The leadership of non-profit organization United Anglers of Southern California (UASC) has put out the call for members and all fishermen to attend the upcoming Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting, June 4 in Los Angeles. According to UASC, public involvement is critical at this meeting in particular, in response to recent actions taken by the Blue Ribbon Task Force to ignore recommendations made by the South Coast Study Regional Stakeholders Group (RSG).
Following is the content of an email letter distributed by UASC President Steven Fukuto to members and fishing industry representatives:
The Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) decided to blatantly overturn a secret ballot vote of the RSG. The RSG members were given the direction to choose, by vote, from four out of five remaining proposed arrays of marine protected areas generated for the South Coast Region.
The Stakeholders made a decision that resulted in the elimination of External "C" Proposal. This is the hard-line environmental community plan with an extensive number of no take reserves. The BRTF Chairman, Don Benninghoven and MLPA Executive Director, Ken Wiseman decided to disregard the RSG's knowledge and decision to allow External "C" Proposal to move forward in the MLPAI process to be evaluated for consideration in the next round.
This decision compromises the "open and transparent" process in which the RSG have been working in order to fulfill their responsibility as members. Further, I feel if a pro-fishing proposal, especially External "B" Proposal authored by United Anglers of Southern California, would have been eliminated by the vote that Mr. Benninghoven and Mr. Wiseman would not have made the same decision.
Therefore, we ask that you come to the next Blue Ribbon Task Force Meeting to voice your concerns for the following:
1) Opposition to the unilateral decision to allow all proposals to move forward.
2) Implore the BRTF to reinstate the decision and listen to the Stakeholders.
3) This process needs to pause so that the Science Advisory Team can catch up and finalize guidelines so it can be properly disseminated to the RSG so that they can make informed decisions
4) Keep the process "open and transparent" by not using secret straw vote ballots.
5) Adhere to your rules that you direct to the stakeholders
The information about the meeting is below. I understand that it is difficult to attend meetings during working hours. However, it will be YOUR testimonies that will, hopefully, encourage the MLPAI team and leadership to keep the process "open and transparent."
What: Blue Ribbon Task Force Meeting
When: Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. General public comment (not specific to a particular agenda item) will be taken at approximately 9:40 a.m.
Where: Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel
6101 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045
We need a large turnout. The BRTF may limit the amount of time (as low as one minute) for each member of the public to speak. Be ready and speak directly to the point. The BRTF may also change the time of the public comment so please plan on waiting for a while.
For those of you unable to attend you can still make your opinion be heard via email or regular mail.
Go to: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/publicinvolvement_sc.asp
Email to: MLPAComments@resources.ca.gov
Or mail to:
Marine Life Protection Act/Initiative
c/o California Natural Resource Agency
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814