"Panel Backs No-Fishing Zones off Southern California Coast"

"A state blue-ribbon panel unanimously approved landmark fishing restrictions Tuesday for Southern California, creating a patchwork of havens for marine life designed to replenish the seas while leaving some waters open for anglers.

The plan, approved 5 to 0 during a meeting at which emotions boiled over briefly into shouting and shoving, was a compromise intended to sustain the 250-mile coastline's environmental as well as economic health -- forged during a year of contentious negotiations between conservationists and fishing interests.

In recent decades, the catches of many species, including rockfish and cod, have fallen by as much as 95%. Populations of lobster, sea urchin, squid, sea bass, yellowtail and swordfish have all been in sharp decline. Fisheries experts have argued that some of those species could disappear entirely if steps were not taken to create no-fishing zones where breeding stocks could be replenished."

Louis Sahagun reports for the Los Angeles Times November 11, 2009.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009