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The Bay Foundation Enhances Boater Program with Vital Marine Protected Area Education

Los Angeles CA—  The Bay Foundation’s (TBF) Boater Education and Outreach Program (BEP) is adding Marine Protected Area (MPA) education into its programming. The goal is to increase the knowledge of MPAs and compliance with associated regulations across Southern California’s growing and evolving recreational boating and angling communities, whose actions can easily impact the health of the ocean environment. To increase access to the program, several educational resources are now provided in both English and Spanish.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) website states, “The need to safeguard the long-term health of California’s marine life was recognized by the California Legislature in 1999 with the passage of the Marine Life Protection Act. This Act aims to protect California’s marine natural heritage through establishing a statewide network of marine protected areas (MPAs) designed, created, and managed using sound science and stakeholder input.” Today, California’s MPA Network consists of 124 different MPAs, Recreational Management Areas, and Special Closures. These designated marine spaces create the nation’s first statewide MPA Network, and the largest ecologically connected MPA network in the world. Together, they act as a natural underwater corridor to protect, conserve, and rebuild underwater ecosystems and marine life populations along California’s coast.

In lieu of face-to-face education and engagement at large boat shows and marinas, TBF has implemented an interactive virtual outreach campaign with the goal to reach 5,000 anglers and/or boaters over a period of 18 months. Beginning this Spring 2021, the long-standing statewide Dockwalker Program, led by the California Coastal Commission’s (CCC) and DBW’s Boating Clean and Green Program, and implemented in Southern California by TBF, now incorporates MPA information into Dockwalker Trainings for its foreseeable future. And, in March of this year, TBF, CCC and California State Parks co-produced an online presentation called the California Clean Boating Network Meeting, featuring several experts including an MPA expert, and reaching more than 185 individuals.

“Combining audience-specific resources with consistent engagement, to both introduce and increase knowledge retention rates about MPAs, is truly significant,” says Tom Ford, CEO, The Bay Foundation. “Integrating MPA content into existing programming pairs perfectly with our ongoing efforts and directly supports our mission to conserve and rehabilitate natural resources. This work will deliver results and help to build outreach capacity for years to come.”

TBF has also newly created the following educational resources as virtual outreach tools available for Southern California boaters and anglers:

MPA & Fishing Intro Video
With the assistance of the CDFW, TBF created a first-of-its-kind, user-friendly, animated video on California’s MPA Network, breaking down each type of MPA and other conservation areas in the network. This video was created to not only educate and empower boaters on MPAs and their fishing regulations, but to inform them of compliance through positive images showing how to correctly interact with MPAs. The video is available in both English and Spanish. (English / Spanish captions)

MPA Knowledge Review Quiz
Want to test your knowledge? Take the California MPA Knowledge Quiz! This interactive engagement tool can take boaters, anglers, and recreational MPA users through a customized educational journey ending with a ‘Quiz Score’ and pairing you with a mystery marine creature. The quiz explores topics like the purpose, meaning, and impact of an MPA, the different types of MPAs and their regulations, and common fishing laws in California.

Make Your Own Fishing Line Recycling Container
To normalize and promote the behavior of recycling fishing lines amongst boaters and anglers, TBF created a do-it-yourself guide for making recycling containers for used fishing lines, and in the process, reuse household materials. Marine debris, like used fishing lines, contributes to ongoing marine pollution and endangers marine life in our oceans and MPAs.  By using this recycling guide, anglers will not only be able to create their own fishing line recycling container, but will learn where the closest fishing line recycling station is, and where to find further MPA educational information.

In addition to virtual outreach through trainings and presentations, existing boater education resources were updated and published. Various educational materials provided to Dockwalkers and the public, such as Tide Calendars and a quick reference guide, now include detailed information about MPA regulations and best practices in both Spanish and English. In partnership with the California Clean Boating Network (DBW, CCC, San Francisco Estuary Partnership) TBF has also spread the word about MPAs to thousands through published articles in The Changing Tide newsletter. The statewide newsletter features environmentally-friendly boating tips, place-based boating destinations, and programs and services related to clean boating.

This work is funded by the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and Coastal Quest and developed in collaboration with CDFW, California State Parks and CCC.

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