June 2007

SCMA Joins Fight To Prevent Recreational Offshore Sportfishing Closures

ORANGE, Calif. —   The Southern California Marine Association, the largest regional marine trade association in the country, has announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously voted to pledge a substantial cash donation in support of the American Sportfishing Association's on-going effort to prevent arbitrary fishing and boating closures off the coast of California. 

The ASA is the leading watchdog organization in helping to conserve a healthy fish population through sound fisheries management.

      "As Southern California's most prominent marine trade association, we are obligated to use our resources for the good of our members and the recreational boating and fishing public," said SCMA Executive Director Dave Geoffroy.  "It's important that all facets of the boating industry work together at this critical time and support one another in order to accomplish our common goals. 

“The ASA has been instrumental in keeping much of the coastal waters off California open for responsible boaters and fishermen to enjoy.   We commend their efforts and pledge our continued support."  

 SCMA's financial donation to the ASA will be matched in equal funds by the National Marine Manufacturers Association in Chicago, Ill.

     Government intervention into sportfishing took a giant step-forward in 1999 when California passed the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) that called for the state to create a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).  A year later, President Bill Clinton signed an Executive Order on MPAs, echoing California's sentiment on a federal level. 

Both laws set forth general principles, but left the details of size, location, and level of protection of the MPAs up to the individual state department of fish and game.  In 2001, the California Department of Fish and Game aggressively began a campaign to implement large bans on recreational sportfishing, interpreting the goal of MPAs as always prohibiting all fishing. 

After much public outcry, a compromise was reached in January 2002 creating a Blue Ribbon Task Force responsible for encouraging open discussion and a more public process in determining future MPAs. The ASA, along with other concerned boating and fishing organizations, carefully monitor all related activities, and provide sound scientific input to help curtail unnecessary offshore boating and fishing closures.

     More information regarding the Marine Life Protection Act, Marine Protected Areas and the American Sportfishing Association is available at www.asafishing.org.