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JULY 2011
COMPASS provides this newsletter to alert California-based marine scientists to relevant policy developments and opportunities. If you want more information, have items to contribute, or have comments about the newsletter, contact Toni Mizerek at or 831-648-7988.






August 3 - Fish and Game Commission Location: Sacramento 2011/2011mtgs.asp
To learn more, see Making Connections on the next page.

Check for updates on a Sacramento luncheon briefing on Ocean Acidification around the end of August!

July 7 - San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Location: San Francisco commission/cm_mtng.shtml July 7-8 - The National Academies, Ocean Studies Board Location: Irvine July 13-15 - CA Coastal Commission Location: Santa Rosa July 21 - San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Location: Oakland commission/cm_mtng.shtml July 21 - CA Coastal Conservancy Location: Half Moon Bay /

Aug 4 - San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Location: San Francisco commission/cm_mtng.shtml August 10-12 - CA Coastal Commission Location: Watsonville Aug 11 - CA Ocean Protection Council Location: Sacramento Aug 18 - San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Location: Oakland commission/cm_mtng.shtml

California Fish and Game Commission

History & Mission The California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) was established in the California Constitution in 1940. The Legislature delegated to the Commission a variety of policy making powers. Who The Commission is composed of five members, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for six year terms. The Commissioners are not full-time State employees, but individuals involved in private enterprise with expertise in various wildlife-related fields. Staff handle day-to-day administrative activities. Responsibilities The Commission regulates the taking and possession of wildlife (terrestrial, aquatic or marine), including take limits and methods, possession limits, and open territories and open seasons. The Commissions deliberations are intended to reflect the interest, understanding and involvement of every Californian who appreciates the states wildlife resources. Its decisions must reflect the biological needs of Californias fish and wildlife, as well as the wishes, needs and desires of all those who enjoy those resources. While the Fish and Game Commission sets policy (through its delegated legislative authority), implementation and enforcement of those policies is left to the Department of Fish and Game, a state agency. The Fish and Game Commission and the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) The Fish and Game Commission is the final decision making body in the MLPA process. The MLPA requires California to reevaluate all existing marine protected areas (MPAs) and design new MPAs that together function as a statewide network. MPA proposals are developed by stakeholders, evaluated for scientific and policy consistency, and ultimately approved or denied by the Commission. How to get involved (Aug 3, see Key Events above) Fish and Game Commission meetings take place at least eleven times per year to publicly discuss various proposed regulations, permits, licenses, management policies and other subjects within its areas of responsibility. You can participate by attending meetings and providing public comment: The Marine Resources Subcommittee makes recommendations on all marine resource matters considered by the Commission. These meetings are also open to public participation (next meeting: Sept 25, 2011). Thanks to Matt Armsby at the Center for Ocean Solutions for research and writing support.

State Parks: AB 42
Assemblymember Huffman July 11, Senate Committee on Appropriations This bill would authorize the Department of Parks and Recreation to enter into contracts with qualified nonprofit organizations to assist with state park operations. For the bill description, search for AB42 at

Food Labeling: Genetically Engineered Food. AB 88

Assemblymember Huffman May 27, Assembly Committee on Appropriations This bill would require the labeling of all genetically engineered salmon entering and sold within the state. For the bill description, search for AB88 at

Ocean Resources: Ocean Protection Council: Sustainable Seafood. AB 337

Assemblymember Monning July 13, Senate Committee on Appropriations This bill would provide that the voluntary sustainable seafood program, and actions taken by the Ocean Protection Council to implement the program are not regulations for the purposes of the Administrative Procedures Act. The OPC will develop the programs protocol through a transparent process and adopt it in a public meeting. For the bill description, search for AB337 at http://

Shark Fins: AB 376

Assemblymember Fong July 6, Senate Committee on Appropriations This bill would prohibit the sale, trade, distribution and possession of shark fins in the state of California. The bill includes exemptions for some research, as well as for existing, legal commercial and recreational shark fisheries in California. For the bill description, search for AB376 at http://

Marine Fisheries: Forage Species. AB 1299

Assemblymember Huffman July 6, Senate Committee on Appropriations This bill would recognize the value of forage species in the ocean, require that any new fishery regulations for forage species account for their value as prey, prevent new fisheries from developing on currently unexploited forage species, and prioritize human consumption of forage species over their use as animal feed or fertilizer. For the bill description, search for AB1299 at http://

Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative
There are five study regions for which California is working to establish a statewide network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Each Regional Stakeholder Group designs MPA proposals for a study region. Once MPA proposals are completed they undergo scientific and policy review, and are ultimately approved or denied by the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC: see more in Making Connections above), which is the final decision making body in the MLPA process. Regulations have been adopted on the central, north-central, and south coast. South Coast Region - Point Conception to California/Mexico border In December 2010, FGC adopted regulations to create a suite of MPAs in the south coast region. This network consists of 49 MPAs and 3 special closures (including 13 MPAs and 3 special closures previously established at the northern Channel Islands), covers approximately 354 square miles of state waters representing approximately 15% of the region, and will go into effect October 1, 2011.

Baseline Program

The Ocean Protection Council awarded funds to support initial monitoring of the newly designated South Coast MPAs. The projects will collect baseline information for up to three years -- targeting marine life, habitats, commercial and recreational activities -- inside and outside the MPAs. North Coast Region - California/Oregon border to Alder Creek FGC in June selected a proposed MPA network project with an option for tradition tribal gathering and a regulatory and environmental review process will be initiated. This option will allow tribal gathering to continue in State Marine Conservation Areas (not State Marine Reserves), by specific tribal users, where a factual record can be established that shows ancestral take or tribal gathering practices by a federally-recognized tribe in that specific MPA. This tribal take would be limited to particular species and gear types. San Francisco Bay Region A project is underway to develop the planning options report that will consider a variety of factors in the study region (socioeconomic and jurisdictional settings, existing planning and restoration efforts, overlap with current projects, informational needs of the community, and anticipated resources needed for implementation). The options report will also consider planning processes that have taken place within the study region, as well as lessons learned from previous marine protected area planning processes.

Additional Updates
South Coast MPA Monitoring Plan - Revised Draft Plan
All public comment on the draft South Coast MPA Monitoring Plan was reviewed by the Monitoring Enterprise (a program of the California Ocean Science Trust) and revisions were made to the Plan. The revised draft plan was submitted for consideration by the California Fish and Game Commission at the June meeting and they are expected to act on the request to adopt the plan as an appendix to the MLPA Master Plan at the August meeting. To view the plan: http://

Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2011. S. 46
Jan 25: Introduced by Senator Inouye (HI) May 25: Passed through Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation This bill would amend the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (CRCA) to shift the focus of CRCA activities to address ecosystems, require development of a national coral reef ecosystem action strategy, and make anyone who injures a coral reef liable for the damages. loc.uscongress/legislation.112s46

Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2011. H.R. 738
Feb 16: Introduced by Representative Bordallo (GU) Feb 18: Referred to Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs This bill notably incorporates the concept of resilience into coral reef conservation activities. It would extend the award of remaining coral reef conservation program grant funds to appropriate projects, including monitoring and assessment, research, pollution reduction, education, and technical support. H.R. 738 aims to: (1) minimize injury to a coral reef or loss of an ecosystem function resulting from human activities; and (2) stabilize, repair, or restore the reef. legislation.112hr738

Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2011. S. 630

Mar 17: Introduced by Senator Murkowski (AK) July 11: Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under general orders. The bill would authorize the Department of Energy to expand its research and development on marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy.

West Coast Ocean Protection Act. S. 171

Jan 25: Introduced by Senator Boxer (CA) Referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources A bill to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently prohibit the conduct of offshore drilling on the outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington. http://

National Endowment for the Ocean. S. 973

May 12: Introduced by Senator Whitehouse (RI) Referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation This bill would create a trust fund to be used to promote the protection and conservation of marine ecosystems, including grants to local and regional bodies. 112s973

Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Boundary Modification and Protection Act. H.R. 192
Jan 5: Introduced by Representative Woolsey (CA) Jan 26: Referred to the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs This bill would expand the boundaries of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) and the Cordell Bank NMS.

Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act. H.R. 946

Mar 8: Introduced by Representative Hastings (WA) June 14: Hearings held: Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs This bill would allow killing of sea lions to reduce predation on endangered Columbia River salmon,

Implementing the recommendations of the BP Oil Spill Commission Act of 2011. H.R. 501
Jan 26: Introduced by Representative Markey (MA) Feb 25: Referred to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections This bill would build on the spill response bill passed by the House last year, updated to implement the recommendations of the Presidents commission. 112hr501

Coastal Jobs Creation Act. H.R. 594

Feb 9: Introduced by Representative Pallone (NJ) Feb 18: Referred to the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment This bill would promote coastal jobs creation, promote sustainable fisheries and fishing communities, and revitalize waterfronts through such programs as cooperative research in fisheries management, preservation or restoration of coastal resources, redevelopment of waterfronts and ports, and cooperative research on fishery and marine mammal stock assessments. loc.uscongress/legislation.112hr594

Marine Debris Act Reauthorization Amendments of 2011. H.R. 1171

Mar 17: Introduced by Representative Farr (CA) Mar 21: Referred to the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs The bill would reauthorize and amend the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act by requiring the Administrator of NOAA to in part investigate, identify sources of, assess, reduce, remove, and prevent the occurrence of marine debris and to address and prevent adverse impacts of such debris on the marine environment, navigation safety, and the economy. loc.uscongress/legislation.112hr1171

Reversing President Obamas Offshore Moratorium Act. H.R. 1231

Mar 29: Introduced by Representative Hastings (WA) May 17: Placed on Senate legislative calendar This bill amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to direct the Secretary to determine a domestic strategic production goal for the development of oil and natural gas, to make available for leasing and conduct lease sales in the 50% of the available and unleased outer continental shelf planning area.

Fishery Science Improvement Act of 2011. H.R. 2304

Jun 22: Introduced by Representative Wittman (VA) Jun 22: Referred to House Committee on Natural Resources This bill amends the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 to provide the necessary scientific information to properly implement annual catch limit, and for other purposes.

Sustainable Offshore Aquaculture Act. H.R. 2373

Jun 24: Introduced by Representative Capps (CA) Jul 6: Referred to Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs This bill would establish a regulatory system and research program to guide sustainable offshore aquaculture in United States waters. For the regulatory system the Act would authorize the Secretary of Commerce to permit, regulate, monitor, and enforce offshore regulations for aquaculture in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. A sustainable aquaculture research program would be administered by a new Office of Sustainable Offshore Aquaculture within NOAAs National Marine Fisheries Service.

National Ocean Council (NOC) Strategic Action Plans - Accepting Comments
As part of President Obamas commitment to move toward the first comprehensive national policy for our oceans, the NOC is responsible for developing strategic action plans (SAPs) to achieve nine priority objectives that address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. To better help inform the SAP development, NOC previously solicited comments on each of the priority objectives. The NOC released nine draft SAP outlines in June based on each priority objective and the comments have been received. The purpose of these SAPs is to provide an initial view as to how Federal agencies might address the priority objectives.

National CMSP Workshop

The NOC hosted a national CMSP Workshop in Washington, D.C. June 21-23. The first day of the Workshop was a dedicated public and stakeholder session. The National Workshop, as called for in the National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes, brought together Federal, state, tribal, and regional representatives to develop an understanding of the CMSP process, build a community of future CMSP practitioners, and consider next steps for regional implementation. The archived webcast of the CMSP Workshop is online at: by watching the latest videos.

National Aquaculture Policies

The Department of Commerce (DOC) and NOAA each released aquaculture policies to allow sustainable domestic aquaculture to contribute to the U.S. food supply, support coastal communities and important commercial and recreational fisheries, and help to restore species and habitat. NOAA sees aquaculture as a critical component to meeting increasing global demand for seafood and maintaining healthy ecosystems. Priorities in the NOAA policy include: making timely management decisions based on the best scientific information available; advancing sustainable aquaculture science; ensuring aquaculture decisions protect wild species and healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems; developing sustainable aquaculture in locations compatible with other uses; working with partners domestically and internationally; and promoting a level playing field for U.S. aquaculture businesses engaged in international trade. To view the policies and comments, visit:

NOAA Scientific Integrity Policy - Comment period open

NOAA has developed draft scientific integrity policy and an accompanying procedural handbook with a goal of continuing to enhance the culture of transparency, integrity, and ethical behavior. A public comment period is open until August 15.