New Northern California MPAs to go into effect Dec. 19
- In a press release issued on Thursday, November 29, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced a "suite of new or modified marine protected areas (MPAs)" created under Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative will go into effect on Dec. 19, 2012 along California's north coast from the California/Oregon border south to Alder Creek near Point Arena. . . .
. . . Yurok Tribe challenges MLPA Initiative's `terminally flawed' science
Before the California Fish and Game Commission voted on June 6, 2012 to approve the network of so-called "marine protected areas" for the North Coast, the Yurok Tribe issued a statement outlining several serious concerns with the final proposal that will go into effect on December 19.
These included questions about the so-called "science" used under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create the MPAs and concerns over the protection of tribal harvesting rights at Reading Rock and False Klamath.
In spite of moving testimony by Tribal Elders, Commissioners Michael Sutton, Richard Rogers and Jack Baylis voted 3 to 0 to approve new regulations covering state waters from the California/Oregon state line south to Alder Creek near Point Arena in Mendocino County that failed to address these concerns. Commissioners Jim Kellogg and Richard Rogers, both critics of the MLPA process, were absent.
"While we appreciate the Brown administration's support and the Fish and Game Commission effort to recognize tribal traditional harvesting rights, there is more that needs to be done in order to protect our culture and our resources for present and future generations," said Yurok Tribal Chairman Thomas P. O'Rourke Sr. prior to the meeting. "We also have serious questions about the science, developed under the Schwarzenegger Administration, which the process relies upon. We believe it requires a truly impartial external review and revision in order to work for our region."
"Today might mean the end of the discussion for some North Coast residents," O'Rourke continued. "For us, it's the beginning of a conversation about how the State can better work with Native people to preserve and protect cultural and natural resources. The proposed project simply does not do enough to address tribal rights. The Yurok Tribe has and will continue to reserves all rights as a sovereign nation as we work towards finding a solution."
The Northern California Tribal Chairman's Association, including the Chairs of the Elk Valley Rancheria, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Karuk Tribe, Smith River Rancheria, Trinidad Rancheria, and Yurok Tribe, believes the science behind the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative developed by Arnold Schwarzenegger's Science Advisory Team is "incomplete and terminally flawed."
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