Friday, March 23 , 2018, 9:44 pm | Fair 55º


Here’s Your Chance to Have Your Say about Local Ocean Use

Marine Life Protection Act's task force taking testimony Thursday on plan's scope and extent.

If you’ve got an opinion on how local marine areas should be used, the Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force wants to hear from you. Thursday, at Hotel Mar Monte, 1111 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

The task force, chaired by Don Benninghoven, a Santa Barbara resident and former CEO of the League of California Cities, is guiding the implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m., with a public comment period scheduled around 11 a.m.

“The Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting in Santa Barbara is a great opportunity for people to learn about this effort to protect our incredible coastal resources, and to present their own opinions about how and where to establish these protections,” said Michael Sheehy, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s marine conservation coordinator.

“We encourage community members who use and value the coast and ocean to attend this meeting and share their ideas with the task force.”

The Marine Life Protection Act was enacted in 1999 with the goal of determining which parts of California state waters should be protected to preserve habitats while at the same time causing as little impact as possible to the socioeconomic welfare of those who use the waters for business, recreation, science and other purposes.

The Marine Life Protection Act Initiative is currently focusing on the Southern California Bight, a section of the coast and ocean that stretches from Point Conception to Baja. The Bight can be considered the most significant segment of coast for the MLPA, both in size and its socioeconomic impact on the rest of the state. In Santa Barbara, fishing, both commercial and recreational, is a $25 million industry.

Following the meeting, the task force will take a tour of select coastal sites, including anticipated stops at Sea Landing, Arroyo Burro Beach, Goleta Pier and Coal Oil Point Reserve where Channelkeeper science director Jessie Altstatt will talk about marine resources in the area. The public is invited to attend this tour as well.

Click here for more information on the MLPA from the state Department of Fish & Game.

Write to [email protected]

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