As one of the three focus areas of the MPA Collaborative Network (CN), we realize the importance of compliance and enforcement, especially how engaging allied agencies (e.g. lifeguards, State Parks, peace officers, and county officials), impacts the performance of MPAs.

As a refresher, the MPA CN is currently developing a statewide MPA enforcement curriculum and has completed two (Orange County and San Diego) of the 14 enforcement trainings for allied agencies which are set to take place from 2019-2022. The goal of these trainings is to inform enforcement officers from allied agencies about MPA regulations and the cite authorities they may have, and to foster a closer collaboration with California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division.

Recently, due to COVID-19, many allied agency partners have expressed interest in trainings, both virtual and in-person for a single, small group (e.g. one department). The CN is working to develop site-specific curricula to ensure the material is most relevant to each department.

South Coast Specialist, Aubrie Fowler, is simultaneously continuing to track enforcement information (e.g. cite authority, number of contacts made per month, number of citations) across the state, starting in the South Coast. Los Angeles county is the next county slated for a compliance workshop, the first step to get public input on local coastal compliance issues, followed shortly thereafter by an enforcement training. The compliance workshop will be held virtually for both Malibu and Rancho Palos Verdes because of COVID-related concerns. The Los Angeles compliance workshop virtual event info will be announced soon.

Additionally, the MPA CN, CDFW, and other partners have heard from countless groups that recently coastal resources are threatened. This perceived increase in visitation to the coasts, and in some areas an increase in poaching, is likely linked with COVID changing people’s way of life. A recent Los Angeles Times newspaper article (here) tells the story of people attempting to take buckets of intertidal animals for sale and for food from the tidepools at White Point in San Pedro. After the countless reports of tidepool take, both legal and illegal, CDFW held a call with partners to discuss solutions that are both rapid and culturally aware. CDFW also recently posted a news update on their website reminding beach goers of tidepool collection regulations; view the post here. Improved outreach and education to the public (e.g. clearer and more visible signage, physically distanced tidepool volunteers), as well as allied agency enforcement trainings, are needed now more than ever to protect ocean resources.

Tidepool focused signage for Swami’s SMCA.

Beach patrol with illegal take.

Outreach and education in MPA tidepools.