From the Fleet

Chris Goldblatt, Gold Leaf Sustainable

To set the record straight, I do not represent the commercial fishery or any other interest. I am acting solely out of my deepest sense of right and wrong. The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) will not remove the existing, complex fishing regulations; they will be in addition to them.
I recently attended a meeting at the Double Tree in Santa Barbara, California. The Department of Fish and Game-assisted meeting was technically public and formally intended to field ideas about how the marine protected areas were to be monitored once they were established.
My wife and I showed up bright eyed and bushy tailed. It was just us, two former abalone divers looking down the barrel of 30 or so hard core pro MPA people, most of them scientists, university heads and Packard Foundation members.

We had expected it to be a meeting well attended by the general public – it was not. Why? Because there was four million bucks of hard earned California Tax payer money up for grabs. The 30 plus scientists who looked like drooling hyenas at a fresh kill, certainly did not want to have to share a penny of it with any annoying members of the fishing public who will be giving up their freedom next year when several hundred square miles of the very best fishing grounds are forever and permanently off limits to any form of fishing or extraction. The meeting was even hidden under a fake name at the front desk.

When you contact fish and game to ask questions about the MPAs you are directed to Kelly Sayce of Strategic Earth, a foundation set up by Julie Packard of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and others to provide “information” to the public about the MPA process. So if you want info about the MPA’s our government passes you off to the pro MPA information minister. Kelly swears that she is neutral, but we all have allegiance to those that pay us.

Julie Packard funded the $18 million study to map out where to put the MPAs, but the day-to-day funding of $40 million a year is all on the taxpayer’s back. What else can be done with such a king’s ransom? How about actually managing the fisheries for a start, or funding anti pollution initiatives. Anything is better than the blatant waste the MPA crowd has planned for all the dough.

I was shocked when we broke down into smaller committees to come up with ideas as to how we should monitor the MPAs. So far they do not even have working definition for what constitutes success inside or outside the MPAs. I laughed when the seaweed guy wanted money to study seaweed, then the otter guy wanted big money for the otters. Each person came up with a non-committal open-ended study idea that would ensure funding for his respective University departments or foundations indefinitely.

One table was a study to look at the potential negative effects of surfing and paddle boarding on the intertidal areas inside the MPA. Also talked about was looking at how the use of SCUBA and underwater photography might harm the ecosystem. I am sure the pro MPA Surfrider Foundation and those that like to use SCUBA and take pictures will soon regret their support of the MPA as they may lose their right to surf and SCUBA dive inside the MPAs.

The Chumash nation, who initially supported the MPAs, also attended. When I explained that the MPA people were rounding up the last hunter-gatherers and putting them in reservations, one of the elders turned to me and said, “So you feel how we feel?” I replied, “Yes we do.” It was a powerful moment, especially given that the MPA people have formally revoked the Chumash federal treaty that guarantees them native harvest right inside the MPAs. Now even the Chumash and more than 15 other tribes will be denied their federally guaranteed rights to harvest clams and other seafood in areas where their people have sought ocean sustenance since the end of the ice age.

Nothing is sacred to the MPA people, except of course money. The California constitution guarantees the right to fish from the waters thereof.

Many of the scientists in the group had read my last piece in the Santa Barbara Independent and took the opportunity to personally insult me. One woman said she was personally offended that I said we need to study any potential long term negative effects on the coastal communities who used to fish the soon-to-be closed waters. Greg Helms who, like most others attending, was well paid to attend the meeting, said that he had never even visited some of affected communities, such as Paradise Cove, in Malibu, and that there was no need as they were properly represented in the process. Helms, who is profiting off the destruction of the fishing culture, had never even been the communities he has a hand in rendering mute.

The MPAs are the single biggest rescission of Freedom to Americans since Manzanar and the Indian reservations.

Wake up! We are being corralled like sheep by an arrogant scientific dictatorship whose only way to have a meaning in life is to take it away from others.

The MPAs exist for several reasons, none of which are to enhance or manage the fisheries. The MPAs are designed to green-wash the Governor’s legacy, feed Julie Packard’s ego and create funding and purpose for the marine biology industrial complex. Not a shred of scientific evidence can substantiate the need for the MPAs – we already have some at the islands and up north, why not study them for another ten years, then determine of more will be beneficial?
The MPA people open their eyes wide and look over your head when they repeat their cult-like mantras. They are very smart and know exactly how to manipulate us all. They are not pro environment; rather they are simply, anti man and see themselves as the ushers of a new age, forced evolution if you will.

I urge anybody who cares about the ocean, freedom and despises government waste to write to the DFG and the Governor and tell them to stop the MPAs before it is too late. Tell them to take a vote of NO action of a complete fisheries stock assessment of all of California can be conducted.

This is a clear case of private money not too subtly dictating public policy. I cannot think of a greater threat to our democracy.
Long Live A Free Ocean!

Chris Goldblatt has a BS in Fisheries and Business from Humboldt State University. He has operated and owned commercial and sport charter vessels all up and down the West Coast. He currently owns a dietary supplement company. Mr. Goldblatt has written two adventure novels based on his fishing experience, Stone Shot and Explosive Crossroads, both available on, and is finishing his third, The Lost Treasure of the Darien.