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Marine Life Protection Act will have negative impacts

By Carl Lind

La Jolla resident

In response to the July 15 ‘Reasons to back protection act, here are some important points. To understand California’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) it is important to know that it is not a scientific creation. It is political, approved by the legislature largely along party lines. At its heart is the attempt to ban sport fishing along much of California’s coastline by establishing “no-take” marine reserves.

Primary support for the MLPA comes from research institutions and the animal rights lobby. A motivation for the former is the desperately needed millions of dollars in potential study grants for the proposed reserves.

MLPA activists deceptively argue that the “oceans are in crisis.”

They neglect to say that California’s Department of Fish & Game has provided excellent stewardship of the state’s ocean waters. Certainly there are some problems, but no-take reserves are not the answer to any of them because they actually prohibit marine management. To create such a reserve, a boundary is established in an ocean area, and whatever happens within that area — is allowed to happen. It’s a Utopian, “nature knows best” approach that ignores real dangers to our environment.

One only has to see the hordes of sea lions along San Francisco’s waterfront, damaging boats and docks, eating marine resources and polluting the water to understand this. La Jolla has its own escalating pinniped problem.

Fortunately, all cities now have the right, under federal law, to control nuisance marine mammals. This right ceases to exist within the proposed MLPA no-take reserves. Why would any coastal city willingly give up its option to control problem animals by acquiescing to MLPA? Claims that existing no-take marine reserves are “successful” are mostly anecdotal. So many variables exist (e.g., water temperature, pollution, marine mammal predation) that scientific experiments are nearly impossible to replicate.

The negative effects of the MLPA will be both environmental and economic. It should be revised or abolished.