Hearing on marine protected areas set for Wednesday in San Diego


Light Staff

The Fish & Game Commission’s final public discussion hearing regarding marine protected areas in Southern California, including areas designated in La Jolla, will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Four Points by Sheraton at 8110 Aero Drive in San Diego.

The topic is expected to take all day, with public comment beginning about 10:15 a.m.

A large turnout is expected from both environmentalists supporting stronger and larger marine protected areas and fisherman and other commercial interests seeking less stringent smaller areas of protection.

This is the only Fish & Game Commission meeting in San Diego this year and is nearly the last of more than sixty days of public meetings conducted in the past two years. It is also the final public discussion before the Fish & Game Commission approves in December an established network of marine protected areas in Southern California.

Known as “underwater state parks,” marine protected areas set aside sensitive ecosystems to allow marine life and habitats an opportunity to recover and thrive.

Since its adoption in 1999, the Marine Life Protection Act required implementation of these areas along the state’s entire coastline.

Scientific studies of over 80 marine reserves worldwide, 30 of which are in habitats similar to California’s, show such reserves allow fish populations to replenish and fish and other animals to grow larger within the reserve’s protected boundaries.