Remember the dead blue whale that washed ashore near Fort Bragg in October, after having been hit and mortally gashed by a research vessel? The vessel, "Pacific Star," was mapping the sea floor to gather habitat data for the state's Marine Life Protection Act implementation process.
Well, reports Dan Bacher of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, State Lands Commission staff have found that the vessel was in violation of its permit terms at the time it struck the whale.
Staff found that the company:
-Did not notify the State Lands Commission prior to its survey activity
-Did not have marine wildlife observers on board.
SLC staff recommended the permit be revoked until Jan. 17, 2010. The commission voted Dec. 17 not to revoke the permit, but said it must be followed in the future -- and that means having those marine wildlife observers aboard.
Bacher and others with strong antipathy toward the way the MLPA Initiative is unfolding on Cali's shores say the SLC staff's finding against the vessel is yet another blot on the "sordid" MLPA process.
For a less-bitter (more balanced) take on the SLC's findings, check out the Santa Rosa Press Democrat 's report .