The California Fish and Game Commission will hold a meeting in Eureka at 1 pm on June 6 to discuss and possibly adopt the proposed changes to the "marine protected areas" for the North Coast created under the controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.
Number 1 on the agenda is the regular public forum where "any member of the public may address the Commission regarding the implementation of its policies or any other matter within the jurisdiction of the Commission. The issue to be discussed should not be related to any item on the current agenda."
"As a general rule, action cannot be taken on issues not listed on the agenda. At the discretion of the Commission, staff may be requested to follow up on such items," according to the Commission.
Number 2 on the agenda is: (A) final certification of the environmental document and adopting of findings for proposed changes to Section 632, Title 14, CCR, re. marine protected areas for the North Coast Study Region and (B) discussion and possible adoption of proposed changes to Section 632, Title 14, CCR, re. marine protected areas for the North Coast Study Region.
Item Number 3 - and unrelated to the North Coast MLPA plan - is the receipt of information regarding Pacific Gas and Electric Company's Seismic Testing Project in Central California.
The agenda is available at: http://www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings...
One big question is whether or not the Commission will adopt a proposal that the Yurok Tribe delivered before the Commission on April 11 providing them "an opportunity to better protect the Tribe's right to traditional harvest of marine resources," according to a press release from the Tribe after that meeting.
The April Fish and Game Commission meeting was one of the final steps in the MLPA Initiative process to create "marine protected areas" in the North Coast Study Region. The North Coast Study Region begins at Alder Point near Point Arena and ends at the California/Oregon border.
The deadline for written comments regarding the MLPA environmental impact report (EIR) was April 16. The Commission originally planned to make its final decision regarding the marine protected areas in Eureka on Thursday, June 14, but changed the date to June 6.
Reading Rock's designation as 'State Marine Reserve' contested
Representatives of the Tribe, the largest in California, proposed the following regarding Reading Rock, a traditional gathering site off the Humboldt County coast.
• Reading Rock- Tribal Take Option (B) Reclassify Reading Rock from a State Marine Reserve to a State Marine Conservation Area. This would allow for specific federally recognized tribes to take living marine resources pursuant to existing regulations.
• Reading Rock SMCA- Name Option (B) Rename as Reading Rock Onshore SMCA if Reading Rock SMR Take Option B (above) is selected.
• 'No change' for the specific location of False Klamath Rock Season Special Closure and require the "Special Closure" for False Klamath Rock to be dealt with in a future process.
The Draft Environmental Impact Report reviews, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), two different proposals. The first is a "No Project Alternative," which compares "the impact of approving the action against the impacts of not approving the action."
"The Revised Round 3 NCRSG MPA Proposal, crafted and supported by a wide array of coastal stakeholders including all of the city, county and tribal governments in the study area, was taken off the table by the Marine Life Protection Act's Blue Ribbon Task Force, despite much opposition from most of the stakeholders and supporters including the Yurok Tribe," the Tribe stated.
"In the Enhanced Compliance Alternative, the second proposal, there are two possible protected areas within Yurok ancestral territory near Reading Rock and False Klamath Rock. At Reading Rock, there are two options before the Commission," the Tribe said.
The first, and current preferred alternative under the MLPA process, is an offshore State Marine Reserve (SMR) status that calls for zero human take of any marine species, according to the Tribe.
The second option is a State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) designation, both on and offshore, which would allow some commercial and recreational harvest, while authorizing access to Tribal members with a valid Tribal ID card.
The proposal also calls for a Seasonal Special Closure for False Klamath Rock. In this area there would be a 300-foot seasonal closure around the rock from March 1 to August 31 for avian nesting.
"Yurok people are a vital part of the marine ecosystem. Yurok Tribal members have traditionally harvested marine resources for subsistence or ceremony in a way that is culturally appropriate and completely since time immemorial," the Tribe stated.
Tribes organized direct action to defend rights
In 2010 and 2011, members of North Coast Indian Tribes organized direct action protests to defend traditional gathering rights.
In the most recent protest, members of the Yurok, Hoopa Valley, Karuk and other Tribes on June 18, 2011 gathered seaweed, mussels and clams at three beaches on the North Coast to protest proposed restrictions on coastal gathering proposed under the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. The Tribal members, organized by the grassroots Klamath and Coastal Justice Coalitions, gathered at Patrick's Point State Park, Clam Beach and Wilson Creek Beach near Klamath.
"Our rights are not negotiable," said Hoopa Tribal Citizen Dania Rose Colegrove, an organizer for the Klamath Justice Coalition, who gathered seaweed and mussels along with 11 others at Patrick's Point. "The state of California, under the MLPA Initiative, is trying to make us into 'recreational users.' However, where we gather as Tribal members is none of their business."
To view a video of the 2011 protest, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
For more information, go to: http://klamathjustice.blogspot...
For more information on the North coast MLPA process, visit online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/ mlpa/northcoast.asp.
Big oil lobbyist led South Coast MLPA panel
So-called "marine protected areas" created under the MLPA Initiative went are already in place on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and South Coast. The "marine protected areas" that went into effect in Southern California waters on January 1, 2012 were developed under the helm of a big oil lobbyist.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force that created "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from oil spills and drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy projects and all other human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.
Reheis-Boyd is a relentless advocate of offshore oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the Keystone XL Pipeline and the evisceration of environmental laws. Besides chairing the South Coast MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force, she also served on the North Coast and North Central Coast panels.
On May 7, Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird and Director of Fish and Game Chuck Bonham announced that implementation of so-called "marine protected areas" in San Francisco Bay will be delayed until the completion of "planning efforts" for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). (http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2012/05/07/bay-mlpa-process-delayed-...)
The BDCP is a plan to build a peripheral canal or tunnel to export more Delta water to southern California and corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. A broad coalition of Delta residents, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, Indian Tribes, family farmers, grassroots environmentalists and elected officials is opposing the peripheral canal's construction because it would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species and take vast areas of Delta farmland out of production under the guise of habitat "restoration."