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Santa Monica Lawmaker's Experimental Fishing Program Signed into Law
By Lookout Staff
September 21, 2018 -- A Santa Monica lawmaker's bill that provides limited exemptions from State fishing laws for those pursuing fishery-related research and experimentation was signed into law by the Governor this week.
Introduced by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, AB 1573 authorizes the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to implement an Exempted Fishing Permit program.
The law, which was signed by the Governor on Tuesday, allows anglers and collaborative research partners to "pursue fishery-related research and experimentation" in an effort to protect the environment, Bloom's staff said.
"Our ocean habitats are precious resources that provide environmental, economic, and recreational benefits," said Bloom, a former Santa Monica mayor.
"Unfortunately, our current management practices are not doing enough to protect these habitats in the face of climate change. Introducing more innovation into commercial fishing will better protect the environment while also benefiting struggling anglers.”
Despite having one of the most comprehensive state fishery management laws in the country, California has been unable to manage or access many of the fisheries in state waters "due to capacity constraints," according to Bloom's staff.
An unintended consequence has been that testing new research and management approaches has been limited.
"These management shortcomings threaten not just the fishing industry but also ocean health, which is already being affected by climate change," Bloom's staff said.
The new law allows "select actors" to receive exemptions from "portions of the current legal and regulatory framework," staff said.
“Our oceans are facing new and evolving threats, ranging from plastic pollution to climate driven changes such as ocean acidification and rising temperatures," Bloom said.
"We can’t afford to simply do things how they’ve always been done."
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