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.
posted 5 years, 3 months ago
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