Underwater parks flow into So Cal
California wildlife regulators recently approved a network of underwater parks that will limit or restrict fishing along Southern California’s coastline, a plan that has long received opposition from commercial fishermen in the area, according to The Associated Press and other media reports.
In mid-December, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to establish a set of protected zones along the 250-mile coastline between Mexico and Santa Barbara County. During dozens of public meetings over a two-year period, commercial fishing outfits insisted that limiting or restricting fishing would hurt an already-struggling fishing industry. They also noted that fishing is already regulated, and expressed concerns that the state may not have the resources necessary to enforce the new regulations.
However, conservationists have emphasized the importance of recreation, as well as a desire to see fish populations return to the area in abundance.
California’s 1,100-mile coast was divided into five sections to comply with the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999. Two sections in Northern and Central California are already protected.