On June 23, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) expressing concern with recent changes to the 2016 Final Draft Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
In accordance with California’s 1999 Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), the Commission established MPAs off the California coast, which were closed to recreational fishing to allow overfished fisheries to recover. However, despite the fact that the vast majority of Pacific fisheries have since recovered, MPAs remain closed to recreational fishing. The Commission, which last week considered a plan that would extend those closures, has given no indication that it plans to reopen MPAs to recreational fishing in the near future, despite having no scientific basis for keeping them closed.
In the letter, CSF expressed particular concern with the Commission’s lack of scientific basis for making a decision that will have a serious and continued impact on California’s angling community. Additionally, CSF urged the Commission to consider the needs and many contributions of the angling community in future decisions.
The Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal at an upcoming meeting and CSF will continue to work with our partners within the California sportsmen’s community to be a strong voice for the anglers in the Golden State.
Recreational fishing is an important economic driver, generating over $61 billion nationally. California’s 1.6 million anglers support 10,338 jobs, generating over $61 million in state and local taxes, and over $70 million in federal taxes.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?