First, two MPAs already in effect in the north central and central coast regions have undergone status changes. These changes demonstrate the evolving nature of this growing network of MPAs along California’s coastline. In the north central coast region, part of the Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve (SMR) has been set aside as the Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA). The change to this MPA was made in response to concerns raised by abalone divers and other user groups. This decision demonstrates the adaptive management strategy that governs the California network of MPAs whereby future management plans are informed by real-time issues. The Stewarts Point SMCA now allows the take of specific marine species from shore. For more information please view the complete guide to MPAs of the north central coast, http://californiampas.org/pubs/nccmpas_guide.pdf.
In the central coast region, the State Parks Commission made the decision to redesignate the Cambria SMCA as a State Marine Park (SMP). This change provides additional protection on top of the initial California Department of Fish and Game’s designation, now all commercial extractive activities are prohibited. Here is an updated map of the central coast MPAs with this SMP change incorporated, . Second, earlier this month, the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) unanimously voted to forward a single, community-based MPA proposal for the north coast to the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) for approval. The MPA proposal, developed by the 33-member north coast regional stakeholder group (NCRSG), will be presented in Sacramento to the FGC in February 2011. The north coast community should be congratulated for their collaboration and on reaching consensus on the proposal. To read more about this phase of the MLPA, please go here. http://californiampas.org/pubs/CA_CC_MPA_Poster_4MuseumExhibit_newLogo.jpg.
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