Court upholds state’s protection of marine life
April 15, 2013
• Rejects challenge from fishing group
• “We are loathe to hold the … regulations invalid”
California’s extensive system of “marine protected areas,” where state waters in the Pacific Ocean are closely regulated and where even recreational fishing can be banned, has been upheld by the state 4th District Court of Appeal.
Coastside Fishing Club of Martinez had sued the state, contending that the Fish and Game Commission had failed to follow the law in creating regulations for Marine Protected Areas and Marine Managed Areas for the North Central Coast region.
But both the San Diego County Superior Court and now the Court of Appeal have rejected the challenge, with the appellate court saying Monday that “the Commission acted within its statutory authority in adopting the NCC regulations.”
California’s marine protected areas make up the largest scientifically based network in the U.S. and second largest in the world.
The appellate ruling notes that the regulations for the North Central Coast “are the product of years of hard work by a multitude of interested persons, agencies, and organizations.”
The area affected by the NCC regulations extends from near Point Arena in Mendocino County south to Pigeon Point in San Mateo County and takes in about 20 percent of state waters in that area.
“Considering the enormous investment of time and effort by so many that went into their creation, we are loathe to hold the NCC regulations invalid and undo the arduous process that resulted in their adoption absent a compelling reason to do so. We find no such reason and conclude the trial court correctly ruled that the Commission acted within its statutory authority in adopting the NCC regulations,” the ruling says.
As regulations are adopted, it is estimated that eventually between 15 percent and 20 percent of state waters will be regulated as marine protected areas with fishing banned in portions of that.