Marine Life Protection Act groups declared state agencies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California Superior Court ruled that the Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force and Master Plan Team are state agencies and compelled by California’s Public Records Act to share information with representatives of angling and conservation organizations working to protect recreational ocean access, according to a press release from the Ocean Access Protection Fund.

The ruling came in a response to a lawsuit filed by Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Malloy & Natsis LLP, on behalf of Robert Fletcher, former president of the Sportfishing Association of California, a member organization in the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans.

“Now we’ll get to see information that has been previously hidden from us about key decisions made by the BRTF and MPT,” said Steven Fukuto, director of the OAPF, in the release from the organization. “Our success in this lawsuit will allow us to shine a light on important decisions that have been made in the dark. We have every confidence this ruling will help us better understand how decisions have been made under the MLPA, and to examine the legal basis for those decisions on behalf of anglers and sportsmen across the state.”

Fukuto adds, “This ruling is an important first step, but we’re going to need more financial assistance from anglers to support our efforts to fight this flawed process in the courts.”

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