The California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) unexpectedly withdrew the coastal closure maps – the same maps that distressed area anglers – effectively removing them from consideration. With the withdrawal in late January, the DFG launched a new process that will involve wider public participation in the development of reserves. DFG Director Bob Hight agreed to “pull out our ill-fated concept maps” in a prepared statement made at a hearing in Sacramento, noting also that federal grant money would be available to help start the economic review necessary for any new reserves. “This is an important first step bringing the sportfishing public into the decision-making process,” said Bob Fletcher, president of the Sportfishing Association of California. “We have a long way to go, but now we are a full partner in the development of any potential reserves considered under the MLPA.” The initial plan would have closed 34 percent of the waters around the Channel Islands, and other areas. For more information, visit www.dfg.ca.gov or www.unitedanglers.com.