Shore Lines: Coastal Programs Update Aug/Sep 2015

August, 2015

Summertime! Hopefully you’ve had the chance to enjoy the long days with some time at the river, the beach, in the mountains or diving into a lake. It’s important to make the time to enjoy nature, in between fighting to preserve and restore it.

Marine Protected Area Enforcement Improvements

Our colleagues at the Natural Resource Defense Council have compiled a report on potential technology options for improving marine protected area enforcement has been published and can be read at http://www.nrdc.org/oceans/ca-mpa-enforcement.asp. From NRDC: “The report summarizes technology options that could help enhance enforcement of MPAs in California’s ocean waters and identifies tools that are compatible with existing resources, can help provide reliable data that will stand up in court, and have a track record of successful application with appropriate scale.”

In most cases, the tools prioritized will benefit fishery management as well as MPA enforcement. Options include predictive policing, vessel monitoring systems and potential targeted use of radar and cameras to be promising tools. Recommended steps call for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife to take the following initial steps, with support from the Fish and Game Commission, Ocean Protection Council, legislative budget committees and other relevant entities:

• Take prompt action to implement an electronic records management system (RMS) that is compatible with those in Oregon and Washington. That undertaking should include an assessment of the bare minimum of data types needed for enforcement of California MPAs and fisheries regulations, identification of personnel responsible for managing the data, consideration of ways to make relevant information accessible to the public, and collaboration with the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) on program design and funding.

• Investigate the feasibility of requiring violators of MPA or fisheries regulations to install and use vessel monitoring systems (VMS) for any future fishing by that operator and vessel. If     that option is deemed feasible, CDFW should implement such a requirement as quickly as possible.

• Determine how many vessels would need VMS in order to achieve coverage of the entire California commercial fleet.

• Investigate whether sufficient radar units are in place to allow radar surveillance of locations where hot spots of MPA violations and related incidents have been identified. This analysis would help determine the feasibility of targeted radar surveillance in
those hot spots.

Keep in Touch

Follow along on marine and coastal issues at the Lost Coast Outpost with “Your Week in Ocean,” and on the ocean-themed episodes of The EcoNews Report—usually the last Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. on KHSU 90.5 FM. The EcoNews Report airs each Thursday with rotating hosts and covers a variety of subjects.