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Judge Rejects Challenge To Calif. Marine Protected Areas

Aired 10/18/11 on KPBS News.

A judge in San Diego has dismissed a lawsuit from a fishing industry group challenging the Marine Life Protection Act.

The state approved three marine protected areas for Southern California last December, including an area off San Diego's coast.

The decision came after hundreds of meetings during the past 10 years as part of the Marine Life Protection Act.

Warner Chabot is CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters. He says San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager dismissed a lawsuit brought by a handful of sport fishing groups.

"I think the lawsuit was basically disgruntled fisherman who participated fully in the process and had their voice heard," said Chabot. "But the end result did not come out their way so they tried to blow it up with a lawsuit."

The protected areas for the South Coast region, including off San Diego's coast, are expected to go into effect in January 2012.

Chabot expects more legal challenges to come at that time.

Several studies have shown protecting selected areas lead to more sustainable fisheries and a more healthy ocean ecosystem.

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