Archive | Marine Protected Areas

MLPA Letter

Dear MLPA Initiative participant,

Thank you very much to those of you who have already responded to our initial invitation to participate in an online survey exploring how the MarineMap software aided individual and group thinking during the Marine Life Protection Area (MLPA) Initiative. If you have not yet had a chance to complete the survey, we would highly value your participation. We ask that you complete the survey by June 30, 2012.

As you probably know from your participation in the MLPA Initiative, MarineMap was used extensively to create, refine, and discuss proposed marine protected areas (MPAs). Our research study is investigating how specific features of the tool and circumstances in which it was used influenced participants’ decision-making. Our hope is to eventually inform future software design.

Given your commitment to the MLPA Initiative and MPA planning process, I hope this project will be of interest and that you will agree to participate in the survey. (To thank you for your time, you will also have the chance to enter a random drawing to win one of three $50 gift cards.)

Click here to access the online survey; it should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. All results will remain anonymous and confidential; the Stanford University Institutional Review Board has approved this study.

The research is being carried out by Amanda E. Cravens and Dr. Nicole Ardoin of Stanford University with the support of Dr. Will McClintock of UC Santa Barbara. Any of the team members will be pleased to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Thank you in advance for your participation,

Amanda E. Cravens
Stanford University

Dr. Nicole Ardoin
Stanford University

Dr. Will McClintock
University of California – Santa Barbara

Thank You Ocean Report: Enforcement of Marine Protected Areas

Dear Ocean and Coastal Community,

A network of marine protected areas (MPAs) are in the process of being established along California’s 1,100 mile coastline. One of the critical aspects of managing these MPAs is enforcement.

On this podcast, we talk with California Department of Fish and Game Assistant Chief Tony Warrington about some of the issues surrounding enforcement of MPAs. We invite you to listen this video podcast by visiting (Photo credit: California Dept. of Fish and Game)

Don’t forget to check out our new web page in English and Spanish that provides the public with basic information about why MPAs are an important tool for resource protection and an overview of both state and federally-designated MPAs.

A new Thank You Ocean Report podcast will be posted approximately every two weeks. You can subscribe to the podcast by visiting and clicking on the podcast feed of your choice (iTunes, Yahoo, Google, etc.).


Matt Stout
Chief of Staff/Communications Director, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Co-Chair, California Thank You Ocean Campaign
Amy Vierra
Ocean and Coastal Policy Analyst, California Natural Resources Agency

Interim Co-Chair, California Thank You Ocean Campaign

Notice of preparation of environmental document regarding marine protected areas in the northern California region pursuant to the Marine Life Protection Act

The California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) will be the lead agency reviewing and potentially adopting proposed regulations for marine protected areas (MPAs) in State waters within the northern California coast region. Pursuant to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Department of Fish and Game (Department) will prepare a CEQA equivalent draft environmental document for the Commission regarding the Proposed Project…. Read more (PDF)

MSC Adjudicator On PNA Skipjack Invites ISSF For Solution

Michael Lodge, the MSC Independent Adjudicator on the certification process of the PNA free school skipjack fisheries has announced that he has asked the tuna industry organizations ISSF, OPAGAG and also EUROTHON whether they consider that the certification body’s (Intertek Moody’s) response provides any reasonable basis for exploring an acceptable solution other than adjudication.

With this move the PNA MSC certification procedure has entered its final stage.

Early August, ISSF, OPAGAG and EUROTHON had all three submitted objections against the report by the certification body, which was positive about the MSC certification of the PNA skipjack fisheries. Also supportive comments were received from the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community) and the PNA Secretariat and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

Last week, Intertek Moody’s gave a formal response to the three objections to the adjudicator, and basically stood by all its earlier conclusions.

The next step in the MSC process is for the adjudicator now to determine whether there is a possibility of a settlement; i.e. whether the differences between the parties may be resolved through a mutually acceptable adjustment to the Final Report and Determination. This has earlier happened in the case of the MSC certification process of the New Zealand Albacore fisheries, in which ISSF was also the objecting party.

In his letter dated September 7th, Michael Lodge asks the PNA and the objectors whether they consider that the certification body’s response provides any reasonable basis for exploring an acceptable solution other than adjudication. Parties are requested to give their response before September 17th.

In case the answer from ISSF and its allies would be negative to this question, then the only way forward would be to proceed to adjudication, an arbitration procedure.

Lodge says: “if there is a possibility that in-depth consultations may be helpful, I feel that the possibility should be explored in order to avoid further delays and costs”.

Fish and Game Commission Will Discuss New Effective Date for South Coast MPAs

The California Fish and Game Commission will discuss alternative effective dates for implementation of the Southern California marine protected areas (MPAs) at its next meeting. The MPAs were previously expected to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2011, after the Commission chose that date at its June meeting. They will now discuss a new implementation date at the Sept. 15 meeting in Redding.

This decision comes after the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) informed the Commission that they will not approve the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) south coast MPAs regulatory package in time to make it effective Oct. 1, 2011 as anticipated. It is a complicated package and OAL informed the Commission that it has additional questions and requests for more information that will require a re-notice.

On Dec. 15, 2010 the Commission adopted regulations to create a suite of MPAs in the South Coast Study Region, which spans state waters from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the U.S./Mexico border. Developed under the MLPA Initiative planning process, this network of 36 MPAs will be added to the 13 existing MPAs and two special closures in the Northern Channel Islands, which were established in 2003. Combined, the 49 MPAs and two special closures cover approximately 354 square miles of state waters and represent approximately 15 percent of the region.

North coast MPAs at F&GC meeting, June 29

California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Announcement

Who: California Fish and Game Commission
What: Two additional briefing documents for agenda item #5 regarding options for north coast MPAs.
(1) MLPA Initiative recommended options and sub-options for north coast MPAs, and
(2) updated DFG unresolved issues supplemental report.
When: Agenda item #5 to be heard on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 in Stockton
Where: Both briefing documents are attached to this message and will also be posted to the MLPA
website at  The commission’s June 29 draft agenda may be
found at (also attached to this message).

Draft South Coast MPA Monitoring Plan Available for Public Comment

The MPA Monitoring Enterprise (a program of the California Ocean Science Trust) and the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) are pleased to announce the release of the Draft South Coast MPA Monitoring Plan (Draft Plan) for public comment.

The Draft Plan was prepared by the Monitoring Enterprise in collaboration with DFG, and is designed to ensure marine protected area (MPA) monitoring in the region will meet the requirements of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). This includes evaluating the performance of the South Coast regional MPA network against the MLPA goals to inform future MPA management decisions, thereby facilitating adaptive MPA management. The Draft Plan was developed through a consultative process with scientists, stakeholders and the public in the South Coast region.

The Monitoring Enterprise is seeking public comment as an important step in improving the Draft Plan. Comments on all aspects of the Draft Plan are welcomed. The Draft Plan can be downloaded as a pdf file from the Monitoring Enterprise South Coast webpage. Copies are available at a variety of locations in the South Coast region. Limited print copies are also available upon request.

Written comments on the Draft Plan are requested by 5:00pm PDT on Friday, May 27th. Comments may be submitted via the following methods:

1. An online comment form
2. Email:
3. Mail: MPA Monitoring Enterprise – Plan Comments
California Ocean Science Trust
1330 Broadway, Suite 1135
Oakland, CA 94612

A Microsoft Word version of the public comment form can be downloaded here.

The Monitoring Enterprise will consider all comments received, but will not respond individually to submitted comments. Following revision in response to public comment, this plan will be submitted for consideration by the California Fish and Game Commission in summer 2011.

Please contact Kelly Sayce with any questions about providing comments or accessing a copy of the Draft Plan:, or 310-738-2665.

We would like to distribute this as widely as possible, so please feel free to send this to any people or organizations who may in interested in providing comments.

Thank you for your support and continued interested in the Monitoring Enterprise.