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

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Date Published: 02/12/2018 09:00 PM
AB2191:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2191


Introduced by Assembly Member O’Donnell

February 12, 2018


An act to add Section 35622 to the Public Resources Code, relating to ocean resources, and making an appropriation therefor.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2191, as introduced, O’Donnell. Ocean Protection Council: White Shark Population Monitoring and Beach Safety Program.
Existing law establishes the Ocean Protection Council and prescribes the functions and duties of the council with respect to the protection and conservation of coastal waters and ocean ecosystems. Existing law requires the council to develop and implement a voluntary sustainable seafood promotion program.
This bill would require the council to develop and implement a White Shark Population Monitoring and Beach Safety Program to award grants to academic institutions engaged in, and local agencies assisting with, research regarding white sharks and to local agencies engaged in operations to promote public safety on California’s beaches. The bill would appropriate an unspecified amount from the General Fund to the Ocean Protection Council for these purposes.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: YES   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 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:

35622.
 (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 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 amount of ____ dollars ($____) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Ocean Protection Council for the administration of this section.