There are some activities in life — fishing, hunting, reading a paper, purchasing certain goods and services — that are closely tied to "inalienable rights." People get emotional when you take them away.
There are also times when those activities become at risk due to overuse.
The truth is often somewhere in the middle.
Unfortunately, in our day, it takes lawsuits to figure it all out, and that's what will happen here.
Several different groups, including the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans, United Anglers of Southern California and Coastside Fishing Club, are asking the court to set aside regulations established through the state's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.
"The validity of these regulations is being challenged in court," said Mike Leonard, ocean resource policy director for the American Sportfishing Assn. "That battle is far from over. Much can happen between now and Oct. 1."
The groups' arguments are largely over procedure; they cite the alleged influence of environmental groups in the formation of the new law, along with accusations of violating the California Environmental Quality Act.
But they also said in a prepared statement that they are fighting for "everybody who enjoys fishing in our state's ocean waters, whether from surf, pier, powerboat or kayak."
"We are also protecting the interests of all those who treasure open access to our ocean and the coast, from sport divers and surfers to swimmers and beachcombers," the statement said. "We also represent the interests of businesses tied to recreational fishing and boating, such as tackle shops, fuel docks, hotels, marinas and boat dealerships."
On the other side are environmentalists and government agencies, trying to keep healthy stocks of marine life.