Who benefits, and who suffers, from protected marine reserves?
When you go to the coast do you want the freedom to fish and boat anywhere you like? This week and next state officials and Oregon scientists are visiting coastal communities to talk to residents about the possibility of designating up to ten marine reserves along the coast between the shore and three miles out to sea.
This would mean no more fishing, or other activities that alter natural habitats, in these special zones.
At the moment there are no official marine reserves in Oregon. Local residents wonder why this idea is being pushed by the state when the necessary resources to create, and monitor, the zones might not be available. They worry about the socioeconomic impact this will have on them. How will the coastal communities — and specifically the fishing industry — be impacted if these zones are introduced?
Who will benefit if these marine reserves became zones for learning about the ocean? Local scientists? Or people from other states? Should Oregonians have first dibs at research on our coastal waters?
And what about the species this aims to protect? What impact would these marine reserves have on the fish and animals that live in our waters?
- Mark Hixon: Professor of zoology at Oregon State University and chair of the Marine Protective Areas Federal Advisory Committee
- Onno Husing: Director of the Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association