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Three Plans Released For South Coast Marine Protected Areas

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Aired 9/25/09

Three proposals for a south coast network of marine protected areas was released Friday One area under consideration for protection is off San Diego's coast.

Three proposals for a south coast network of marine protected areas was released Friday One area under consideration for protection is off San Diego's coast.

Three groups have been working for more than a year to map out areas that would be off-limits for fishing to protect marine species. Each group has a different focus: one on conservation, one on fishing and a third "middle ground" team is charged with creating a compromise plan.

Kate Hanley, who is with San Diego Coastkeeper , is part of the conservation group.

She said that group's plan would protect ecological hot spots including the southern half of La Jolla's reef, while leaving nearly 90% of coastal waters open for fishing.

"La Jolla reef system is unmatched in terms of beauty if you're a diver, the water quality is relatively pristine and the biological diversity is just off the charts," Hanley said.

The middle ground group also includes some protection for La Jolla but the fishing group does not.

The three proposals must go through an economic and scientific review before consideration by the Blue Ribbon Task Force and the state Fish and Game Commission.

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