Of course marine reserves are a good idea. Those that oppose them are understandably scared they will lose profits. I'm sorry though, the ocean and its bounty do not belong to them, and they will have to evolve. Ever here of the tragedy of the commons? These proposed areas are small compared to the amount of ocean open for commercial exploitation. The reality is the ocean is being overused. It will be hard for the fishing industry to adjust to change, and people are hard-wired to resist change. In the long term though, marine reserves will actually stimulate local economies, as paddlers, beach-combers, surfers, scientists, artists and wise fishermen and women come to the coast to revel in Oregon's smart idea - Marine Reserves and parks. Designating wild areas in the 1960s was easier on land, because people could see and understand a clear-cut forest, or a meadow turned parking lot. These ideas about protecting the ocean have come later, as it is harder for the public to see the damage done by over-use, overfishing and some fishing methods included. In addition, we need to understand the ocean and its habits better, and marine reserves will greatly help marine sciences. And let's not forget that one of the ultimate and inevitable answers to this and many other conservation issues, is that humans reduce their use of animals/fish for food and wisely revert to a more grain, legume and vegetable based diet.
Sandra, I am pleased to report that based on the hundreds and hundreds of conversations I have had with hundreds of ocean users in Oregon over the last 11 years, they all report they have never seen Oregon's ocean so healthy. Yes, there are ups and downs in salmon runs (something we've always seen even before European settlement). The modernization of our fisheries appears to be working. And, mother ocean (at least the Eastern Pacific) is a highly resiliant ecosystem. I offer this comment not to contradict your points, but, to set your mind at ease because adjustments in our fisheries happened in time. The fishing industry has had to make enormous adjustments. Yes, its been hard on a lot of fishing families and businesses but its happened. Looking ahead, we all need to band together to ensure our ocean is not abused by future industrial uses of Oregon's ocean (in state and federal waters).
Onno, I would agree that the ocean environment is likely one of the healthiest we've seen in a long time but you and the people you had those conversations with all know that this is going to change. I've seen the good times and I have survived the bad times. The bad times will return again and the science indicates that El Nino and La Nina occurances are going to get more intense with the climatic changes that we are undergoing. The establishment of a network of marine reserves will help those effected species survive better in these changing conditions and without them, we will continue the downward trend of species extinction.
Yes, yes, I know there are peaks and valleys in these fish populations but I am sure you can't find a single specie since European settlement that isn't on a downward trend. If we don't address the very real threat of population growth and subsequent stress on our natural resources coupled with the climate changes we are currently experiencing, this trend will certainly continue.
There are plenty of species (fish and non-fish alike) where their populations have not only maintained but thrived in Oregon since European settlement!! Examples include: Carp, European Green crab, Feral swine, Gypsy moth, Mitten crab, Nutria, Opossum and even plant species such as: Scott's Broom, Gorse, Hydrilla, English Ivy, Thistles, and European Beachgrass just to name a few.
The oceans are Huge, man's technology is Immense. Our industrial technology is murdering nurseries. Trawlers clearcut and plow the garden nurseries of the sea. I have commercial fished in the 60's, 70's and 90's. We must turn the technology down, like our ancestors did with fish wheels. We don't have to keep people off the beach. Simply no fishing or diving in reserves. When will our species accept the responsibility of being a steward AND member
of nature? It would make for a civilized and life filled planet, no?
Given the fact that Oregon's coastal waters include some of the richest temperate marine ecosystems in the world, a well designed and ecologically sound system of marine reserves would have a positive impact on the fish and wildlife that inhabit these waters. Indeed peer reviewed science has already shown that they have positive benefits in other areas within the California Current System.
Fishermen and scientists working together thru colloborative research has brought the fishing industry some success with the Marine Stewardship Council recently certifying the Pink Shrimp fishery. This is just one example of the good things that can happen when we work together to answer the important research questions that need to be addressed. Currently only 8 of the 43 managed Oregon nearshore species have been scientifically assessed, and unfotunately 2 of those 8 are considered overfished. We need to continue to take a precautionary approach to ensure that we don't have any more stocks added to the overfished category, and marine reserves are a responsible tool that we should use given the unknowns that are out there.
We all want to see a healthy ocean in the future, and that is why it is important for all people, from headwaters to offshore reefs to take advantage of this oppurtunity to ensure that reserves are designed incorporating sound science and local knowledge. With the Pacific Ocean generating 5 billion annually in personal income, can we really afford to not use marine reserves as a management tool? Do we as a society want to see short term gains or long term prosperity?
If only 8 of the 43 managed species are assessed, then doesn't it make sense to assess the other 35 species? Unfortunately stock assessments are not easy and the $ to implement new technologies to do stock assessments aren't being allocated to ODFW or to PFMC.
Also, the term "nearshore" is not clear, both of the "overfished" species, Yelloweye (YE) and Canary rockfish, are in deeper water. YE is almost never found inside OR territorial waters (the 3 mile line) and canaries are rarely found inside the 3 mile limit.
Historically the methods used to evaluate the population of fish (aka stock assessment) by the fisheries folks are no longer available for some species. YE and canary populations used to be evaluated from CPUE and bycatch data. CPUE is Catch Per Unit of Effort and since fishing for YE and canaries is no longer allowed, that method is not now available. The bycatch data is now inconclusive since trawling is no longer allowed in the rocky areas where these fish live and hence there is much less bycatch of these species than in the past. Retention of these two species is not legal for sportsfishermen and if the commercial fleet reach the very limited bycatch quota for these species, then commercial fishing that has bycatch of these species is shut down. Because of that and other reasons, commercial fishing techniques have become more sophisticated to reduce YE and canary bycatch.
Most people have no idea how much the ocean fisheries are already regulated or how much of the ocean off the OR coast is already closed much of the year. And unfortunately there are those for whom it makes no difference, they want access closed regardless of what regulations are already in place and regardless of the consequences to the coastal economy or to fishermen. I often wonder how many of the people that want Marine Reserves have been on the ocean in the past year - if ever.
An interesting note, many foks compare MRs to wilderness areas. Wilderness areas allow hunting, MRs will not allow fishing. Other folks compare MRs to the beach bill promoted by Tom McCall, but the beach bill is designed to guarantee access, not close access as MRs will.
The best area to fish for rockfish and lingcod out of Newport is on Stonewall Banks, aka the Rockpile. It is closed all year to all fishing except trolling for salmon. From April 1 through September 30, sportfishing is closed along the entire OR coast outside of the 40 fathom line except fishing for salmon, halibut (only open on a few selected days), and pelagic fish (which in Oregon means albacore tuna). There are very few days before April 1 or after September 30 when sportsfishing boats can be on the Pacific because of the weather.
The meetings refered to at the top are Outreach meetings to provide input to OPAC, Ocean Policy Advisory Council. OPAC was established by the legislature to examine issues such as Marine Reserves. The governor has been changing his position on MRs every few months, asking OPAC to examine different proposals. Some of his proposals were not well researched as evidenced by the changes in his proposals. His latest proposal is for research reserves. Research reserves may be useful, but the funding for research will be necessary for any research to be done. Funding is a serious issue and the state doesn't seem to have money to fund research.
Having fished the coastal waters of Oregon and taken more than my fair share of clams along the beaches of Oregon, this proposal is a small price to pay for a protracted period of time as outined in this article. It appears that the masses of humanity that have migrated to this state have made it almost uninhabitable and I for one agree with the late Governor Tom McCall when he said in essence that people come visit Oregon, but don't move here...
Lastly, it appears that folks on so many OPB threads like to go and on about stuff that no one really reads, my suggestion is to keep it succinct instead of bloviating and if you don't know what those big words mean, you can look them up.
Oregon fishermen don?t wish to "just say no" to marine reserves. I believe that when the scientific evidence is shown that this will be of benefit to the citizens of Oregon, fisherman will be very supportive. Currently, statements such as "of course marine reserves are a good idea" are being used as the evidence - which is, of course, no evidence at all, only opinion.
The current process of establishing marine reserves is being politically driven, not science based. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council already has numerous fish population sub-committees that use best available science, statistical population models, sampling surveys, etc., to get at best science based biomass estimates. Other sub-committees combine that data with socieo-economic impacts, tempered by existing law (Magneson-Stevenson act) to set catch limits.
I would like to suggest that rather than set aside large areas of the ocean "because it's obvious it would be a good thing", we instead funnel the faith-based funding that is going toward establishment of the marine reserves into the already existing science-based research and policy making being done by:
ﾷ Pacific Fisheries Management Council
ﾷ International Pacific Halibut Commission
ﾷ Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
I do not believe the vast majority of Oregonians know of the current restrictions, management layers, etc., that already exist, or of the results currently being achieved using existing processes.
Yes, the ocean is a shared resource - not belonging to the commercial fisherman. As such, lets make sure it stays accessible to Oregonians. Locking up the coastline will make large sections only accessible to those that provide funding for those sections. Make no mistake, marine reserves, like wave energy parks (also coming in the near future), are nothing more than a land grab designed to privatize large sections of the coastline - exactly the opposite effect that most MPA proponents envision.
I'm a documentary producer, and produced a program called "Common Ground: Oregon's Ocean". I've talked with fishermen in Oregon, on the East Coast, Florida, and in the Caribbean about both their concerns and their insights on marine reserves and marine protected areas. What I learned, and some of this is in "Common Ground", is that people who live with marine reserves and marine protected areas continue to make a living with fishing around the world.
I also learned that fishermen generally have concerns before marine reserves are established and after, once they have marine reserves, they become strong supporters of marine reserves and marine protected areas - in fact they often propose new marine reserve sites to have even greater positive impact on the ocean.
To get your own "Common Ground: Oregon's Ocean" DVD and for more information on Oregon's ocean go to www.oceansonline.org
Just over one hundred and five years ago, President Tedddy Roosevelt established Three Arch Rocks as Oregon's first National Wildlife Refuge. He was compelled to do this because he saw the incredible scenery and its wildlife through the images that photographer William Finley brought to his attention. President Roosevelt recognized and understood the need for protecting places that support birds, marine mammals, fish and the habitats they require to survive and thrive. Today, we are at a similiar point in history. We need to be proactive and invest in the habitats that are critical for supporting, restoring and sustaining seafaring birds, fish and marine wildlife so that future generations will be able to enjoy what we have today. Three Arch Rocks support 30% of the Common Murres breding in Orgon and harbors 60% of the Tufted Puffin breeding population in this state. This stunning icon along Oregon's coast is one of many places that comprise the Pacific Fly-Way. Birds depend upon these places to breed, feed, nest and rest as they migrate thousands of miles between Mexico and Alaska each year. Oregon is fortunate to be a state where over one hundred important birding habitat sites exist and where nearly one third of them are situated along our spectacular coastline and in our waters. America's west coast is a vital region for migratory bird and animal species influenced by ocean flows and biological corrdiors. This means that protected places in Oregon's territorial seas are extremely critical for the long term survival of common and special birds.
Our oceans belong to all of us. We all have an investment in sustaining, restoring and keeping them healthy for today and for future generations. Establishing marine reserves and protected places will not close off the entire ocean to fishing or other activities. Establishing marine reserves will also serve as an important research tool for the science, fishing, and conservation communities. There is no reason why everyone shouldn't get involved in making this a positive opportunity for Oregon, by restoring ocean health, habitat resiliency, and enhancing bird and wildlife populations that depend on our marine environment.
Hello Meryl, interesting history of Three Arch Rocks.
Question for you -
Do you think that Audubon might be able to help with some of the funding issues? As you probably know, there is a need for much baseline data such as mapping of bottom structure / kelp etc.; that work requires funding so I'd be curious if your oganization, and other similar organizations, are talking about how they might contribute.
BTW I used to run bird watching trips on the ocean with entire groups from Audubon.....those people are really fast with a camera! Thanks....
The argument I hear from the people who oppose marine reserves is that it is their resource to manage and inlanders shouldn't have a say. I'm sorry but management decisions of a common resource belong to everyone, not just those that live near it. We all make decisions together about our state, land use, leadership and ocean resources.
Actually that argument isn't very common. It hasn't been expressed at the OPAC meetings I've attended. The most common argument is "establish the need and we'll support them". Even with this last change in the proposals to make them "research reserves" the effort is perceived by many to simply be an effort to close access to Oregonians by simply closing areas without evidence of the need to do so. This perception is based on the approach, the lack of science or research to establish the need. Many of the folks that push reserves, including the film "Common Ground", do it as a way to manage fisheries. Yet many of those folks have no idea how well ODFW and PFMC manage our fisheries.
I read last week in an Oregonian article a quote from Onno Husing (Director of the Ocean Coastal Zone Management Association), "What we want to avoid at all costs is where interest groups from outside the region try to parachute nominations in without any dialogue locally." Does OPAC hold meetings in Portland, Bend, Medford, La Grande so inlanders can participate in meetings and get voices heard? I understand that this may not be the most common arguement but I think it is of the utmost importance for everyone to understand that all Oregonians should have a say in how we manage the coastal waters.
OPAC has had two meeting scheduled in Corvallis. Both meetings were cancelled (to my chagrin, those would have been easy for me to attend!). They were cancelled for reasons other than being in Corvallis. There has been one meeting of the MRWG/ STAC (Marine Reserve Working Group / Scientific Technical Advisory Committee) in Corvallis at OSU. It was open to the public. You can find the meeting schedule on the OPAC website.
With respect to my quote in the Oregonian last week cited above,I have this to offer. The quote cut off the other half of my statement. I believe nominations for marine reserves should be vetted before a local group of ocean users and other community people (in an inclusive process) to foster the sharing of information and the building of relationships. I said the same thing on the air today. That way, we can learn from each other (imagine that!). I agree 100% that all Oregonians should have a say in how we manage coastal waters. However, if I felt compelled, as an Oregonian, to have a say about the Willamette River or the Steens Mountains or the Columbia River Gorge, I would feel obliged to show up at a local forum in that region to engage my fellow Oregonians who lived there. That's the Oregon way. We do that with land use, watershed councils, etc. Those processes are grounded locally and no one is excluded from the discussion. That approach has served us well.
Many of us have insurance policies for our homes, our cars, and our health. Some of us also have savings accounts. All of these are means of being proactive and planning ahead for a future that inevitably holds uncertainty. Some of us have these policies and savings because we've learned the hard way from past overuse of credit, and we now understand the wisdom of putting something aside to save. As a species we have also demonstrated our ability to overuse our natural resources, including our marine resources. On land we have set aside national parks and wilderness areas as places for wildlife to be protected and restored. It is time that we do this now for our marine environment as well. Worldwide, less than one percent of the ocean is protected. While some of our neighboring states have taken action to set aside and protect some of their marine habitats, Oregon is the only state on our nation's west coast that has not protected any of its state ocean waters in marine reserves. While our marine resources in Oregon may not be in dire straits, they are suffering - as is evident by depleted fish species and large die-offs of seabirds and other species off the West Coast in recent years. It is time for us to take the responsible step of establishing a network of integrated marine protected areas and reserves geared toward protecting depleted species and important ecological areas so that we can work to plan for a sustainable future.
I find it unfortunate that misinformation is constantly used to pull at the heartstrings as an appeal to "get with the program".
Unlike what is stated above, in fact Washington does not have protection in place in the form of Marine Reserves in their Ocean waters. Marine Reserves in the state of Washington are all located within the Puget Sound, Hood Canal, San Juans and Straight of Juan de Fuca, with the bulk of these being located within close proximity to dense population centers. The ecosystem in the Puget Sound is similar in that it is also a marine environment consisting of salt water, but much different in that it has such significantly higher population base in very near proximity, high traffic from shipping, ferrys, barges, as well as other users. Surface water runoff from farms and communities which has leached vast quantities of pesticides and fertilizers into the Puget Sound and Hood Canal has created an ecosystem that is significantly damaged and continues to be threatened.
The west coast of the State of Washington is very similar to the coast of Oregon with low population bases and relatively little impact which is managed well. There are no Marine Reserves on the West Coast Ocean side of the State of Washington. As proactive as people have been in the Puget Sound going back 30+ years, no identifiable need has been shown in the Washington State ocean waters.
The fact remains - both Washington and California have established marine reserves, and Oregon has not. In order for our state to be in line with the West Coast Governor's Agreement on Ocean Health (which states in part that the Governors of Washington, Oregon and California recognize that our ocean resources are currently at risk and plan to take actions to address the declining health of our shared ocean), Oregon should make a good faith effort to protect a piece of its rich marine heritage now rather than waiting for any sort of crisis or serious degradation to develop and then be in a position of trying to restore things. Now is the time for us to be responsible, proactive stewards of our marine resources.
All I could ask of any of you is that you tool up before you sheepishly follow the leader. Read about the Magnusen Stephens Act and the PFMC and try to understand the regulations already in place. Try to understand the history of west coast fisheries management. There will be a test .. here goes.
1)Name the largest fishery closure area in the world. Where is it located?
2)What is the Yellow Eye Rockfish Conservation Area? Where is the YRCA located? Who instigated it's establishment?
3)What is a Yellow eye rockfish?
4)What other species of rockfish are currently constraining west coast fisheries?
And for the grand prize ...
What percentage of these troubled rockfish live in the nearshore environment?
If you don't know any of this stuff then you are not a fisherman and or marine biologist and anything you say is just an opinion.
I would not take my car to the dentist for repair. And I think it is a bad idea to let popular sentiment instead of science make decisions regarding our environment.
Signed John Wells. Habitual participant in fisheries management and frequent nearshore ocean visitor.
"Read about the Magnusen Stephens Act and the PFMC..."
It's even more enlightening to take off the rosy glasses and actually compare the PFMC's management to the health of our coastal fishery. The pitiful limits we have today are a reflection of PFMC's history of maximizing harvest. The management agencies are beholden to the commercial industries that take the resource...sports fishers and conservation are an afterthought.
The proposed near-shore reserves will likely have no impact on sports anglers, due there small size and placement, the placement criteria of do-no-harm. The hysteria being whipped up by opponents including the mis-named and East Coast based, Recreational Fishing Alliance, is simply - and intentionally - over the top fear mongering.
Yes this is true. The fisheries were fished to the limits set by the fisheries managers. And as always happens detailed studies of the affected stocks came only after they were depleted and harder to catch. At one time the PFMC was staffed solely by commercial (fishing) interests. This is no longer true as there are sport reps. on the council.
Rockfish are long lived. The effects of over fishing will be with us for a long time.
The proposed closures are a foot in the door. The battering ram that tears the door off it's hinges will be the NGO's that step up to pay for the management of these area. Money that will have strings attached. The areas will expand and the allowed fishing areas will be greatly reduced. Only then will the true agenda become obvious. They sure as hell aren't going to tell you now while you still have time to get involved and demand some answers.
This expansion is happening in California now.
I will ask the question again.
Which of the depleted rockfish stocks are we protecting by closing the less than 100 foot deep areas?
I agree with your comments about the RFA (the back east group). But, I have something else to add about them. That group is trying to pit commercial fishermen against recreational fishermen. We all lose under that scenario. Under Oregon law, ODFW/OFWC is directed to provide resources to recreational and commercial fishermen. Proposed near-shore reserves will likely have no impact on sport anglers if they stay involved in the process and work through local groups. I recommend you look to the great leadership of the Depoe Bay Nearshore Action Team (NSAT) in the months ahead for a format/process that brings everyone together.
I am very confused about your statement regarding the RFA. Here in Oregon, the RFA is not in the least trying to pit commercial fisherman against recreational fisherman, actually quite to the contrary. In Oregon you will find that members of RFA and Oregon Anglers sit on many boards side by side with commercial fishing interests. What the RFA may or may not do in other areas should not be brought into the conversation here where specific RFA representatives are highly respected from commercial and recreational sectors as well as the managing sectors such as the PFMC, ODF&W, and the IPHC. In fact, anyone that attended the Oregon Sea Grant outreach meeting tonight in Newport would have found several prominent members of the RFA interacting very well with all stakeholders.
Thanks for this. Maybe I'm confused. There are a number of recreational fishing groups, and, I confess, sometimes I need to consult a playbook. I think the gentlemen that is heading this out of state group (that a lot of my friends in the recreational fishing community have voiced their concern about) that I am talking about is Mr. Loomis. In a recent column by Steve Duin, Loomis basically said commercial interests have played the recreational fishery for fools. Back in 1989 I was a staffer in the Oregon Capitol and I remember how we brought together sport and commercial interests to create the R & E Board and we banded together to fight High Seas Driftnets. Today, we (sport fishermen, commercial fishermen, local government leaders on the Coast) are working to make sure the Klamath River gets the water it needs to beat back diseases that are killing juvenile chinook. It feels great when we do that. If I jumped the gun and caused confusion, I'm really sorry and thanks for seeking a clarification.
No problem. The group you are referring to is the Coastal Conservation Alliance or CCA. Gary Loomis is a key person in the movement to grow the CCA in the Pacific Northwest, and at this time their key objective is the elimination of gill nets for salmon on the Columbia R. It is important to note that while Mr. Loomis is a focal point for the CCA, he is not their leader. He is in effect a recruiter and motivator to get people involved in the CCA. The CCA does have an agenda and others should review how they operate, what they want to accomplish, and how they interact with other groups. The CCA is new here and until they establish how they do things, there is little to specifically address.
Certainly the RFA operates in a much different manner, one that is not confrontational. The goal of the RFA is to find reasonable ground for all stakeholders on all fishing issues. As noted, members of the RFA are involved and established on many boards and committees that make recommendations for commercial and recreational angling levels. There is a great amount of give and take because the RFA recognizes that our resources do not belong to any one user group, and that fair access to these resources is the right of all. Compromise and rational decision making is key to helping all stakeholders.
Thanks for your reply. We definitely agree that more things can get accomplished if all interests band together to solve problems.
In the past we learned that to protect the really special places and the amazing variety of animals and plants on land, we needed to use a wide range of approaches. We created parks and wilderness areas, we enacted various kinds of regulations on human activities (such as hunting and fishing regulations and pollution prevention laws), and we zoned land use to reflect how we want to live together. All of these approaches are meant to benefit both people and ctitters. We have made these decisions because we care about what kind of a world we leave our children and future generations.
In the ocean we have yet to fully rise to our stewardship responsibilities. In the ocean off the Oregon coast we only have a tiny protected area near Whale Cove. I have faith that as Oregonians concerned about the future we can find solutions that will maintain traditional uses such as fisheries, that will benefit coastal communities and economies, and that will leave a legacy of a healthy ocean for the future. I also hope that we can rise above the divisive, "either-or", and fear based arguments to really think about the future and the legacy we will leave future generations.
In your introduction, you stated that we need more research on fish populations. You stated that establishing marine reserves provides that research. How would it do that? Wouldn't simply more research provide more information than simply establishing marine reserves?
Marine reserves are an excellent idea, and not just for scientific study. We have watched fishery after fishery, on the east coast and elsewhere, brought to the brink of collapse, caused by excessive exploitation of resources whose ecology we do not sufficiently understand.
Marine reserves act as important reference points for the study and understanding of complex ecologies, allowing policy makers and resource managers to gather data critical to proper management and planning. In addition, such reserves provide invaluable sanctuaries for sea life undisturbed by human intervention.
I would advocate reserves, not only for the purpose of scientific study but to ensure that breeding populations of sea life remain vibrant and viable and, in addition, that 'wilderness areas' of the coastal environment are maintained.
I am writing with great interest and support for implementing a network of marine reserves, parks and conservation areas for Oregon?s rich and sensitive marine habitats and wildlife. It takes both national and state efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive plan that protects the ocean environment we all love and enjoy.
I understand that the scientific research of marine reserves and protected areas tells us that these areas increase the abundance, diversity and size of fish species while also helping protect the overall health of the ecosystem. With coming changes to our planet, such as global climate change and continued industrial uses such as large-scale commercial fisheries, it is important to me that some places off our coast are held harmless from extractive and destructive practices. The marine reserves and protected areas being discussed now offer an opportunity to address coming changes and continued threats and maintain our ocean treasures for the future, for our children and generations to come.
I have come to know and love Oregon?s cherished coast and the seabirds, porpoise, seals, whales and fish that call the Pacific home. I believe we have much to gain by protecting Oregon?s special places and much to loose if we fail to act. Oregon has an opportunity and responsibility to establish a legacy for the future, with an act of stewardship that protects marine life and habitat.
Those of us that enjoy the ocean - and go out on it to enjoy it- want it protected as much as anyone does. Oregon has been exercising it's responsibility of stewardship through ODFW. They have been implementing many steps to protect the ocean bottom from destructive practices and regulate extraction of fish and crab.
I'm wondering what specific extractive or destructive practice you're referring to in your post.
From: Paul Engelmeyer
Being a member of the Ocean Policy Advisory Council representing statewide conservation puts me in the position to participate in this amazing conservation strategy. The Governor has tasked us to develop a network or less than 10 marine reserves that protect ecological areas and minimize our impact to coastal communities. When one reflects on this effort we must acknowledge the past ie loss of species such as the sea otter, a keystone species, the overfished species such as scallops, or canary and Yelloweye rockfish but we must look to the future. With a science-based strategy that includes local knowledge I believe we can create a network of reserves that protect those critical areas as well as leave the majority of oceans available to sport and commercial fisheries. This effort will benefit all Oregonians and will, if designed correctly ensure protection of habitat critical to the numerous species (over 75%) that have no assessments and management plans. This is just responsible management and an investment for our coastal communities and the next generation.
I believe we've ignored the simple fact that overfishing is the reason we've tipped the scales towards decline. When you combine all of the natural reasons for decline with increased angling pressure, the one thing we can control is harvest, and with a warming climate, the environmental conditions will only become more challenging for species survival.
Marine reserves allow species to reach mature breeding age. Commercial fishing is not discriminant. Fish are harvested before they can even breed.
Jeff, are you aware that the trends in fish stocks are moving upwards, not the other way around? It's an amazing success story most Oregonians have no idea happened. Today, fishing is so much more discriminate than it was 10 years ago because the laws are so strict (all stemming from the landmark 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA). I began my career in New England in the 1970s, reasearching commercial fisheries. As a young student, I got to know many fishermen back there and yes, overfishing was an everyone's mind. The fisheries back there even in the 70s were a shadow of what they had been. Years later, after I came out here to live, I got to know dozens and dozens of fishermen. It's night and day from back there. Changes in the fisheries have been made (largely from 1998 onward). We can and most control much more than angling pressure. What we (and shall I say folks in China) put in the skies (and then rains down into our ocean), the water we divert from the rivers (the Klamath and the Sacremento), how or if we industrialize the oceans (wave energy, wind energy, fin fishaquaculture), those are the tougher but oh so much more important things we gotta get our arms around. Chasing down the last angler might feel good, but, it ignores the real threats to the resources we all cherish.
I was under the impression that Oregon had the unique distinction of having the entire coast line be a state park, is this not true and why isn't this a parks issue?
will these reserves be permanent, or possibly re opened if they do their purpose and revive the health of the fisheries?
Why do we have any restrictions in the first place? B/c we, as the natural stewards of the coast, were destroying the health of the fisheries in the first place, correct?
The purpose of the reserves: to help learn more and hopefully increase the amount of fish, correct?
I do not know how this will affect the commercial fisherman, but i have to say, if i sold widgets that were becoming more and more scarce, i might think about a new career.
The problem as I see it is the process by which marine reserves are being implemented. If there is a problem, then one should start out by identifying the problems, and developing objectives. Then you figure out what methods to use in order to reach those objectives.
If the objective is "understand and protect marine resources", then the methods used to get there might include (1) stock assessments, (2) bottom mapping, and yes maybe even (3) limited protected areas to act as controls. And don't forget...the resources necessary to do the work.
But the way this process has proceeded has been to say that the problem statement is "we don't have reserves", and the objective is "implement reserves." This is backwards logic, and it offers evidence to support those who claim this is agenda-driven.
Contrary to some perception, the fishing community in general are very smart about resource conservation. They learned from past mistakes. But now the process itself is in jeopardy because of a lack of trust. The governor's office has been steadily losing the trust of the very stakeholders needed for this to succeed. The very best thing the governor & staff could have done would have been....to go straight to the coastal stakeholders, the fishing community & those who depend on the ocean for their livelihoods. Establish a good relationship with those people, look them in the eye, shake hands, establish trust. And then equally important, keep your word when you make promises (e.g. "no more than 10 reserves", and "will not have any negative economic impacts"). If this had happened from the start, you would have seen a whole different result.
Even if this does move forward, the key issue of resources / funding is still there. As was stated on the OPB show a few minutes ago, it is up to the state to come up with funding via the legislative process.
Your guest said that the Pacific Fisheries management Council regulates federal waters and that ODFW regulates state waters. While that is technically true, it is not the whole truth. ODFW also sets the fishing regulations for federal waters, but all of their regulations
and quotas are within the guidlines set by PFMC. To be clear about that, the PFMC sets the upper limits of quotas for fish caught in both state and federal waters off Oregon, ODFW can set the quota lower than the PFMC limits, but cannot set them higher.
The show's guest from OSU forgot to mention one of the most important reasons for creating a marine reserve - to provide breeding, source populations that can re-seed surrounding populations of fish and invertebrates that have been reduced by fishing. She did mention biodiversity, but calling a reserve a "park in the sea" where no one can visit except scientists misses the most powerful argument for reserves that any Oregonian can support. Bigger fish produce more offspring than smaller fish. Protecting habitat for the largest female fish (this is especially important for bottom fish like rock fish) ensures lots of offspring. I worked as a researcher for years at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston, and I can say that many of my commercial fisherman friends understand the importance of protecting critical habitat, particularly from destructive fishing like bottom dragging.
How do shallow water reserves help deep water fish? By the way they are the species identified as overfished.
1)Name the largest fishery closure area in the world. Where is it located?
No Trawl rockfish conservation area. From the beach to 250 fathoms, border to border. Restricts rockfish trawl.
2)What is the Yellow Eye Rockfish Conservation Area? Where is the YRCA located? Who instigated it's establishment?
Stonewall bank off Newport ~ 15 miles. Suggested by sport fishers and implemented by ODFW. For the purpose of limiting YE Rockfish by catch.
3)What is a Yellow eye rockfish?
Large orange, slow growing long lived (200 yrs) rockfish. Likes craggy reefs in deep water 30 fathoms.
4)What other species of rockfish are currently constraining west coast fisheries?
Canary rockfish, Widow rockfish
5)And for the grand prize ... What percentage of these troubled rockfish live in the nearshore environment?
All of the constrained species inhabit waters 30 fathoms and deeper. That line is about 5 miles offshore.
I am a coastal resident--and have been for over 30 years. We know, from years of experience with marine reserves around the world, that marine reserves are an effective tool in the ocean health tool box. We also know that Oregon's ocean isn't as healthy as we want it to be. It's only common sense that we should establish these reserves. It's been good for the economy in other places and good for the fishing industry. It is certainly worth a try here in Oregon.
One issue that has not been included in your discussion is the issue of Indian treaty rights. Indian tribes had extensive fishing rights along the Oregon coast, and these fishing and gathering rights were confirmed in ratified Indian treaties. Then the western Oregon tribes were terminated in the 1950s. When they were legislatively restored to federally recognized status beginning in the 1970s, the State forced the tribes to give up most of their treaty gathering and fishing rights on the Coast. The Siletz Tribe, for example, had to enter into a consent decree in 1980 giving up most of their treaty rights in order to get a reservation, and retains only limited shellfish gathering rights in Lincoln County along the coast, which rights can be limited by applicable state laws and regulations. In creating large marine reserves, the State must take into account whether its actions will further diminish the already limited tribal gathering rights along the oregon coast.
As a proponent of sustainable fisheries and ocean conservation I have read and reviewed many documents regarding Marine Reserves. One such document, The Science of Marine Reserves generated by the PISCO Foundation is an often referenced example by proponents of the Marine Reserve process. With core funding provided by the Packard Foundation, a key advocate for Marine Reserves, this booklet would seem at the least to be the proponents "manual" for implementation of these areas.
I would like to reference page 16 of The Science of Marine Reserves to share much frustration and concern with the current state of Marine Reserve implementation in Oregon.
Social scientists have begun to identify the social and economic factors that enhance the success of marine reserves:
* Clear Goals
* Supportive institutions and legislation
* High participation in community decision-making
* Involvement of people with diverse interests
* Effective use of scientific advice
* Effective conflict-resolution mechanisms
* Sustainable finance
* Initiatives to provide fishermen with alternate income
* Equitable sharing of economic benefits
* Fair enforcement
Increased attention to the human dimensions of marine reserves and the ocean governance will be necessary to ensure effective management over the long term.
I would like to address a number of these points with my current concerns.
Clear Goals- At this time, the only goal I have been made aware of is that of establishing Marine Reserves. There has not been any information put forward at this time that specifically addresses what species, or ecosystem will be helped, or in what specific way. Many times proponents reference the need to help two species of rockfish that are currently problematic. These species (Yellow-eye and Canary) are offshore varieties that Marine Reserves would not impact. There is currently no threatened or listed near shore rockfish stocks that marine reserves would impact to bring back to a "healthy" status. I would ask that prior to moving forward with any other proposals with regard to Marine Reserves that clearly defined goals and proposed benefits based on specific scientific fact would be established and shared with all stakeholders and the public in general.
Supportive institutions and legislation- A personal agenda by the Governor of Oregon for "Heritage Sites" in my opinion does not constitute legislation, but rather, personal interest. It would seem prior to moving forward that open discussion in the Oregon Legislature with the facts and information provided by OPAC and the ODF&W would be prudent.
High participation in community decision-making- I welcome and appreciate the opportunity afforded by the Oregon Sea Grant Outreach. I would like to stress the importance of this process to listen to the coastal community and ask that further open forum comment periods be arranged. Pre-selected questions to discuss limit the socially diverse comments that may be asked by each community sector.
Effective use of scientific advice- It is critical that many scientific considerations be listed and performed before any action involving implementation of Marine Reserves takes place. At this time, with the very limited mapping of the Oregon Territorial Sea at 5%, any implementation of Marine Reserves is guesswork at best. Without scientific baselines for establishing the goals for the marine reserves (which as noted, have not been established) there is no practical or reasonable way to measure benefits. All of the net benefits possibly attributable to a Marine Reserve system at this point would be arbitrary. Establishment of a Marine Reserve system should assure those that are bearing the social and economic cost that there is in fact a net benefit that is measurable and sustainable.
Sustainable finance- At this point I have not seen any information regarding cost of implementation, cost of maintenance, cost of enforcement, cost of boards and committees or any other associated government agencies. Prior to implementation it would seem of utmost importance to give to the public a reasonable assessment of their initial tax burden as well as the estimate for continuing tax burden. Also important would be to define how this tax burden is to be assessed. Would it be to the general public in Oregon, coastal communities, fishing license taxes, gas taxes, etc? Associated costs for Marine Reserves in California should be reviewed and shared with the public as a baseline. If any private sector plans on contributing to the cost of Marine Reserves, that information should be made public and determined whether a conflict of interest is apparent. As Marine Reserves would be destined for public waters, private operation and costs should be strictly forbidden.
Initiatives to provide fishermen with alternate incomes- Until the economic costs are determined, then it will be impossible to determine what alternate income may be needed by those such as commercial fisherman and charter boat operators. As above, it should be determined who will be paying for these alternate incomes.
Fair enforcement- Presently I have not seen any information regarding enforcement. Establishing "Paper Reserves" will not effectively perform the proposed benefits of a Marine Reserve. Legitimate enforcement would seem to be the responsibility of the State Police in Territorial Waters but at this time the fish and game division of the OSP is already stretched very thin. Establishing increased enforcement responsibilities may have the effect of eliminating other much needed game enforcement for fish and wildlife.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I am fully in support of ocean conservation and fully believe that as individuals and as a state we absolutely must be good stewards of our Territorial Sea. I have been angling both as a recreation and as employment in Oregon waters for most of my life. I have very positive beliefs in the current state of our ocean resource management through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and do not feel that a rush to marine reserves will provide any net benefit that is not being accomplished through responsible management. At this time I would ask that any movement forward with Marine Reserves at a minimum take place by answering and establishing specific criteria as suggested by PISCO and the booklet The Science of Marine Reserves. In addition to this booklet, I would ask that a peer review on the science used to establish Oregon Marine reserves be done to verify that our specific and unique coastline in fact needs Marine Reserves.
The state is looking for public input - this is input from ANYONE - not just residents of the state, stakeholders, commercial fishermen or recreational fishermen. Input is coming from all over the country on this issue, much of which is from people who do not realize how our ocean resources are currently managed. We have seen a barrage of feel good terms developed and thrown about for the sake of the general public: our oceans are over fished, created breeding grounds, x% of species are over harvested, MRs create research opportunities, preserve our aquaculture. On the surface, who wouldn't take this bait? But without knowing all of the intricacies of the current management systems in place, why would someone object to this?
There are many questions that need to be asked - one of which is WHY? What is Oregon NOT doing right now that warrants the need for MRs at this point? What research has been done and what information has been gathered to support the implementation of MRs? The strongest arguments from proponents is "it's a good idea" and "Oregon is the only coastal state without them." So what?
Further, one of the guests was a little misleading when answering the question about diving. Based on what I've learned about the definition of MRs is that NO, and I repeat NO activities will be allowed within MRs except for research activities.
It occurs to me that the people who are protesting the creation of coastal or ocean reserves are the very ones who have made the need for such reserves necessary. The resource extraction industries i.e. the fisherman in this case have shown an inability to police themselves. In my 62 years as a lifelong Oregonion I have watched time and again the fishing fleets target a specific species or profile (ex. bottom fish) and fish them to nonprofitability.
Marine reserves have shown themselves to be species generators enabling targeted stocks to hold on if not recover.
Opposition to marine reserves, I think, is simply selfish, shortsided and motivated by greed.
Hi Mike, I'm curious where you got the idea:
"....the people who are protesting the creation of coastal or ocean reserves are the very ones who have made the need for such reserves necessary."
Yes I am seeing lots of people giving critical feedback or "protesting" as you put it, but not from the ones who caused most of the past problems (groundfish stock reductions).
That particular user group would be the groundfish trawlers a.k.a. "draggers" who fish in deep water. Marine reserves in state waters (inside 3 miles) have little to no connection with the species that were over-harvested by the trawl industry.
From what I have seen, the trawl industry is a relatively small voice at the OPAC functions & related forums. Rather, it is the recreational fishers, and the businesses who rely on them (e.g. tourist related, sport stores, etc) who I see en masse speaking up.
So if I am missing a connection between the "causing group" and the current protesters, maybe you could enlighten me a little. Thanks!
It is important to point out that a large majority of those that you perceive as "protesting" Marine Reserves are not actually doing so. The largest share of these individuals are protesting the process that is taking place for implementation. There is a lot of mis-information put out there regarding marine reserves and unfortunately many people that are uneducated about the waters off the Oregon coast let emotional responses overwhelm the analytical thought process.
Mike, your comment in particular shows a very common misconception made by the general public in Oregon. The primary misconception being that there is a "need" for a reserve. In the waters that these reserves would be located, there is not currently a species that is determined to be in an unhealthy status. In fact, species such as black rockfish and lingcod (two of the primary stocks in the nearshore habitat) are very healthy and being managed very successfully.
The second portion of your statement you reference that reserves have "proven" to be species generators. This is a very misleading statement that should be qualified by referencing specific examples. The truth of the matter is that there is a scarce few studies that have been done that demonstrate this, and those areas where species have rebounded have been in areas that the fish populations had been severely damaged by unregulated fishing, contaminated waters, and other environmental concerns. To date there is no study that I have found that has shown that there is a net benefit to adding a marine reserve in an area that already has a healthy marine environment such as the Oregon Coast.
My objection to this process is that there is no clearly defined problem that Marine Reserves are supposed to address. Without fully understanding what the problem statement is, how can anyone offer a solution? How do you decide where to place a Marine Reserve without first understanding WHY it is needed, what problem it is to solve, how to monitor its affect and measure its success or failure. I have heard little justification for Marine Reserves in Oregon. "Conservation" or "eco" groups seem to have the perception that we're still using damaging fishing practices or that our fisheries aren't being regulated. That couldn't be further from the truth. Commercial and recreational fisheries are tightly managed, tightly regulated and overfished stocks are being monitored for recovery.
We ALL care about our ocean and its sustainability. But the fact is that we have excellent management resources today and they could only improve with additional funding. Marine reserves will only detract from the funding our resource management team desperately needs to expand on their already good works.
I am a coastal resident with a keen interest in creating a sustainable economy on the coast that will support natural resources and residents alike. Most who live here would agree this requires a thoughtful blend of industry including fisheries, tourism, and potential future sources like renewable energy. The key is for us to start the conversation and keep talking until we can get to solutions that will support us all, and that includes "inland" Oregonians who depend on our stewardship of the coast. A new report that should be considered on Oregon ocean conditions was just referenced on the NOAA site at http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080215_lowoxygen.html. We all need to start informing ourselves with research like this, and carefully work toward shared solutions. Fishers aren't the only ones responsible for degraded ocean conditions-- what kind of lawn fertilizer do you apply?
I am not a resident of Oregon but frequent its coast often for recreation that includes fishing in the ocean.
What I think the proponents of marine reserves (MR) do not realize is the high degree to which the coastal sportfishermen are educated regarding the status and research of Oregon's marine resources, and how much they actively do to promote conservation. There was recently a convention of Oregon and Washington sportfisherman held in Ilwaco, the convention included talks by scientists from many state and federal agencies. There are also other non-profits that have been founded with the sole purpose of educating Oregon anglers on conserving Oregon's marine resources. These were started by concerned anglers. Finally many fisherman volunteer to help researchers collect data on rockfish, crab, salmon, tuna (yes we have tuna in oregon), and many other marine species.
If these same people who are heavily involved in the protection and research of Oregon's marine resources say that there is something fishy (pun intended) about how the MR process is going then why not listen? Many MR opponents have stated that they would gladly support MRs if there was a clearly stated need. I am one such person.
I have yet to see what nearshore species are threatened, what evidence there is of degraded ecosystems (no the naturally occurring deadzones do not count), nor how the benefits/costs of MRs will be monitored. Will monitoring include economic as well as ecological changes?
I think it is likely that many supporters of Marine Reserves would also likely support the development of "green" wave energy farms. What a contradiction that would be. Shut off the ocean to those who are most concerned with its conservation while supporting the commercial development of whats left by a few private industrialists.
Don't forget that sportfishing is a green industry that involves people in conservation, distributes economic benefits over a vast segment of the population instead of a few individuals, and if managed properly, has very little impact on the environment compared to other industries.
You make some good points.
I think the convention to which you refer was in Seaside, not Ilwaco.
While Oregon's marine ecosystems may not be as damaged as those in some other parts of the US, I was surprised to hear some people talk on the show about how good things are off the Oregon Coast. it was surprising to hear and read that only 2 of 8 species studied are in trouble. What about the numerous doomed runs of Salmon--they spend much of their life in the ocean? Sea Otters gone; rock fish crashed; dead zones off the Oregon Coast growing; shore-birds dieing of starvation; seas warming and rising; and what about that floating island of trash in the Pacific that is estimated to be twice the size of Texas. I say don't mess with a growing, warming, rising double-Texas of trash on the horizon, just ignore it and race to extract resources like a faithful Bush Republican. Its a complex system, so expect responsible parties to hide in the fog when convenient. The perhaps aptly named Pew Oceans Commission, described the marine ecosystems as in collapse and in a massive May 2003 report recommended a National System of Marine Reserves. Where is the recommended National System of Marine Reserves? Do the extractors have too much influence on the management of the marine environment? In the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (championed by one of its namesakes, Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska) Section 2, Article 7 in part describes the Act as: "A national program for the development of fisheries which are underutilized or not utilized by the United States fishing industry, including bottom fish off Alaska, is necessary to assure that our citizens benefit from the employment, food supply, and revenue which could be generated thereby." Yeah many of us like jobs and seafood, and our demand for these puts pressure on the fisheries. In this regard, you may want to check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide for consumers. It lists environmentally sensible seafood choices (there may be other lists like this too). Take care little fish and stay in schools.
"What about the numerous doomed runs of Salmon--they spend much of their life in the ocean? Sea Otters gone; rock fish crashed; dead zones off the Oregon Coast growing; shore-birds dieing of starvation; seas warming and rising; and what about that floating island of trash in the Pacific that is estimated to be twice the size of Texas."
Salmon? Yes they spend lots of time in the ocean. But that's of little consequence to their plight. It's dams and damaged inland habitat that are largely responsible for their demise - and let's not forget your precious sea lions protected by the marine mammal protection act, yet gobble up ESA fish because the populations have gone unchecked and the mammals are allowed to hang around and pluck fish out of the ladders in fresh waterways. Warming seas are also believed to be a problem for these fish.
Sea otters gone? Dead zones? Floating islands of trash? Seas warming and rising? Starving shore-birds? What is a marine reserve going to do to solve those problems?
Rockfish crashed? Yes, unfortunately, little was known about their lifecycle until recently and regulations are in place to assist with their recovery.
So you're back to 2 problem statements that supposedly marine reserves will address - salmon? Nope. Marine reserves are not going to remove dams, sealions and inland habitat destruction. How about the rockfish plight? Maybe - but again, research would need to be conducted to determine what, if any, effect a reserve would have on their recovery AND research would be required to determine where best to place such a reserve in order to maximize its effectiveness. IF there was funding for such research, I maintain that we wouldn't need Marine Reserves! If Reserves are the way to secure funding, then we're putting the cart before the horse.
Which is the very problem that so-called "opponents" to Marine reserves have been saying in this discussion all along.
I think we're saying the same thing, my friend. We're all concerned and would like to see some of these problems addressed. We just happen to disagree on the method.
Those who oppose marine reserves have been posing a Catch-22. I'm not sure whether it is a clever rhetorical maneuver or whether they really don't see it. They say, "You have to show us the scientific proof that these are needed," or, "We need to do the science that will show that marine reserves will work here," or words to that effect, before reserves are established. But the point is precisely that we must have reserves in order to do comparative studies. Until we can compare exploited areas with untouched habitat, we won't have a scientific means of measuring the impacts we are having on the ocean. We need to establish marine reserves, and allow enough time for them to restore themselves to something approaching an untouched state, in order to do the science. Marine reserves are based on science, which is why the scientific community overwhelmingly supports them, but they aren't an end-product of science, they are an absolutely critical research tool. Without the ability to study intact ecosystems, we really don't know what impact we're having. Instead, we get empty, totally anecdotal assurances that in recent years fishermen "have never seen Oregon's ocean so healthy." As compared to what? We really don't know what a healthy, fully productive ocean would look like--no one did studies 150 years ago. We have to set aside key habitat areas, allow them time to heal from human impacts, and then do comparative studies, to give ourselves even an inkling. With any luck at all, we'll find that if we protect the core spawning and rearing habitat, fish populations will increase to the point that a sustainable fishery is actually greater than we can currently achieve while we are groping in the dark. But setting up marine reserves is a precondition to finding out.
PhillipJ's post make a lot of sense. How do we know what our ocean could be without fishing if we have no areas without fishing? At a minimum, it seems worth trying in a few spots. How can we do all the research so many have asked for without having a reserve?
I don't know the entire Oregon coast, but I'm pretty sure there are areas along the coast that are not fished very much if at all. Those would be the areas that are about half-way in between ports. Most of the fishing in Oregon's territorial waters(out to the 3 mile line) is for lingcod, rockfish, crab or salmon and the salmon just pass through, they aren't "resident". Most fishermen, at least sportsfishermen, will not make long trips to fish for rockfish. And the trawlers are prohibited from fishing over the rocky bottom in Oregon's territorial sea. So I'm pretty sure there are areas that while maybe not pristine in the sense you mean, are relatively unfished simply because fishermen consider those sites too far to go for rockfish and lingcod when those species are abundant close to port.
So, I'm not so sure MRs are needed in order to do comparative studies. I definitely agree that more research is needed. I believe that need is in many ways independent of the MR question. But the funding for theat research has not been appropriated, not for the many years it has been needed. I don't see how establishing MRs is suddenly going to get the legislature and the govenor to fund research on or in Oregon's territorial seas.
Phillip- Let me ask you a question..... There are currently 14 areas off the Oregon Coast that are designated MPA's - Marine Protected Areas. Places such as Three Arch Rock is closed to fishing within 500 feet due to nesting bird habitat. The Stonewall Bank High Relief area is closed to ALL fishing to protect Yellow Eye and Canary rockfish and their habitat. Three Arch has been closed for many years and Stonewall banks for the last 4 years.
Any guess how much research has been done in these closed areas? None. How many researched studies are currently being proposed for areas with de-facto no take zones in Oregon? None. How much money is being put forward to study the current no take zones, or new ones through Marine Reserves? None.
Three Arch Rocks is closed to research vessels, too. I couldn't tell you what research may be planned for Stonewall. MPAs are not marine reserves. The kind of research we're talking about would be long-running--areas closed for a while to protect particular species, not committed to protecting entire ecosystems, aren't going to induce scientists to launch such long-term projects, nor foundations to fund them. Marine scientists strongly support the concept, and believe that they will be able to gain support to study them. We'll have to ask some of them to weigh in on the details of prospective research funding. I was addressing the underlying logic of the situation--there have to be habitat areas and ecosystems reliably protected for long periods in order to make the needed research possible in the first place. We aren't talking about stock assessments here--we are talking about ecosystem-based management.
As Oregonians, we have a responsibility to be good stewards to our environment, on land and at sea. Though we have protected state parks and other on-shore areas, the places immediately offshore, key habitats for whales, fish birds and crabs are not protected. Worldwide, less then one percent of the ocean is protected. We have no assurance that our ocean waters will flourish in the future. Currently, there are indicators that our coastal ecosystems are in decline (die-offs of baitfish, seabirds, ever increasing dead zones and other species). By establishing a network of marine reserves and protected areas in Oregon?s Ocean, we will ensure that healthy ecosystems continue to drive our ocean (by giving species safe havens from human impacts) and flourish for future generations to enjoy.
The "dead zones" in Oregon waters are completely natural events caused by plankton blooms which occur as a result of the upwelling and currents. A [b]MR will do absolutely nothing[/b] to impede a "dead zone" from occuring. And upwelling is the reason why the ocean off Oregon is so productive.
A paper that was just published in last week's issue of Science, ("Emergence of Anoxia in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem") found that the hypoxic/anoxic events documented off our coast since the year 2000 are unprecedented in our scientific record. This is just one recent study which indicates that all may not be as well with our ocean as some say.
Megan, thanks for the info on the article in Science, I'll get a copy. The previous info I've read agrees that the dead zones since 2000 are unprecedented in our scientific record. However, there is some debate about what that means. Some say the dead zones are occuring now in ways they never occured before and some say they have occured before but that the science was not there to record them and hence they do not show up in the scientific record. I don't know which is true. The presentation I saw on oxygen level included more data points in the last two ro three years than had been collected in all previous years. Those data points were oxygen readings at various depths, dates, and locations. The instrumentation has developed by huge amounts in the past few years.
Since when I looked for the article online (it was not available) I saw the names of the authors and at least some of them presented info at OSU last year(or the year before), I'll stick with my statement that MRs will not help prevent dead zones. There may be changes in the wind patterns and currents that have an effect on dead zones, but a MR won't affect the wind patterns or currents.
The two recent commissions on the oceans found many things that need to be corrected and/or improved with the world's oceans. But going from what is not well in the oceans of the world (the general) to saying that those same things are not well in the ocean off Oregon's coast (the specific) is not good reasoning. Because the oceans of the world have problems does not mean that those problems exist in all places. ODFW does much better at managing the ocean off Oegon than is done on the east coast or even in WA or CA.
To: Sandra, Meryly, Megan, Philip J, and all other proponents:
What you seem to be missing is how FLAWED this whole process has been. Many stakeholders are in agreement that we should continue to improve the way the ocean resources are managed. Philip mentioned the usefulness of having areas set aside as controls. I understand and agree with this concept.
How many of you know that the original OPAC process, 6 or 7 years ago, was working on a very different proposal for marine reserves? It was to start out on a small scale, design one or two areas, stay open to changing the design / plan, and proceed carefully? That was a model with a high chance of stakeholder support.
Yet for some reason this wasn't good enough for the governor's office. Instead it turned into this huge push for many large-scale reserves. The backlash that you are seeing is a direct result of the way the process leap-frogged over all the normal, trust-building steps.
Think about your own job / career - how is it you get things done? Do you foster good relationships with the people you work with? Or do you just do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if it leaves a wake behind you of destruction & broken relationships?
Don't you get it?
This is what is happening before your eyes with the whole process. Like Onno said....you engage local stakeholders first.
Now here we are, with the local stakeholders so upset & mis-trusting of the people behind the process. And finally, they have Oregon SeaGrant facilitating the outreach process, but only after the relationships & trust have been ruined. I feel sorry for the SeaGrant folks. This outreach is happening way too late; it should have been one of the FIRST steps; not 11th hour.
The governor's "Legacy" on this topic will certainly not be around the leadership of bringing Oregonians together.
To: Mark and other proponents: Since I don't know you individually, I don't know whether you are being disingenuous or whether you really don't understand how we got to this point. The idea that marine reserves are suddenly being rushed through is utter nonsense. The state's policy since 2001 has been to establish "a limited system of marine reserves" (not "one or two"). That is exactly what we are finally talking about--fewer than ten modest-sized and carefully located reserves. This should have happened seven years ago. However, development of marine reserves was blocked by opponents who succeeded in having the legislature gut OPAC and then, after a gap of several years, reconstitute it with a membership designed to cause gridlock (and leaving out the agency representatives who should be central participants). The Governor at long last exerted the leadership to say that this delaying tactic would no longer prevail and that we would finally follow through on what is already state policy. What has been set up is a perfectly legitimate process, with LOTS of "stakeholder" input--heavily skewed toward those with commercial interests in the ocean thus far--and, eventually, strong scientific input, although we haven't heard enough from the scientists as yet.
Don't you get it? We are all equal stakeholders in our common ocean, those of us who advocate ecosystem-based management every bit as much as those interested in harvesting particular species. This is about nudibranchs and sea stars and algae and seabirds every bit as much as rockfish. This process did begin with "local stakeholders" (who dominate OPAC, among other things). Oh, brother, have we ever heard from the local stakeholders. The Governor's office has leaned far over backwards to give coastal residents a forum. It is time we started hearing more from the equal stakeholders who live elsewhere in the state, and from the scientific community.
Your notion that we should just establish one or two, and be ready to constantly change them and "proceed carefully," demonstrates that you don't grasp the concept. We need enough reserves, and large enough reserves, to encompass representative samples of the key ecosystems and habitats in Oregon's territorial waters, and we then need to observe them over long periods of time. What you are proposing is a placebo.
i don't know where to find the "state policy" referred to above. In the last 3 years or so that I have been following the process and attending about half of the OPAC meetings, the governor has gone through several revisions of his proposals on MRs. At one time he proposed the entire OR territorial sea as a MR and apparently hadn't researched the Magnason Stevens Act or other federal laws pertaining to MRs. After another revision or two it was legacy reserves and now a few months later it's research reserves. From my point of view the governor has not provided leadership on MRs and the changing of his proposals every few months has caused many problems for OPAC. It's no wonder the coastal folks don't trust him on this issue, it's impossible to tell where he'll go on it next. That was the one of the main messages Chip Terhune, his chief of staff, received during his meetings on the coast.
Just to clarify a couple of points, in response to Ron Mason's comment: The Governor didn't propose that the entire Oregon Territorial Sea be a marine reserve. He proposed that the entire continental shelf off Oregon be a federal Marine Sanctuary. This is an entirely different process, and wouldn't have involved no-take restrictions on fishing. A lot of people who support marine reserves would agree that, while his heart may have been in the right place, the Governor jumped ahead too quickly on this, and didn't have a well-thought-out plan. But it is neither here nor there with regard to the marine reserves process. "Legacy" and "research" are just descriptive words--they don't indicate anything different in terms of the formal process of creating marine reserves. So, while I would tend to agree that the Marine Sanctuary proposal was a bit of a detour, other than that the Governor has been quite consistent in pushing for creation of the limited network of reserves that is already a state policy goal.
Right off the top of my head, I don't know where to go to dig up the policy on marine reserves originally adopted by OPAC and accepted by Gov. John Kitzhaber. I'm sure it is buried in my files somewhere, but don't have time to look. If you really want to see this, I would suggest contacting Greg McMurray, the lead staffer to OPAC, email@example.com. I'm sure he can dig it up.
I've had my say on all this. Just wanted to respond on those details.
This is my first time listening to this station and I really appreciate the open forum of discussion the station creates. I feel I was informed on both sides of the arguement and from the information expressed on the show, I can gather my own assesment of what I value as important concerning the issue.
Absolutely unbelievable that so many educated people cannot keep their postings succinct and to the point. On and on and on and on you folks go when very few people read your long-winded opining's. A sad commentary on a sad subject only to make it worse with folks that must have missed WR 101...
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