FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Richard Charter 707-875-2345
Rod Fujita 510-658-8008
Jennifer Witherspoon 510-658-8008
(18 October 2004 - Oakland, CA) Environmental Defense praised Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Protecting Our Ocean: California's Action Strategy released today. This strategy includes his recent signature of the California Ocean Protection Act (COPA) and his decision to restart the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process. COPA was designed to meet the urgent need for restoration and additional zones of protection for our oceans, as outlined in two prestigious national reports by the Pew Oceans Commission and the president's U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.
"The governor's dedication to our coastal environment puts California on the right track in protecting our oceans," said Environmental Defense marine conservation advocate Richard Charter. "California can lead the nation in restoring our living marine resources and bringing back damaged fisheries if we seize the momentum."
COPA creates the California Ocean Council, comprised of state agency leaders, to coordinate the activities of the Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the State Lands Commission to address major threats such as pollution, overfishing and habitat damage.
COPA will implement the Ocean Protection Trust Fund to pay for ocean conservation projects such as pollution control, scientific research, monitoring and enforcement programs. The Ocean Protection Trust Fund's innovative revolving loan program could provide seed money for fisheries reform measures and sustainable business plans that will repay the state's investment both financially and with healthier ocean ecosystems and coastal communities.
Environmental Defense also praised the governor, the Department of Fish and Game, the Resources Agency and the Legislature for funding and implementing California's existing landmark MLPA to manage the state's network of marine protected areas and to create an inclusive science-based stakeholder process to consider new protected areas in nearshore coastal waters.
"Environmental Defense urges Governor Schwarzenegger to push forward with ocean restoration," said Environmental Defense senior scientist Dr. Rod Fujita. "His leadership is critical in keeping our oceans alive."
Environmental Defense's Oceans Alive campaign seeks a Teddy Roosevelt of the Oceans, who left an enduring legacy in protecting our nation's last great places on land. Either President George W. Bush or Senator John Kerry could become the Teddy Roosevelt of the Oceans by stepping forward to champion meaningful action to protect our oceans.