Today's Law As Amended

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AB-2191 Ocean Protection Council: White Shark Population Monitoring and Beach Safety Program.(2017-2018)

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The health of marine ecosystems along the California coastline affects the well-being of people around the globe.
(b) California’s estuaries and beaches have both commercial value and less-tangible, but equally important, human value.
(c) California’s beaches provide no-cost recreational opportunities to millions of residents from the coast to inland, who personify California’s ethnically and socioeconomically diverse population.
(d) California’s beaches attract tourists from throughout the world, fueling California’s economy.
(e) Southern California is a known nursery for white sharks in the northeast Pacific Ocean, and newborn and juvenile white sharks can be observed aggregating very close to the shoreline during the summer and fall months.
(f) During the last 10 years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of white shark sightings off of southern California’s beaches.
(g) In 2017, law enforcement, water safety personnel, and white shark research teams were overwhelmed by the record number of white shark sightings, draining existing fiscal resources.
(h) While increases in white shark sightings and populations are a positive sign of recovering ocean health, public fear surrounding the proliferation of white sharks along the densely populated southern California coastline could lead to unscientific efforts to reduce protections.
(i) There are growing public safety, environmental, and economic concerns relating to the increased numbers of juvenile white sharks observed along southern California beaches, but little scientific evidence collected indicating how and why these sharks use these areas.
(j) Local municipalities and public water safety officials have struggled to develop policies on shark sightings and incidents because of lack of information about rising shark populations and shark behavior.
(k) Gaining a better understanding of the white shark population through increased research, monitoring, training, and education will not only promote the health of ocean ecosystems, but also improve public safety on southern California beaches.

SEC. 2.

 Section 35622 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

 (a) The council shall develop and implement a White Shark Population Monitoring and Beach Safety Program for the purpose of awarding the following types of grants:
(1) Grants to academic institutions, public agencies, and nonprofit corporations engaged and experienced in research regarding white sharks, including, but not limited to, the monitoring and tracking of white shark movement along the California coastline.
(2) Grants to local agencies assisting with research regarding white sharks conducted by academic institutions.
(3) Grants to local agencies engaged in operations to promote public safety on California’s beaches as it relates to white shark sightings. Qualifying operations to promote public safety include, but are not limited to, training programs for lifeguards, harbor patrol, state game wardens, and other water safety and wildlife protection personnel on how to identify and safely interact with white sharks and programs to develop and implement emergency response protocols.
(b) The council shall be required to develop and implement the program set forth in subdivision (a) only upon the appropriation by the Legislature of funding to the council for that purpose.