They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and these historical photos from Noyo Harbor, at the south end of Fort Bragg, tell a more vivid story about Northern California's rich fishing heritage than any list of numbers. The photos show halibut the size of full grown men, and decks overflowing with the day's catch.

Fishing has been a part of the area's way of life for as long as people have lived there. And that is precisely why north coast residents are so intent on protecting their ocean resources.

Fortunately, local fishermen are working alongside conservationists, businesses, tribal leaders and government groups on an ocean protection plan tailored for the region's unique socioeconomic and environmental conditions. The Marine Life Protection Act has brought these stakeholders together to plan a system of sea life refuges that balances protection of key breeding and feeding grounds with tribal and fishing access.

The community's marine protected area plan has earned support from state decisionmakers, with some adjustments to accommodate traditional tribal harvest. The plan is expected to be finalized later this year.


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