Southern California Marine Protected Areas

The South Coast Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process has been underway for a while now.  Recently, the Blue Ribbon Task Force (decision makers) put forth their Integrated Preferred Alternative, combining three different marine protected areas (MPA) proposals.  The process is moving toward adopting MPAs, but a lot of people are still up in arms about losing Southern California’s best fishing locations.  So I set out trying to figure out if these claims were true.

There are a ton of fishing websites out there, and I came across two that have GPS locations for the *best* fishing areas in Southern California posted to their sites.  With these lists of GPS points, I created a spreadsheet, converted the lat/longs to a GIS-friendly format, created shapefiles from these tables, and overlayed these points with the recently-proposed protected areas.  And what do you know?  Very few of the (independently determined) best fishing sites actually fall within the protected areas.  Take a look…click on the image for a larger version.

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