LAGUNA BEACH : More Protection for Sea Life Considered


To protect sea life such as scallops, mussels and snails that the city’s recreation director says are being indiscriminately taken from local beaches, the Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday will consider a plan to extend marine life protections along the entire coast of the city.

The measure, which also would require approval from either the Legislature or the state Fish and Game Commission, would create a seven-mile-long protection zone along the Laguna Beach coastline that would extend 600 to 700 feet from shore.

If enacted, the measure would make Laguna Beach the first city in Orange County to provide such protection for its entire coastline.


The coastline would become a marine life refuge. All recreational activities would still be permitted, but there would be restrictions on the types of sea life that could be taken from the ocean.

Currently, the city has marine life refuges at opposite ends of town. The city also has a small ecological reserve at Heisler Park, where recreation is restricted and the taking of marine life is prohibited.

City officials have considered the idea of extending marine life protection along the coast for some time but have hesitated because they did not want to limit activities such as swimming, surfing and sailing, said Cindy King, director of recreation and social services for Laguna Beach.

But King said she has continued to receive calls from concerned citizens encouraging the city to enact additional coastal protections. Some have even offered to hold fund-raisers to boost the effort. “We have been told by people who live on the ocean that people from out of town come down with big buckets and take mussels and shells,” she said.

King said she has talked to representatives from more than two dozen local organizations about the measure, including neighborhood associations, fishing groups and scuba divers. She has received no negative reaction to the proposal, she said.

Extending a marine life refuge requires amendments to the state Department of Fish and Game code, a process that King said could be handled by the Legislature or the Fish and Game Commission.


If the City Council supports the measure, State Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) has agreed to consider supporting the city’s effort in the Legislature, said a spokeswoman for the senator’s office.

The earliest such a change could go into effect would be Jan. 1.