At The Commission's February 7, 2000 Meeting, Rob Collins, The Fish and Game
Dept. employee in Charge of Nearshore Commercial Fishing Issues proposed the
adoption of a change in regulation to allow Nearshore fin fish traps to be baited and set
overnight north of Point Arguello, just north of Santa Barbara.
Presently the commercial fishers have to pull their traps each day, thus reducing efficiency.
In response the Commission immediately ordered the Fish and Game Department to move forward and adopt the regulation authorizing overnight baiting of nearshore fin fish traps.
The consequence of this will be to expand and increase the take of nearshore fish such as Rockfish, Sea Perch and Cabezon, which are already under intense commercial fishing pressure from 900 commercially active inshore fish trappers.
The Commission had earlier recognized the present threat to long-living and slow reproducing inshore reef fish by significantly reducing the permitted inshore catch of Sport fisherman effective January 1, 2000 but surprisingly has failed to take any significant management action directed at the commercial sector, which extracts the lion's share of rock and reef fish and which caused the present crisis!
Why is the Commission looking into increasing this fishery's efficiency when so many have testified to the depletion of nearshore fish????? Why, when live fishery landings at Monterey INCREASED 500% from 1997-1998?
Why, when so little is known about the habitat and populations of nearshore fish? Why, when we KNOW Cabezon and other nearshore fish are so residential that this measure will result in many more of them being flushed out? Is this what is meant by the precautionary approach to management?
This action by the Commission is totally irresponsible and brings into question their commitment to the protection of wildlife, and resist pressure from commercial wildlife extractors interested in a quick profit at the expense of the Public's natural resource.
It should be opposed NOW!
The efficiency of nearshore commercial fishers needs to be REDUCED, not increased! They should BAN the 150 untended hooks allowance. They should have to fish hook and line just like the Sportfishers. That's what's meant by "equal access" to the fishery.
They need to PROVE there is a harvestable excess before allowing this EMERGING fishery to EMERGE any more! Have they proven this harvestable EXCESS exists? Where? I haven't seen the proof. That is what is meant by "precautionary". The burden of proof is on those who say a harvestable excess exists, not on those who say it doesn't! This is right from the mouth of the National Marine Fisheries Service!
We can keep talking about it but we need letters to be written now, before it's too late and the decisions have been made.
Please send me copies of your letters by e-mail along with permission to post your letters and/or name to this site.
Write to the Fish and Game Commission at:
I would also suggest letters and e-mail to Fish and Game personnel:
Send copies of your letters to your local State Newspapers. Their addresses can be found by clicking on this LINK.