La Jolla Parks and Beaches group seeks clarification about marine sanctuaries

Wildcoast Conservation Director Ben McQue, of WindanSea, installed a sign at the end of Palomar Avenue in La Jolla Jan 30 identifying one of the four marine protected areas off the coast of La Jolla. Palomar Avenue is the northern boundary of the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve, which spans south to Diamond Street in Pacific Beach and about three miles offshore. Photos wildcoast.net
Wildcoast Conservation Director Ben McQue, of WindanSea, installed a sign at the end of Palomar Avenue in La Jolla Jan 30 identifying one of the four marine protected areas off the coast of La Jolla. Palomar Avenue is the northern boundary of the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve, which spans south to Diamond Street in Pacific Beach and about three miles offshore. Photos wildcoast.net
photo
Wildcoast Conservation Director Ben McQue, of WindanSea, installed a sign at the end of Palomar Avenue in La Jolla Jan 30 identifying one of the four marine protected areas off the coast of La Jolla. Palomar Avenue is the northern boundary of the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve, which spans south to Diamond Street in Pacific Beach and about three miles offshore. Photos wildcoast.net

Regulations for marine protected areas off La Jolla coast

• San Diego-Scripps Coastal State Marine Conservation Area:

Take of all living marine resources prohibited except the recreational take of coastal pelagic species (fish inhabiting the upper layers of the ocean), except market squid, by hook-and-line only.

• Matlahuayl Sate Marine Reserve:

Take of all living marine resources prohibited. Boats may be launched and retrieved only in designated areas and may be anchored within the reserve only during daylight hours.

• South La Jolla State Marine Reserve:

Take of all living marine resources prohibited.

• South La Jolla State Marine Conservation Area:

Take of all living marine resources prohibited, except the recreational take of pelagic finfish, including Pacific bonito, by hook-and-line only.

• Online MPA maps and info:

dfg.ca.gov/mlpa

(scroll down and click on the banner for South Coast)

By Pat Sherman

The public’s hazy understanding of the boundaries comprising La Jolla’s four new state marine protected areas (MPAs), and new regulations governing them, generated robust discussion during the Jan. 28 meeting of the La Jolla Parks & Beaches, Inc. (LJP&B) city advisory group.

The names and boundaries of three existing underwater reserves off the La Jolla coast, established by the City of San Diego and the California Department of Fish and Game in 1971, were altered on Jan. 1, 2012 per the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA).

The 1999 state law required all existing MPAs in California to be re-evaluated and reconfigured to function as a statewide network.

The law took more than a decade to implement, due to state budget constraints and opposition from various interest groups, Scripps Institution of Oceanography marine ecologist Ed Parnell told the

La Jolla Light.

A series of meetings with a government-appointed Fish and Game Commission were held from 2009 to 2011, during which scientists, environmental groups, commercial fishing representatives, government officials and other stakeholders offered input on the new boundaries and regulations.

However, there has been little information disseminated about the new reserves, which in La Jolla include: San Diego-Scripps Coastal State Marine Conservation Area, Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve, South La Jolla State Marine Reserve and South La Jolla State Marine Conservation Area.

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Recently placed signage alerts the public to new laws regulating fishing off the coast of La Jolla. California’s network of marine protected areas was implemented in 2012 to protect and restore the state’s coastal ecosystems and populations of abalone, lobster and other sea life.

“It was a very contentious process,” often pitting the interests of fishermen against conservationists, Parnell said.

LJP&B member Debbie Beacham, who attended several of the meetings, said she felt there was nobody there to represent the interests of La Jollans. Beacham noted that, until recently, there was no public signage identifying the reserves or their regulations, adding to public confusion.

“The Department of Fish and Game is now zooming all over La Jolla giving out tickets because people are standing on a beach with a fishing pole where they normally did for years — and now they can’t,” she said. “People have no clue.”

LJP&B member Mary Coakley-Munk added that though the mayors of various coastal cities, as well as representatives from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Kumeyaay Indians were represented during the decision-making process, to her knowledge the City of San Diego wasn’t well- represented, if at all.

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