Dec 17 2010

Commission approves series of marine protected areas off California coast

By Joshua Molina Correspondent

December 15, 2010

Wearing droopy gray sweatpants and with a chewed up toothpick dangling from his mouth, 63-year-old Ace Carter sat on a folding chair in front of the Hotel Mar Monte proudly waving a protest sign — “Stop the enviro Nazis!”

A third-generation fisherman and licensed private detective, Carter arrived in front of the Santa Barbara hotel at 7 a.m. Wednesday to protest the California Fish and Game Commission’s vote on marine protected areas.

“There are plenty of fish,” Carter said. “This whole thing is a sham. It’s a done deal.”

About eight hours later, Carter’s fears came true.

In a historic vote, the Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to approve a series of marine protected areas — essentially underwater parks designed to protect fish and block out fishermen.

The ocean, advocates say, has become polluted and the sheer numbers of fish have diminished because of overfishing. Critics of the plan say that the health of the ocean is fine and that creating protected areas only harms people who make a living off the sea.

The commission’s approval of the Integrated Preferred Alternative paves the way for the creation of more than four dozen marine protected areas over more than 300 miles, from Point Conception to Mexico along the Southern California coastline.

Read more here.

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