At the late August Commission meeting in Oakland, the DFG staff prepared a handout giving the rational behind the new regulations. Originally the department was considering raising the recreational minimum size limit of cabezon to 16", which scientifically would allow for more breeders to remain in the water. The department then came back and said no, we want it to remain 15" because the commercials have told us the Asian market likes the smaller pan size cabs, and we the department would like to keep the sport and commercial size limits the same for the enforcement division. Our sport regulations are now being dictated by the needs and wants of the livefish market. That is the tail wagging the dog.
Good science and good fishery management have always taken a back to seat to profits when a fishery is managed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Commission has now deferred management of the nearshore waters to the same Council that has managed the shelf into a 170 year groundfish closure. Rather than close the season during lingcod and cabezon spawning and nest guarding months, they have it open. Sport fishing in November and December, and commercial open year round except for April and May. I have seen male lingcod guarding the nest eggs of two or three different females at one time. Once the ling is gone, all of the eggs are eaten within a few minutes. What happened to science?
Randy NorCal RFA www.savefish.com