Northeast, California move forward with marine reserves

It’s time to call in the marine reserves (think fish, not guns). The Conservation Law Foundation and the Canadian branch of the World Wildlife Fund issued a report yesterday recommending that a network of ocean areas off the eastern coast of Canada and the U.S. be protected from fishing and other human activity. After six years of mapping 24,000 square miles in need of protection, the groups will now encourage pertinent legislation — sure to be a long and controversial process. Meanwhile, California is a few steps ahead: 200 square miles of briny deep off the central coast will get protection beginning in early 2007. Fisherfolk are largely disgruntled — “We’re being regulated out of business,” says one — but greens argue that in the long term, reserves lead to bigger fish and greater biodiversity, ultimately benefiting fisheries. Says Warner Chabot of the Ocean Conservancy, “It’s the beginning of a historic shift in how we restore, protect, and manage our oceans.”