California Sets Goal of Conserving 30% of State Land and Coastal Waters by 2030

Alexandria, VA – Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that establishes a framework to conserve 30% of the state’s lands and coastal waters by 2030.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is hopeful that the process set forward by the executive order will improve the state’s already robust environmental safeguards while allowing for continued public access for sustainable activities like recreational fishing.

By February 1, 2022, the California Natural Resources Agency, in collaboration with other relevant agencies and stakeholders, is directed to develop and report strategies to conserve at least 30% of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030 (known as “30×30”). These strategies must achieve the 30×30 goal in a manner that “(e)xpands equitable outdoor access and recreation for all Californians.”

“The sportfishing industry looks forward to actively participating in the development of strategies to conserve 30% of the state’s lands and coastal waters by 2030,” said Danielle Cloutier, ASA’s Pacific Fisheries Policy director. “While the state has likely already achieved the goal through a wide range of existing conservation areas, we still believe this executive order can help identify additional opportunities to enhance biodiversity in a way that recognizes the recreational fishing community’s longstanding contributions to conservation and low environmental impact.”

The executive order’s overarching focus is biodiversity loss and climate change, with the 30×30 goal a subset of that focus. The executive order has a heavy emphasis on collaboration among agencies and engaging with stakeholders in identifying recommendations to address these challenges.

Earlier this year, a bill known as AB 3030 that aimed to achieve the 30×30 goal was considered in the state legislature. That bill was opposed by the ASA and other recreational fishing organizations primarily due to a failure to provide assurances regarding public access. That bill failed to pass the Senate and was not enacted.

“We appreciate Governor Newsom’s desire to bring together government and non-government partners to identify the best way forward for achieving the state’s conservation goals,” noted Cloutier. “We believe his approach is a better way to proceed.

“We also appreciate his recognition of the importance of expanding equitable outdoor access and recreation for all Californians. Recreational fishing and conservation go hand in hand, and this executive order sets forth a process to ensure that the benefits of the great outdoors can be enjoyed by all Californians for generations to come,” concluded Cloutier.