to use Marine Map if you are interested in seeing the regulations for each protected area.

As our post says below, Surfrider is supportive of the IPA because we feel it contains a balance of diverse perspectives from all ocean uses. Plus it contains important areas of habitat that will be critical for the longevity of MPAs in So Cal. Furthermore, the unanimous BRTF vote makes it clear that the IPA is getting the strongest possible recommendation to move forward to the DFG.

It is very important that people attend the Fish and Game Commission hearing on Dec 9th to voice support for the IPA. Surfrider will be creating talking points; and if you are interested in testifying in support of the IPA, please contact Stefanie at:

We are going to post an "action alert" next week so that you can personally write to the Fish and Game urging them to adopt the IPA.

Stay tuned....

Friday, November 13, 2009

Final MLPA map (finally) goes to Fish and Game Commission.

This week, the Blue Ribbon Task Force unanimously voted to forward the Integrated Preferred Alternative (IPA) map to the Fish and Game Commission.

The IPA is a hybrid map containing shapes from all the Regional Stakeholder Group maps. Surfrider is pleased with the map because we believe some of our recommendations were considered and incorporated into the final map. While it's not perfect, we believe the IPA contains a balance of conservation and fishing interests--and perspectives from all ocean users.

The BRTF will present the IPA to the Fish and Game Commission on Dec 9 and the Commission will make a final decision early in 2010.

Decision makers will be publishing the map on Wed, Nov 18 here.

The IPA is being viewed by decision makers as a compromise proposal. And we agree. In fact, we unequivocally agree because for the past year we have been working with "both sides of the isle"; so we know exactly what that compromise should look like.

The MLPA, as a law, was designed and written to ensure compromise is 'struck in the end'. Surfrider believes we were able to help find that balance. During this process, we made some great friends, encountered some lively debate, and spent a lot of time listening and mulling over the maps. We support the IPA and believe, in the end, it is balanced and includes Marine Protected Areas that will work for years to come.

Stay tuned as we will have further action to take before the Commission hearing on Dec 9th.

Here is some recent news coverage on the issue:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Updated Surfrider Map Recommendations

We decided to change our Laguna map shape so that the lines are facing perpendicular to the coast (as we mentioned in our memo that we submitted on Oct 11 to the BRTF).

In addition, we know there is support from other RSG members to have the lines moved perpendicular. So now it's reflected here:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Attend the Next MLPA Meeting to Support Surfrider Recommendations.

The time has finally come!

After a year of community outreach, "one-on-one" meetings, and working with Chapter Leaders, Surfrider is proposing recommendations to the final maps.

See our recommendations here:

Now, we need you to attend the Blue Ribbon Taskforce on Oct 21 and say you support the balanced and creative solutions Surfrider proposes (meeting location info below)!

If you would like help drafting talking points, please email Stefanie:

Meeting Information:

Wed, Oct 21, 2009

MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) meeting

Hilton Long Beach & Executive Meeting Center

701 West Ocean Blvd.

Long Beach, CA 90831

Public comment regarding the maps starts at 1:30pm and will go to approximately 4:30pm. Arrive before 1pm to fill out our speaker slip.

We hope you can make it on Oct 21 to support the map recommendations Surfrider is purposing!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Surfrider's Map Recommendations

The Surfrider Foundation sent the following map recommendations to the BRTF for consideration before their Oct 21 meeting .

View our recommendations here:

The meeting in Long Beach on Oct 21 is a very important meeting to attend. We hope Surfrider supporters will agree our recommendations and come to testify in support.

If you like some sample talking points about what to say when referencing Surf'rider's recommendations, please email Stefanie:

You can view all the current maps here:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recap on Surfrider Forums and What's next.

Thanks to everyone who attended our community forums over the past two weeks and everyone who has participated with us during our other outreach efforts. We greatly appreciate your feedback and specific comments about the proposed maps.

We have received some inquires about what's next in the process, as well as Surfrider Foundation’s role in the next steps

As we have said from the beginning, we will be representing our 10 chapters in the region and will make recommendations that reflect the will of our chapters and members.

Here's a break down of the timeline and activities:

What’s next for Surfrider and the MLPA?

Surfrider is compiling a comment letter that will go to the Blue Ribbon Taskforce (BRTF) by Oct 11. The letter will contain recommendations about the current maps based on the feedback we received from our community forums, our Chapter leaders, the outreach we conducted over the past year and the results of the Science Advisory Team’s analysis.

The BRTF will meet in Long Beach on Oct 20-22 where they will identify a 'preferred map' that will then be sent to the Fish and Game Commission for a final vote.

In December, the Fish and Game Commission has the final say and will vote to implement one map.

What does Surfrider Support?

The Surfrider Foundation is chapter member-driven organization. We listen to, and rely on, our chapter leaders, paid members, and supporters to make decisions; hence the reason we held community forums around Southern California.

At this point we are compiling all the information we have gathered to make recommendations to the Blue Ribbon Task Force for amending the current proposals. Why? Based on past experiences, there is a chance the BRTF could make amendments to the three proposed maps of the region.

We are taking this opportunity to make recommendations to the current proposals to more accurately reflect the concerns and recommendations we have received from our outreach efforts. We will have to wait and see the outcome of that process and what alternatives the BRTF will forward for final approval by the Fish and Game Commission.

In the meantime, here is a quick break down of what we heard from our members at our community forums and other outreach efforts. In general there is support for a proposal that includes as much protected area as possible, but with a "balanced" approach that takes into account the concerns of our members who fish. This is not surprising given the diversity in our membership. This "balance" is reflected in the message we are hearing from members in the areas below:

  • Santa Barbara Area--There was support for Map 3 and Map 1. That general support was balanced with the following recommendations: 1) Naples should be a Conservation Area that allows spearfishing for pelagic finfish; 2) there should be a small conservation area within the reserve at Devereaux (specifically at "Jailhouse Point") that allows spearfishing for pelagic finfish. We understand any modification at Devereaux will require flexibility in the Department of Fish and Game's "feasibility" guidelines – something we have been requesting all along.

  • LA Area--There was support for Map 3 and Map 1 -- especially in the Pt Dume area. Again, there was a mix of support for the larger area in a reserve (Map 3) as well as support for the "balance" member saw in Map 1. There was no support for the Map 2 proposal at Point Dume.
  • Laguna Area--There was support for Maps 2 and 1. A lot of our members in the area are concerned about how the proposed marine reserves will impact local fishing. There is also support for the larger reserve. Finally, there is some discussion about the need for a large reserve in Laguna when this area is looked at in the context of surrounding areas (Palos Verdes to the north and Encinitas to the south).
  • San Diego--A large percentage of audience members at this forum supported Map 3 as long as the conservation area north of Scripps is removed. Several attendees at the forum who expressed support for Map 2, after further discussion, appeared to support a reserve between Windansea and the Crystal Pier, but could not support Map 3 because of the conservation area north of Scripps. Interestingly, this sounds like two different ways to support for the same proposal.

Again, we will be taking this local input into consideration and awaiting the report from the Science Advisory Team to finalize our recommendations to the Blue Ribbon Task Force. We will post our written comments to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on October 11.

Once the Blue Ribbon Task Force has forwarded their recommendations to the Fish and Game Commission, we will re-evaluate all of this information, engage our members once again, and make a decision on the map that best represents our members’ diverse interests.

Thanks again for your support and awareness. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

View Regional Stakeholders Discuss Draft Final Maps.

Regional Stakeholders have spent close to a year perfecting maps of Marine Protected Areas for So Cal. Last week, they discussed their draft final designs. At our community forums we will be discussing these maps and the final step in the MLPA process. Check out their presentations!

MLPA Round 3 Map Discussions from Surfrider Foundation on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Surfrider Shares Ideas with the "Map-Makers"....the MLPA Regional Stakeholder Group.

Over the past year, Surfrider has been scurrying around meeting with our members, Chapter activists, elected officials, environmentalists, fishermen, recreationalists and other people interested in the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). We also polled our members and non members to gauge their views on where marine protected areas should be placed.

Last month at a MLPA meeting, we presented our findings to the Regional Stakeholder Group (AKA "the Map-Makers"). We also made recommendations on how we think the maps should continue to grow.

The below video is a compilation of testimony that will give you an idea of how we are working to build consensus within the MLPA process and introduce more creative thinking.

Hopefully some of our recommendations made into the final maps....we shall see! At our community forums later this month, we will examine the final proposals and discuss the different 'sets of maps' with our supporters. After the forums, we will compile all constrictive comments and rely them to decision makers before a final map is picked. We hope to see you at one of our forums!

Coastal Recreation Is Big Business for Southern California

A new peer-reviewed study by economists Linwood Pendleton and Chris LaFranchi found that the vast majority of coastal recreation in southern California is non-consumptive (does not involve the take or destruction of marine life). Moreover, these non-consumptive activities generate far more money than fishing. Protecting the ocean resources that attract millions of visitors to the south coast each year is not just a moral obligation for local communities; it’s an economic imperative.

The Pendleton and LaFranchi survey was commissioned by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation to help inform efforts to protect southern California’s ocean. It measured the number and type of coastal visitors and the amount of money they generate for local economies.

Recreational activities such as beach walking, swimming in the ocean, surfing, SCUBA diving, visiting tide pools and watching birds and other marine life attract millions of visitors to the south coast each year, where they spend money on parking, ice, food, rentals, accommodations and other items. These expenditures support local businesses, create jobs and provide tax dollars. The survey found that non-consumptive ocean visitors spent 40 times more during their visits than sport and commercial fishermen.

Below is a summary of the key findings from the report:

  • More than 93 percent of all visits between Point Conception and Point Fermin are estimated to be purely non-consumptive.
  • Of the total expenditures on coastal visits by Southern California residents, 81 percent came from purely non-consumptive visits, and only 2 percent came from purely consumptive visits. The remaining 17 percent came from trips that were a combination of consumptive and non-consumptive.
  • Non-consumptive visitors spend nearly $115 million annually.
  • Nearly 8 million nature-based visits were made by Southern California residents to coastal sites in this region.
  • On average, each non-consumptive ocean visitor spends between $25 and $32 per visit, per day.
  • The most popular activities for ocean visitors is “beach going” (63 percent of respondents participated), followed by “sitting in your car and watching the scene” (48 percent), “watching birds and/or other marine life from the shore” (31 percent) and “swimming in the ocean” (30 percent).
  • Coastal recreation generates tens of billions of dollars for local economies.
  • 70 percent of all Californians visit the ocean annually

Monday, August 31, 2009

Explore Maps of Marine Protected Areas with the Surfrider Foundation!

After a year of "map-making" and planning, the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process is in the home stretch. Local stakeholders are putting final touches on the maps and will come up with three different proposals. The three proposals will ultimately be forwarded to the Fish and Game Commission where they will vote on one map they think will work best for southern California.

The Surfrider Foundation is holding community forums up and down the So Cal coast to help local communities learn more about the Marine Life Protection Act
and to discuss the proposed maps.

This is one of your last chances to give meaningful input on where marine protected areas should be located! Please join us!

After each community forum, Surfrider will compile all constructive comments into a letter that will be sent to decision makers before the final vote. We need to hear from you!


  • 7:00-7:10--Welcome and brief overview.
  • 7:10-7:20--Summary of Surfrider's outreach efforts over the past year and what we learned from local communities and Surfrider supporters.
  • 7:20-7:40--Overview and discussion of each map.
  • 7:40-8:00--Questions & Answers.

WHEN: Four different forums will be held in the following areas:Orange County, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego. All forums will be from 7-8pm.


  • Sept 23. San Clemente Senior Center: 242 Avenida Del Mar. San Clemente, CA 92672.
  • Sept 24. Watershed Resource Center: 2981 Cliff Drive. Santa Barbara, CA 93109
  • Sept 29. Santa Monica Library--Ocean Park Branch: 2601 Main St. Santa Monica, CA 90405
  • Sept 30. Encinitas Community Center: 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive. Encinitas, CA 92024
Please come early as seating is limited!

More about the Marine Life Protection Act:
The MLPA is a law that requires the state to establish a "network" of marine protected areas from Oregon to the Mexican border. The goals of the MLPA are to: ‘set aside’ areas of the ocean to increase fish populations, enhance marine habitat, and to improve recreational and educational opportunities. Over the past year, Surfrider has been working with diverse groups of people including recreationalists, fishermen, environmentalists, and Chapter activists to ensure the law is effectively implemented.

To learn more about Surfrider's work on MLPA, email

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Surfrider's Own Joe Geever Featured in a Film about MPAs

Joe Geever, California Policy Coordinator, talks about his experience as a commercial fishermen and provides insight into the benefits of Marine Protected Areas.

Check out video here!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One of the Last Chances to Provide Input on Maps for Marine Protected Areas

The MLPA Regional Stakeholder Group (the people tasked with making the maps for protected areas) is entering into “Round 3 of map making”. After Round 3, the proposed maps will be given to the Blue Ribbon Taskforce and ultimately forwarded to the Fish & Game Commission for adoption into law. The time to provide input on where you want Marine Protected Areas is now! The Surfrider Foundation has been obtaining information from our supporters through our survey. Please complete the survey by Aug 1st, if you haven't already.

We plan on sharing the information we have gathered with the Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG) in order to help them create maps that reflect what local communities want!!

There are only a few more important MLPA meetings happening throughout the summer and fall. On July 28-29th The Blue RIbbion Taskforce will be meeting in Santa Monica. And on August 3rd and 4th, the RSG will be coming to San Diego (Carlsbad area).

If you are interested in testifying about marine protected areas, we encourage your attendance. If you can attend and/or would like help with talking points please, contact Stefanie at:

Go here to see all upcoming MLPA meetings:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Recent Letter to the Editor....

Check out a letter I recently wrote to the SD Union Tribune.....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Sense of Pride....

Since Surfrider started working on the MLPA in the south coast region, we have received a lot of feedback and emails from our members.  Two of my favorite emails came from active Surfrider members (one lives in Orange County and the other in San Diego).   

Within their emails they attached photos of recent fish they caught.  From their emails (and subsequent conversations),  these members expressed an understanding of how Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are biologically important and can work to help key habitat and fish populations grow.  And within the same breath, they also expressed concerns about marine reserves being placed in the right locations so that fishing is still accessible.  

Really, the whole MLPA equation comes down to placement....

(Good habitat + accessible/sustainable fishing = Successful MPAs)

Surfrider is gathering valuable information from our members/supporters through several vehicles including our survey (if you haven't taken it, please do).  We will take all the information we receive and make recommendations about where MPAs can go in order to meet the "cross interest support" the MLPA Blue Ribbon Taskforce is asking for.  

I'm sharing these photos because I want to pass on the pride these Surfrider members feel from being watermen.   But more importantly, I wanted to share a sense of pride I
 feel toward these members. 

They are motivated, respectful and are trying to work with Surfrider to ensure MPAs are located in good locations (i.e. areas that are biologically viable and 'make sense' for fishing).   Even if we don't agree on everything, we carry on... because in the end, we realize the MLPA is a law that must be implemented...and when it's all said and done,  those of us who have become invested in the MLPA process want to know we made a beneficial contribution.  And I for one, will pride myself on the fact that we WORKED TOGETHER to get it done right!   

In the meantime, I'll relish the sense of pride I feel after talking to these members who are   true watermen (surfers, fishermen, divers, and humble people who care about the ocean and are willing to do the hard work in order to watch over this important resource)!  


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Surfrider Cranking out Key MLPA Materials....

For those of you close to the Surfrider Foundation (and of course, those of you who religiously follow this blog ;-))  you probably noticed we've produced a lot of materials about the MLPA lately....  And as you may know, there is a lot of information, science, and opinions on how to implement this law.  We recently published a FAQ sheet about the MLPA (and that also states how Surfrider is involved with the process).   

While we designated a portion of our FAQ to the issue of access and non-extractive recreational uses, we felt it was necessary to also do a technical memo that analyzes sections of the law in order to provide more clarity on the situation. 

We hope it helps you understand and appreciate the MLPA just a little bit more! You can read the memo here:

Monday, June 29, 2009

MLPA on the Radio....

This morning,  KPBS produced a fantastic show about the MLPA and the upcoming public workshops happening in So Cal (don't forget to attend the workshop nearest you).

Take a few minutes to listen or read the story.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Welcome to Surfrider's MLPA Blog

The Surfrider Foundation has been following the Marine Life Protection Act since 1999.  The law was passed by the State of California to reevaluate current marine protected areas and to establish a network of protected areas from Oregon to the Mexican border.  

Surfrider created this FAQ sheet that will answer the easy and tough questions you might have about the MLPA. 

The purpose of this blog is to make sure our members and supporters are up to speed with our MLPA efforts.  The blog will also act as a calendar of sorts, so that you can stay informed about important MLPA meetings and other deadlines surrounding the creation of marine protected areas. 

Now is your chance to learn more about the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) and view proposals for protected areas in southern California.  Over the summer, MLPA Staff will be hosting open houses to display draft maps of marine protected areas; and to answer questions the general public might have about the MLPA.  You can swing by any time you like!  Go here to find a location near you.

In addition, the Surfrider Foundation will be hosting community forums later this summer so we can discuss the MLPA with our membership and supporters.  

It’s critical local communities are involved with the process of designating protected areas. That’s why the Surfrider Foundation is gathering information from local communities and our membership
. Our goal is to balance our members' commitment to restoring and protecting our coast and ocean, with our support of sustainable and accessible fishing opportunities.  If you have questions about MLPA or want to get involved, please contact Stefanie at:

To learn more about the history of MLPA and how the law is being implemented go here. 

Thanks for your support and awareness!