Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) cover less than seven percent of the ocean. That’s according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Though it’s a tiny percentage, MPAs still play an important role in the effort to limit the effects of climate change.
“Establishing MPA networks is critical to maintaining climate change resilience and rebuilding ecological and social resilience,” states the IUCN website. “For example, MPAs that protect coastal habitats such as barrier islands, coral reefs, mangroves and wetlands reduce human vulnerability in the face of climate change and provide the natural infrastructure (e.g. storm protection) on which people rely.”
MPAs also stimulate new carbon sequestration (which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, lowering greenhouse gasses), increase species survival and function as areas where we can study the effects of climate change.
There are seven MPAs in Orange County, stretching from Bolsa Bay to Dana Point. All have different restrictions. Some, like Crystal Cove, allow recreational fishing, while others like Laguna Beach are strictly no-take. This Wednesday, Nov. 6, there will be a Compliance Priorities Workshop on MPAs in the county that will go over all that.
“The Orange County Marine Protected Council, local enforcement officers and community members will discuss issues affecting compliance with local Marine Protected Area rules and recommend local solutions,” states an Oct. 30 notice from Orange County Coastkeeper, which is co-hosting the workshop. “This is an opportunity for people to voice their concerns about MPA enforcement and to help local officers and resource managers gain insight on what’s happening at local beaches… The input from this workshop will be used to inform local enforcement officers of community priorities during an upcoming Marine Protected Area training for enforcement officers.”
The workshop will take place at the University of California, Irvine School of Law (401 E. Peltason Dr., Suite 1000), Room EDU 1131. There will be food at the workshop, and parking in the Social Sciences Parking Structure will be free. Click HERE to register (specific parking info will be sent to those who register).
“Our Marine Protected Areas belong to us all and this is the opportunity to make your priorities for enforcement known,” said Ray Hiemstra, Orange County Coastkeeper Associate Director of Programs, in the Oct. 30 news release.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.