In 2002, the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) established a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) within the near shore waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS). Four years later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) expanded the MPA network into the sanctuary’s deeper waters, encompassing a total of 318 square miles. The entire MPA network consists of 11 marine reserves where all forms of harvesting, including recreational fishing, are prohibited and two marine conservation areas that allow limited take of fish.
As part of the process of proposing new no-take MPAs, the CINMS Marine Reserve Working Group’s Socioeconomic Panel undertook an economic impact assessment. The Panel’s analysis vastly underestimated the economic impact of banning sportfishing in parts of the sanctuary. The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and United Anglers of Southern California commissioned Southwick Associates, Inc. of Fernandina Beach, Fla., to evaluate the Panel’s findings. Southwick Associates found the Panel’s analysis to be sound with the exception of two critical points:
Utilizing the same methods as the Panel, Southwick Associates reanalyzed the data correcting for the two discrepancies by replacing old data with recent expenditures data from the National Marine Fisheries Service and including anglers’ equipment expenditures in the analysis. The key findings of the Southwick Associates include :
With the implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), additional MPAs have been established, closing approximately 12 percent of southern California’s ocean to recreational fishing – including many of the state’s best recreational fishing areas. Visit the KeepAmericaFishing™ MLPA webpage to learn more about this process.