We hope readers of “Chumash marine sanctuary proposal sparks debate” (Nov. 29) noticed that the information provided on the benefits of national marine sanctuaries is historical and factual, and the “controversy” is based on opinion, anecdotes and groundless surmise (“possible prohibitions …,” “suspected future restrictions …,” etc.).
The authors of the economic study finding that sanctuary designation could conservatively add $23 million annually and 600 jobs to our local economy have pointed out to critics that if they want to claim this finding is “exaggerated,” they need to provide credible contrary data (and haven’t).
The National Marine Sanctuaries Act was passed in 1972. Since then, 14 sanctuaries have been established. In none of them have there been popular uprisings due to excessive or unnecessary regulations or an alleged loss of “local control.” Instead, local communities have pressed for sanctuary expansion, as recently successfully occurred in Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
Morro Bay’s mayor needn’t insist that “the state’s Department of Fish and Game or the National Marine Fisheries Service … should continue to regulate fishing off the Central Coast and not sanctuary administration” after the Chumash Heritage sanctuary is established. As the historical record makes clear, they will continue to do so.
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Andrew Christie, director, Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club