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California's Marine Protection Areas: A Science-Based Investment In Conservation

Publication Date: 
August 22, 2007
Stanford Report
Diane Richards

Senior Lecturer Margaret "Meg" Caldwell and Professor Barton H. "Buzz" Thompson Jr. are quoted in a Stanford Report article about new legislation concerning marine ecosystems along the California Coast:

The Marine Life Protection Act is a favorite subject of Margaret "Meg" Caldwell, a senior lecturer at the Stanford Law School who served on the first MLPA blue ribbon task force and is continuing as a member of the North Central Coast Blue Ribbon Task Force. Describing the act as one of "the most progressive pieces of legislation in the nation," Caldwell noted that the law shifts marine conservation in California "away from a fisheries-management, single-species approach" toward protection of entire ecosystems, and that it mandates conservation of marine resources and ecosystems for their inherent value as well as their utility.

"California stands in the vanguard of marine conservation," said Stanford law Professor Barton H. "Buzz" Thompson Jr., director of the Woods Institute for the Environment. Clear guidelines, public participation and steadfast adherence to the goals of the marine protection act are the winning recipe for MPA design and "an innovative management toolkit that can be transported and used anywhere," he added. Thompson anticipates a more comprehensive approach to marine conservation that goes well beyond the California coast. Oceans can be zoned, he explained, "to avoid conflict while maximizing environmental protection. The Marine Life Protection Act is a huge step in the correct direction."