Impending Suit Against California Department of Fish and Game

Half Moon Bay, California
November 25, 2002

Northern California fishing organizations are banding together to fight for our children's right to fish. They have joined forces in the belief that something is dramatically wrong when a child cannot catch a rockfish from the beach in a supposed conservation effort, while our state government allows rockfishing businesses to fish in those same waters.

Over the past several months, galvanized into action by regulatory proposals that would severely restrict one of the most important remaining recreational fisheries on the Central California Coast, various recreational angling groups have joined forces to challenge proposed limitations on recreational rockfishing. Coastside Fishing Club President Bob Franko views the new regulations as unjustified discrimination against the right to take a child fishing. "Our heritage is being challenged, and these new proposed regulations do not achieve the purpose that was intended," said Franko. "The days of grandpa taking his grandkids fishing on a party boat or in a little aluminum boat is vanishing before our eyes."

The Coastside Fishing Club in conjunction with the San Francisco law firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, intends to file suit to challenge the newest regulations in an effort to protect traditional recreational angling rights. Lead by litigator Jim Miller, a 25 year veteran of Brobeck, Coastside members have been preparing the case and have worked on forming a coalition with leaders of the sportfishing community whose members are impacted by the new regulations. Those supporting the effort include: Bob Franko (President, Coastside Fishing Club), Roger Thomas (President, Golden Gate Fisherman's Association), Randy Fry (President, Northern California Recreational Fisherman's Alliance), Bob Strickland (President, United Anglers Northern California), Tom Raftican (President, United Anglers Southern California) , and Bob Fletcher (President, Sportfishing Association of California).

The suit will focus on the unusual degree of deference shown by the California Department of Fish & Game to the commercial fishing interest dominated Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and will challenge the data relied upon by the Commission in the latest round of regulatory cutbacks. "The fishing community has had enough," said Franko. "We are sorry to be forced to go to court to get recreational angling back where it belongs at the top of the Fish & Game Commission Agenda, but this has been forced upon us. The state has shown flagrant disregard for the rights of recreational anglers and they have done this without regard to the fact that no rod and reel fishery has ever threatened an ocean species. The scientific data that Fish & Game have quoted to justify this miscarriage has been shown to be inaccurate and unsubstantiated. Any parent has always been able to take a child fishing throughout the entire history of this state, and it has never hurt the fish population."

Robert Franko President, Coastside Fishing Club P O Box 1422 El Granada, CA 94018-1422 (650) 726-1666