Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi’s MPA Watch Experience

PV MPA Boat Trip

As a surfer, I love taking my family to the South Bay’s many beautiful beaches. Most everyone in the South Bay is familiar with the great beauty of the coastline that I am fortunate to represent in the 66th Assembly District that begins in Manhattan Beach and stretches south through Rancho Palos Verdes. However, most people may not know that under water there is a rich and thriving ecosystem that has been designated as an underwater wilderness where fish and sea creatures are protected so they can grow large and reproduce. These protected areas are known as Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a volunteer survey of the Rancho Palos Verdes MPA with LA Waterkeeper. LA Waterkeeper routinely surveys  the MPAs to monitor activity and shares it with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The state has limited resources to watch these areas, so it is always helpful to have an extra pair of eyes out on the water.

We set off in the “Waterkeeper” from Marina del Rey and our skipper for the “three hour tour”, Michael Quill, immediately began pointing out all the wildlife –brown pelicans, dolphins, and sea lions. Our trip took us south along the coast and I was able to appreciate the view of the South Bay that I don’t often get to see – from the water looking toward land. When we arrived at the MPA, which is located off of Point Vicente and extends south to Abalone Cove, the volunteers and I were immediately put to work. One person called out GPS coordinates, another used a range finder to measure the distance to boats in and around the MPA, another took pictures, and I recorded all this information, which will be logged into a system and shared with CDFW and the general public.

After our survey was complete we pulled our boat near a group that was working on kelp forest restoration. These divers are fishermen who work along with LA Waterkeeper to remove sea urchins, which will allow the kelp to grow and replenish the area. This partnership allows the fishermen to work and helps restore the ocean habitat which results in both a healthier ecosystem and a better stock of fish.

My experience on the water was refreshing- it allowed me to better understand the rich resources along our coast and the importance of sustaining the environmental community. It was a humble reminder of the interconnectedness of our coastline and community.

-Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, 66th Assembly District

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