Bob Kurz serves on the state board of Coastal Conservation Association California and is also a trustee for the International Game Fish Association.
Growing demand for gold, platinum, phosphorous and other valuable minerals found off our coast may someday lead mining companies to bring destructive extractive machinery to California’s nearshore seafloor.
The result could be widespread damage to the kelp forests, rocky reefs, coral gardens and other areas that nurture fish and wildlife and sustain the recreational and commercial fisheries vital to our coastal economy.
The California State Lands Commission should proactively address this threat by implementing a precautionary ban on seabed mining for hard minerals in state waters.
As a lifelong sport fisherman, I know how important it is for the state to set catch limits, regulate the type of gear that is used to catch various species, establish fishing seasons and protect the areas that nurture marine life. This robust management system is supported by decades of scientific study of fish populations and sustainable catch rates.
However, California has comparatively few rules or specific standards governing seabed mining. Companies can apply for exploration and mining leases in many areas along our coast.