Don’t Let 30 By 30 Destroy California Fishing & Hunting

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California’s governor signed an executive order in October of 2020 mandating 30% of California’s land and waters be set aside to protect against loss of biodiversity due to climate change. He ordered the creation of a special coalition, and they need to send him proposals for implementation by no later than February 1st, 2023. 

This will be a highly impactful process to our rights as citizens to hunt and fish.

We need to organize a group of outdoorsmen and women and interject our voices into the decision-making conversations. The public process isn’t where the real battles are fought and won. 

California 30 by 30 Newsom
The current and next generation of anglers and spearos is at stake.

We need to become experts on the executive order and its mandates and use this knowledge to our benefit. 

We want to embrace the reality that this executive order isn’t going away and move on to use this as an opportunity to create healthier fishing and hunting resources and to guarantee access to those resources for today and the future. 

30 By 30 Conservation Background and Clarification

The 30 by 30 campaign is a global initiative to set aside 30 percent of the world’s lands and waters in an effort to ensure continued or improved biodiversity in the face of threats from global warming. Much social media attention has recently been given to the “30×30 initiative”.

Slogans like “oppose unless amended” and “say no to AB3030” have circulated widely in fishing and outdoor enthusiast circles in response to the World Surfing League’s and Surfrider’s blanket endorsement of the initiative. 

Of critical importance to California residents is that it is too late to oppose or say no to the initiative. 

On October 7th, 2020, after AB3030 died in committee in the state senate, Governor Gavin Newsom instituted a very similar mandate to protect 30 percent of California’s lands and waters by 2030 by executive order.

In his decree, the governor orders, “ To combat the biodiversity and climate crises, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), in consultation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and other state agencies, is directed to establish the California Biodiversity Collaborative.”

He goes on to order that this new Collaborative, in conjunction with the CNRA, will have strategies recommended to accomplish the conservation mandate to the governor no later than February 1, 2023. 

Again, there is no opposing this. It is coming and coming quickly.

Luckily, the governor listened to the vast opposition, which defeated AB3030 and modified his order to mandate stakeholder input and some level of protection of our access to fish and hunt. But input does not mean influence, and it definitely doesn’t guarantee an acceptable outcome.

We need to get involved.

Further, in reading the executive order, we should find a great opportunity to do a lot of good for the health of our resources and also to strengthen our right to access them to hunt, fish, and forage. But to accomplish anything, we need to insert ourselves into the foundations of this mandate and influence the outcome. 

To this end, and drawing from my experience representing the Santa Barbara area Spearfishing community during the Marine Life Protection Act process, I offer the following insights and strategies for consumptive users of our state’s resources (hunters, fishermen, spearfishermen, foragers, commercial fishermen, etc.) to maximize our collective results in not only protecting our access to our state’s natural resources but hopefully improving the health of those resources as well. 

Realities, Strategies, and Tactics


Critical Reality 1: This is a multi-billion dollar undertaking.  State bureaucrats, NGOs, university scientists and employees, and to a lesser degree, industry lobbyists, have tremendous economic incentives and will control this process. They are organized and professional and do this stuff for a living.  Large foundations, with their own agendas, will most likely quickly be part of the research and funding mechanism. 

Critical Reality 2: The public input process called for in the executive order is actually not an input process at all but rather a sales process designed to make stakeholders feel like they were heard and part of decision-making. 

Critical Reality 3: All actual policy molding happens in private meetings, almost always between people with long-standing professional relationships. We need to be part of this. Dinners, lunches, cocktails, dives, fishing, and hunting invites have worked in the past.  

Critical Reality 4: The process will be managed to a controlled outcome using “The Delphi Method.” We must understand how this protocol works when it is being used and how to defeat it or at least control it for our benefit. 

Critical Reality 5: Stakeholders will be manipulated in ways that put us at odds with one another. Sport fishermen will be the enemies of commercial fishermen. Spearos is the nemesis of scuba divers—hunters against hikers, etc. The division is the first step in conquering. Only through unified dissatisfaction with some and resounding support for others in key areas of the mandate itself can anything be accomplished. 

Critical Reality 6: Any appearance of aggressive or argumentative behavior or speech, particularly at the public input sessions, will be used against us. Any arguing against the science behind the executive order without using peer-reviewed, widely accepted competing scientific opinions is harmful to our credibility. We will be painted as “climate change deniers” and morons. 

Strategies and Tactics

Strategy 1: Become Experts On the Topic

  • Tactic 1: Read the executive order, related international and national initiative positioning, and deeply understand the underlying goals.  

Strategy 2: Build a Powerful and Influential Platform of Like-Minded Stakeholders

  • Tactic 1: Form an “allied outdoor person’s coalition.”  Find one or two dynamic and well-connected representatives of spearfishing, rod and reel fishing, party boat, responsible commercial fishing, hunting, marine science, tribal community, etc., to represent their constituency. These representatives must be well respected and have strong social or traditional media followings. Be inclusive of all genders and nationalities. The more diverse, the better. 
  • Tactic 2: Elect or appoint a director and two or three overall reps for the coalition. These folks need to have time, energy, and the ability to speak publicly and negotiate privately. 
  • Tactic 3: Come to a consensus within this group about our key mandates, what non-negotiable items are, and which stances can be sacrificed if need be.  
  • Tactic 4: Enlist the support and endorsement of every like-minded entity in existence (dive clubs and councils, environmental groups who understand the importance of locally harvested food on lowering carbon footprint, clothing manufacturers, celebrities, chefs, etc.)

Strategy 3: Create Meaningful Representation and Influence in the Process

  • Tactic 1: Research inside and out who is in control of the process from a governmental and scholastic standpoint. Start here: http://biodiversity.ca.gov/
  • Tactic 2: Once we have a handle on who is managing the implementation, brainstorm within the coalition we formed to see if anyone has any connections to those people. If not, make some.
  • Tactic 3: Inform the government-created biodiversity coalition of our newly formed group and our intention to be included in the process. 

Strategy 4: Control Public Opinion and Influence Stakeholders Outside of Your Normal Circles of Influence

  • Tactic 1: Make a plan to attend every meeting on this topic available. Fill the public input sessions with polite, well-informed members of your allied stakeholder group. Take the podium. Write follow-up letters. Be interviewed by the news, papers, and podcast/web media. 
  • Tactic 2: Social media campaign to enlist support. 

Strategy 5: Be In It for the Long Haul

  • Tactic 1: This will take time and energy over a sustained period. Consistency is key. We need to commit to involvement until the end. 

Links to 30×30 Plan Executive Order

*This manifesto was submitted anonymously by a friend who’s influential in the community but wished to remain anonymous.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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