(CN) – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to allow non-native fish to be introduced into the parts of national marine sanctuaries that are also in California state waters, if the species is released as the result of fish farming, or “mariculture”.
The agency’s regulations had allowed the introduction of striped bass released after catch-and-release recreational fishing, but California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger formally objected to the agency’s ban on the introduction of all other non-native species. In a letter to the Secretary of Commerce last December, Schwarzenegger said that unless the agency agreed to include the introduction of non-native species that are the result of mariculture or research authorized by the state, he would declare the agency’s regulations void in the state waters of California.
The agency has agreed to allow non-natives introduced during state regulated mariculture, but rejected the exemption for research activities in the Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries. The National Marine Sanctuaries Act grants governors the right to void restrictions on activities that fall within state waters.