The Jan. 16 World editorial titled, 'Marine reserves: So far, so good," is based on the mistaken idea that resource conservation equates to job loss. One important reason to establish marine reserves and/or marine protected areas is to allow big, old, fertile female fish a chance to continue their function as prime brood stock, helping commercial fish stocks, and the species that feed them, repopulate in surrounding waters. Though some local species are being fished commercially in a sustainable way, other populations are not healthy. A system of connected reserves and protected areas forms a safety net to ensure that generations of those who fish for a living, plus those who fish for fun, will always have the chance to find fish at the end of their lines or in their nets.
The World's editorial characterized those speaking in support of the concept as part of an 'anti-fishing movement," ... 'many of them imported for the occasion from the Willamette Valley...." I attended the Port Commission meeting on Jan. 11 and spoke on behalf of the local Audubon Chapter, Cape Arago Audubon Society, in favor of establishing a Cape Arago Marine Reserve or Marine Protected Area.
We are not part of any anti-fishing movement. We are local residents concerned about ocean health and the sustainable use of natural resources.
Advisory groups in neighboring counties to the north and south of us embraced a democratic process to consider establishing marine reserves and/or protected areas off their coastlines, where researchers will study the impact on ocean health. Our local advisory group worked diligently for 18 months, but was significantly hampered by the failure of port leadership to allow the presentation of relevant scientific data.
There is no clear logic in Coos County falling behind while we wait years to learn the results of data collection in reserves and protected areas of the near-shore waters off Lincoln County and Curry County. Future research will eventually conclude what other data from around the world already tells us: The concept of marine reserves and protected areas translates into a sound insurance policy to help guarantee future generations will enjoy the benefits of our ocean wealth.