California's MPAs receive increases in funding, support for enforcement, and support through Active Monitoring Plan



On July 25, 2018, the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) considered approving increased funding for marine protected areas (MPAs).

EAC's Conservation Director spoke at the OPC meeting supporting MPA monitoring program and submitted two joint comment letters in support of this important program.

The OPC unanimously approved the increased funding, which is a huge victory for California's 124 MPAs! 

OPC's approvals include:
1) Disbursement of up to $1.2 Million to the Department of Parks and Recreation to administer year-round interpretive and educational opportunities to increase MPA education and regulatory compliance.

2) Disbursement of up to $3 Million to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division (CDFW LED) to increase patrols and resources for the CDFW LED Marine Enforcement District statewide.

[W]e are in strong support of the MPA monitoring program and the launch of Phase II, which will allow us to better understand climate change impacts and eco-system resilience....[W]e are [also] in strong support of OPC funding to enhance MPA education, compliance, and enforcement within California’s MPA network....
— Ashley Eagle-Gibbs, EAC's Conservation Director

Fishing: marine protected areas: violations 

In other good news, AB 2369 is working it's way through the state legislature. This bill increases MPA violation fines and is necessary to ensure the sustainable future of our ocean, statewide MPA network, and will help to protect California’s ocean resources. 

Read EAC and Other NGOs comment letter in support of AB 2369.

Ocean protection council releases
marine protected area monitoring action plan

This month, OPC and the California Fish and Wildlife's draft Marine Protected Area Monitoring Action Plan (Action Plan) is now available for public comment. The Action Plan focuses in four programmatic areas to support active management to ensure adaptive management that is informed by engaged partnerships including: 

  1. Outreach and Education
  2. Enforcement and Compliance
  3. Research and Monitoring
  4. Policy and Permitting

The Action Plan informs next steps for long-term MPA monitoring in California by aggregating and synthesizing work to date, as well as by incorporating novel, quantitative, and expert-informed approaches. This Action Plan prioritizes metrics, habitats, sites, and species to target for long-term monitoring in order to inform the evaluation of California’s MPA Network (1). In summary, the Action Plan provides important research and data to inform adaptive management strategies for California's network of MPAs. 

MPA Watch recently made it into the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s draft MPA Monitoring Action Plan.... This is a victory for MPA Watch to be considered part of the long-term monitoring program for California’s MPA network....
— Ashley Eagle-Gibbs, EAC's Conservation Director

Since 2014, EAC in partnership with Point Reyes National Seashore and the California Academy of Sciences has administered the Marin MPA Watch program, part of the MPA Watch network that monitors human use activities near and with California's network of MPAs. The MPA Watch program has collected more than 20,000 surveys. 

EAC is thrilled to report that the draft Action Plan includes the MPA Watch program as a key partnership for citizen-science data collection. 

Comments are due on this plan by August 16th and should be submitted to: 

Read EAC's comments on the plan and our combined NGO comments. Visit our MPA page, to become an MPA volunteer.