Blackwater to enforce California's marine protected areas

By Dan Bacher | California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham on April 1, 2013 announced the beginning of a historic...

By Dan Bacher |

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham on April 1, 2013 announced the beginning of a historic partnership between Blackwater (now Academi Corporation) and the CDFW to enforce the statewide network of marine protected areas created under the landmark Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

The Western States Petroleum Association, Walmart, Safeway Corporation and the Resources Legacy Foundation, all avid backers of the MLPA Initiative, have generously offered to pay for the costs of enforcement.

Bonham announced that the Academi Corporation – previously known as Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide – will be enforcing these "Yosemites of the Sea" and glorious marine parks in an innovative public-private partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"It's time to get tough with anglers who cross the line into our pristine marine reserves, now that the glorious network of marine protected areas is in place from the California/Oregon stateline to the U.S./Mexico border," said Bonham. "Blackwater is renowned for its no-holds barred enforcement style and we want every angler to know that they will treat violators of these marine reserves with no mercy."

"However, oil companies, municipal polluters, corporate aquaculture operations, the U.S. military, and wind, wave and nuclear power companies don't need to worry, since only fishing and gathering are prohibited in these wonderful new underwater parks," emphasized Bonham.

Bonham added that volunteers from the Coalition of Ocean Greenwashers (COG) and other Walton Family Foundation-funded environmental NGOs will assist the CDFW and the Academi (formerly Blackwater) in their surveillance of fishermen.

"The visionary public-private partnership between the state of California and the Academi corporation will hopefully pave the way for the wholistic protection of our marine waters through the removal of all fishermen and Tribal gatherers," said Leon Panetta, longtime backer of the MLPA Initiative, former CIA Director and former Secretary of Defense. "Their removal will allow the military, private contractors, oil industry and ocean industrialists to restore the historic bounty of our oceans by bombing, drilling and exploiting them. Protection is destruction and destruction is protection."

Panetta also announced that the CIA has graciously agreed to offer its drones to assist the private contractor, CDFW and volunteers in the surveillance and apprehension of violators of the historic network of marine protected areas that was completed on December 19, 2012.

"This unprecedented cooperation between the federal government, CDFW, private corporations and volunteers in the enforcement of marine protected areas marks a new dawn in environmental protection," said Governor Jerry Brown. "If the public-private partnership between the state and Blackwater turns out to be as fruitful as we predict it will be, we anticipate using Blackwater and other private contractors to remove pesky Delta farmers from their land to make way for the construction of my peripheral tunnels to deliver water to needy San Joaquin Valley farmers such as Stewart Resnick of Paramount Farms and to the oil industry to expand hydraulic fracturing in California."

"The removal of those tacky hook-and-line fishermen and seaweed gatherers from vast areas of the ocean clears the path for environmentally sustainable activities including offshore oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing, ocean mining, seismic testing, wind and wave energy projects, aquaculture and urban development," said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast. "I'm thrilled to hear that an organization with such a stellar reputation as Blackwater will be helping the Department of Fish and Wildlife to enforce California's visionary Yosemites of the Sea."

Bonham added that the Department, in conjunction with Blackwater, will also step up its enforcement of the new sturgeon fishing regulations, reminding anglers that the penalties for catching sturgeon without obtaining a punch card are "extremely severe."

Anglers can view the video taken on a sturgeon trip on San Pablo Bay by Gordon Hough, captain of the Morning Star, demonstrating the Department of Fish and Wildlife's new "get tough" policy in action:

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