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A Clearer Look At The Value of California’s Coast

September 9, 2009

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - A "day at the beach" means big bucks for the Golden State. Coastal recreation brings in tens of billions of dollars for coastal communities, and a new study finds 90 percent of visitors to the Southern California coast are there for activities other than fishing. These so-called "non-consumptive" activities include things such as swimming, surfing, wildlife viewing or just walking on the beach.

The study co-author, Linwood Pendleton, Ph.D., says these activities also bring in more money to coastal economies than fishing.

"When you add it all up, these "non-consumptive" coastal visitors are spending quite a bit of money. In fact, they're spending on the order of $115 million a year. Those are the people who don't participate in any kind of fishing activity at all."

Pendleton says this first-of-its kind study will be useful in the Marine Life Protection Act planning process.
The study will help coastal managers balance the needs of anglers and other users, Pendleton adds.

"We're not just looking at how do we design networks of marine reserves that minimize the impact on anglers, but how can we think about what the beneficial impacts will be on those millions of Californians who like to go to the coast and just see animals."

On Thursday, stakeholders will finalize three separate proposals for a network of underwater state parks from Santa Barbara to Mexico. Many commercial fishermen believe the new preserves will close too much of the ocean to fishing.

The study looked at 11 coastal counties between May 2008 and March 2009. More about the study is online at (click on MPA corner).

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA