Anglers’ Fight to Stop No-Fishing Zones in California Moves Forward
Court of Appeals Rules Against the Fish and Game Commission and Allows Appeal to be Heard
Sacramento, CA – February 3, 2012 – The Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO) announced that the fight against regulations established through the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative that are blocking access to much of California’s coastal waters for recreational anglers, boaters, divers and commercial fishermen alike is moving forward. On January 30, 2012, the California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of allowing an appeal filed by Coastside Fishing Club, one of the three petitioners in litigation before the San Diego Superior Court challenging MLPA regulations adopted by California’s Fish and Game Commission for the North Central Coast, to proceed without delay. Coastside filed its appeal on December 15, 2011 with California's 4th District Court of Appeal. In response, lawyers for the commission asked the Court to dismiss Coastside’s appeal on grounds that it was premature. The Court denied the commission's request without comment.
Coastside appealed Judge Ronald Prager’s denial of its request for a Writ of Mandate voiding MLPA regulations adopted by the commission for California's North Central Coast in 2009 based on legal defects in implementing California law. After a careful review, Coastside concluded that Judge Prager's October 2011 ruling is inconsistent with the mandates of the law as established by the legislature. The outcome of the appeal of Judge Prager's ruling on the North Central Coast regulations would likely influence the resolution of a similar challenge to the validity of the South Coast regulations brought in the same lawsuit by Coastside's co-plaintiffs, United Anglers of Southern California and Robert C. Fletcher.
"Now that the MLPA regulations have gone into effect in Southern California, I hope anglers fully recognize the significant threat these unwarranted closures pose to the future of saltwater fishing in California,” said John Gaebel, chairman of United Anglers of Southern California. “Fortunately the battle is not over yet, as the legal challenge continues to move forward in the Court of Appeals. Now, more than ever, we need folks to step up and contribute as much as they can to help us keep up the fight.”
To raise funds for the legal challenge, the PSO is urging anglers, boaters and anyone interested in a fair legal process to visit www.SaveCAFishing.org and contribute to the effort. Under the “Donate” section of the site, individuals can contribute $5 or more a month on a recurring basis, or make a one-time donation. All proceeds will directly support legal action to keep California’s healthy and abundance coastal waters open to sportfishing.
“Based on initial returns, the SaveCAFishing.org website has tremendous potential to raise the funds needed to protect sportfishing access in California,” said Bob Fletcher, former president of the Sportfishing Association of California and a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “In order to keep the legal challenge going over the coming months, we need anglers to step up and pledge their support. A simple $5 or more monthly contribution to the legal effort will go a long way towards ensuring that current and future generations can enjoy accessing California’s coastal waters.”