I (Jennifer Savage, your Humboldt chairperson) have been hired by the Ocean Conservancy to help implement the MLPA locally. You can contact me directly with questions via email@example.com — but a good starting place is Surfrider’s MLPA blog.
The short answer to the big question:
Will the Marine Life Protection Act “shut down” surfing, diving and other recreation?
No. One of the law’s goals is to improve study, education and recreation opportunities along our coast, recognizing the economic and cultural benefits ocean resources provide to local communities. Marine reserves and protected areas are often deliberately sited near public beaches and state parks to provide easy access for diving, kayaking, surfing, and research. On the North Central Coast, stakeholders have proposed the creation of five to seven small “no disturbance zones,” or special closures, which the Department of Fish and Game can designate outside the Marine Life Protection Act to protect bird and mammal breeding grounds and haul-outs. There are no plans at this time to designate special closures on the South Coast.