Blogfish listens, and a sincere commenter asks why MPAs (ocean refuges) in California? Big question, here's a short version of the answer.
Most of California's natural reefs have very few big fish. According to Milton Love and his colleagues: "High fishing pressure on most rocky outcrops in central and southern California has led to many habitats almost devoid of large fishes." This is a problem that needs a solution. Big rockfish are important for reproduction, and the term BOFFFs was invented to describe the special value of big old fat female (rock)fish.
What to do? These habitats are dominated by Sebastes rockfish, which are generally slow-growing, long-lived fish that congregate near rocky reefs. It is much more efficient to protect these fish by closing some areas to fishing. As a more difficult alternative, overall fishing rates would have to be drastically reduced if lower catch limits alone were used to allow some of these fish to escape capture year after year and grow big.
It's true that the biggest problems in California are offshore in deeper water, but some nearshore fish are also experiencing heavy fishing pressure and localized depletion if not overall depletion. With fishing now restricted in deeper water, increased pressure is occurring in the nearshore area. If we don't protect some areas now, the nearshore area will be the next great crisis.
Basically, we need some refuges where fish can grow and reproduce unmolested. They aren't perfect, because fish move, but they work on land for creatures that move. Ducks Unlimited has had great success protecting migratory waterfowl by protecting some critical habitats, even though the birds move and are hunted elsewhere during part of their lives. It's a practical, commonsense idea that works even for migratory animals like ducks and duck hunters are among the strongest supporters (are THE strongest supporters perhaps).
Are you a duck hunter, Brett F? If so, then thank the refuges. If not, then ask a duck hunter about the value of refuges.
Besides, do you really need to fish everywhere? If you can't catch everything you want in 90% of the ocean, why do you think the remaining 10% will satisfy you?