The MPA Collaborative Network’s Compliance Initiative, supported by Ocean Protection Council (OPC) Once-Through Cooling Mitigation funds, and in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the California District Attorneys Association, and Resources Legacy Fund (RLF), is a multi-year initiative that aims to improve the compliance and enforcement of California’s network of MPAs. This initiative includes MPA violation data collection, MPA trainings for enforcement officers and management partners, community compliance forums, and a District Attorney MPA training and task force.
MPA Data Collection
The CN is continuing to work with enforcement officers and management partners across the state to collect MPA statistics (e.g., violations observed, contacts made, and citations written in MPAs). These stats from partners will help inform the MPA Enforcement Trainings as well as the 2022 Decadal Management Review.
MPA Trainings for Enforcement Officers and Management Partners
Thus far we have hosted MPA Trainings for Orange County, San Diego, San Mateo, and Mendocino. Attendees have included CDFW wildlife officers and enforcement officers and management partners from lifeguard agencies, Sheriffs’ Departments, City Police, Harbor Patrol, National Park Service, NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, State Parks, County Parks, and more. Our upcoming Enforcement Trainings include Catalina, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo, with the remaining trainings to take place through the spring and fall of 2022.
The pilot MPA patrol program with the City of San Diego Lifeguards continues to gain momentum. Lifeguards have been trained and are recording and sharing their efforts to enforce MPA regulations offshore by using the eFINS (electronic Fisheries Interagency Network System) enforcement tracking app. These MPA statistics include geolocated violations, contacts, and citations made in the Cabrillo State Marine Reserve, South La Jolla State Marine Reserve, South La Jolla State Marine Conservation Area, Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve, and San Diego-Scripps Coastal State Marine Conservation Area. This partnership between lifeguards, wildlife officers, and city attorneys will help facilitate the pathway from citation to prosecution for egregious MPA violations in San Diego.
Enforcement partners, including CDFW Law Enforcement, San Mateo County Parks, Pillar Point Harbor Patrol, and California State Parks during the San Mateo County MPA Enforcement Training in June 2021.
Community Compliance Forums
As a refresher, we have summaries of our Community Compliance Forums for each Collaborative, as well as statewide, posted in our Project Library. These Community Compliance Forum reports continue to inform our compliance projects, grant proposals, and more as we have shared our results broadly with the MPA Statewide Leadership Team (MSLT) and other partners. Letters of intent for each collaborative’s compliance projects informed by the forums have been approved and funding for projects is in the distribution process from RLF to each Collaborative’s fiscal sponsor. Collaborative compliance projects include, but are not limited to, co-hosting community-directed listening sessions, engaging with oppressed and underfunded groups, translating and printing materials, Tribal engagement projects, mobile digital traffic signs to display MPA messaging, spotting scopes to identify MPA violations, tourism-focused outreach, MPA and wildlife disturbance exhibits and displays, and MUCH more! One benefit of being involved in the Collaborative Network is the resource and knowledge sharing that happens across county lines. Pilot project best practices and lessons learned will be shared across Collaboratives, allowing expansion to other areas.
Prosecutor Training and Task Force
The California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) hosted a MPA training for members in May. Most recently, in a collaboration between DAs, CDFW, RLF, and the MPA Collaborative Network, the group held a DA Task Force meeting for prosecutors in September 2021. This training included CDAA members, including California District Attorneys (DAs) and City Attorneys. The goal of the MPA DA Task Force, is to increase the awareness around and improve the prosecution of MPA violations.
To see our last blog post about the Compliance Initiative, check out “MPA Compliance Initiative Update – Spring 2021“!