Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, protect our coast

May 16, 2023

Opinion by Mandy Davis

We’ve all heard that expression, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water!” There is nowhere this might better be applied than to the issue of the designation of a marine sanctuary off our Central California Coast.

Many support the designation as is, all well and good. These folks are just pleased as punch with the bathwater – perfect in every way and nary a question or concern in their minds – and quite happy with the political and pro-wind farm direction the nominators are taking it in.

Then there are those of us that just ain’t too happy with the murky appearance and questionable contents of the “bathwater” really concerning issues to be seriously taken into consideration for the health of the “baby.”

As spokesperson for the COAST Alliance, I announce that we have recently disassociated ourselves from the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, Violet Sage Walker and the sanctuary group of which COAST was a founding member, because of significant issues with the recent direction the decision makers are taking the project.

Our priority is, and always will be, the health of the oceans. We still support a marine sanctuary on the Central Coast with the same size and basic protections it would provide: sanctions from industrial damage in its various forms such as seismic testing, oil and natural gas exploration and production, mineral exploration and the potential to oppose an offshore windfarm if not presented in an environmentally non-damaging form.

A marine sanctuary could benefit us all from a scientific research and economic standpoint as well.

So, we as an alliance, are prepared to support the sanctuary with the request of some changes to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and you as an individual or an organization can do the same.

NOAA will be opening the last public comment period probably within the next 60 days. Now is your opportunity to voice exactly what you would want in an established sanctuary, be it absolute assurances of no regulation of fisheries, a change in name, an inclusion or exclusion of overall protected acreage, specific preference in a management modality or any other changes you would like to see.

For its part, COAST will be asking for these changes and additions:

1) a change in name to better include all local indigenous entities,

2) an administrative board that would not be co-managed by the Chumash, but would be heavily weighted towards local indigenous input (six or seven seats on the board), as well as local stakeholders from various industries, NGO’s and city and county government,

3) a very clearly stated intention that the sanctuary not be involved in fishing regulatory practices and recommendations,

4) and that any other federally recommended industrial projects that are adjacent to the sanctuary meet the standard of the sanctuary itself in non-disturbance of the marine ecosystem, as damages close to the sanctuary boundaries will negatively impact the sanctuary itself.

We have a voice in this matter! Most of us would love to see our coastline and oceans be protected for future generations, so don’t summarily negate something just because you don’t like one aspect of it. Ask for change and be part of the process. And please, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater!

You have a choice. You have a voice.

Mandy Davis is the spokesperson for Citizens Opposing Acoustic Seismic Testing (COAST), and a Los Osos resident who lived on her sailboat in Morro Bay for 20 years.

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I must disagree with sansimeonsam1. I found the article well written and believe it brings up some good issues.

I applaud the work of the late Fred Collins, a wonderful man who represented the Chumash as he championed this cause, but there are many stakeholders in the proposed sanctuary. I believe that the project can only benefit from increased involvment of other indigenous groups with a stake in this important work.

The marine sanctuary was proposed some time ago, and all the details were made available to the public. There is a wealth of information about it easily available to anyone who is interested and is willing do do a simple online search. Just search on “Chumash marine sanctuary”.and you will find excellent references with far more detail than it would be possible to provide in a CNN opinion article.

This editorial is poorly written to say the least. The author provided exactly NO background on the issue so i don’t know what this sanctuary will or will not do, the pros and cons and whether or not the author supports or doesnt support some sort of sanctuary. We are all dumber for having read this. I wonder if one of Trumps people wrote it.

Regulations to prevent the overfishing off our cost is essential to any measures that would aim to protect our marine environment.

The measures you speak of have been in place for years. California is one of the most regulated states fishing wise. Commercial fishermen are being strangled to death at this point. This NMS is just a power/ocean/land grab. Once it goes it we will lose ALL local control as it will be a federal project. Follow the money.