That means THIS SEASON and next. In my opinion, this August 25th Commission

meeting represents one of our last chances to make a stand.

The DFG is going to go to the meeting and state that at their (sham)

"constituent involvement" meetings, there was a "strong" agreement by all

that the cuts in nearshore resources should be shared equally by all. Even

though 20 years ago, the recreational fishery was being operated

sustainably, which ALLOWED the presence of a commercial fishery there in the

first place! Now that they have come in and ruined it, we ALL need to share

the burden! PURE HOGWASH !

The new Commissioner, Mike Flores, is reported to be an avid duck hunter.

Perhaps he will enjoy the following analogy next Friday.

Imagine being a duck hunter who has enjoyed the sport for years. One day you

go out to your familiar blind only to find a commercial operation has set up

shop. Unlike you with your single shotgun with #8 steel shot and limit of 6

birds, the commercial hunter has 150 guns trained at the sky with #4 lead

shot and NO limit on the number of birds. These guns aren't even manned by

him but are set to go off any time a bird flies over. You complain to the

Fish and Game Commission to no avail. No studies have been done to determine

whether the resource is adequate to sustain this new intrusion. Later, some

studies are done on bird hunting in general, but not duck hunting in

particular, and certainly not on Mallards, one of your favorite quarry. Oh,

by the way, these studies are funded by a 10% tax on recreational hunting

equipment. Millions of dollars comes from the recreational hunter to a

relatively small couple of hundred thousand commercial dollars for this


The next thing you know, and you SAW it coming, the ducks become far less

plentiful. There is talk of cuts coming down the pike. Of course, you expect

the commercial hunter is going to be the first thing to go but are dismayed

to find that RECREATIONAL limits are cut by one third! Now your limit is 4

birds! The DFG promises, in the next few months, to implement interim

measures to control the commercial take. The next thing you know, the talk

is no longer about cuts in commercial take but rather it's about further

cuts in the recreational. The DFG states that the regulations being applied

by the Feds are adequate for controlling the commercial take, even though

they don't even ADDRESS the Mallard ducks (cabezon, in case you're

wondering) which the commercial hunters are taking by the millions. In the

meantime, due to the shrinking resource, the commercial industry develops a

more efficient method of harvesting mallards since they have become such a

choice fish for their markets. Now, when a flock of ducks flies over, they

fire a huge net up into the sky which captures practically the whole flock.

Because their landings remain high, they claim the resource is in excellent

shape and no measures should be implemented against them. The DFG realizes

that Mallards are destined to become depleted if nothing is done so they

decide to set limits. They decide that the commercial hunters can take a 50

percent of their average landings for three of their most productive years.

Their production was high, only because they had no limits and their methods

were so efficient but this caused the recreational hunters to take the least

number they had taken in years. Nonetheless, the DFG decided to give the

recreationals a quota based on those same low take years.

By the way, you never seem to see these mallards at Safeway even though the

commercial industry gives assurances that they are feeding "the public".

Is this analogy accurate? The commercial industry is allowed 150 hooks per

vessel. Until recently, there was NO LIMIT on the allowed landings of

rockfish and there is still no limit on the landings of Sculpin, cabezon,

sheepshead, and greenling. This, even though the commercial take of cabezon

has increased 24 fold from 1991 to 1998 (from 7 metric tons to 169.6 metric

tons) while the recreational catch has steadily dropped!!! If my math is

correct, that's a 2300% increase. The Feds implemented quotas for rockfish

as a whole which created changing monthly quotas in the nearshore commercial

limits. (Originally they were limited to 550 lbs, every two months. That

quickly went up to 800 some odd lbs.) Now, I don't know WHAT it is, but

WHATEVER it is, it isn't meant to address the nearshore depletion and

CERTAINLY doesn't address the cabezon issue. Meanwhile the recreational

limit on rockfish was cut by 1/3. A promise was made that the next step

would be the implementation of interim measures on the COMMERCIAL fishery. I

have that promise, in writing, from the Executive Director of the Fish and

Game Commission. All of a sudden, that promise of interim measures for

commercial fishers has changed to a promise of EQUALLY shared cuts. Now the

talk is for further seasonal closure and probable further cuts in

recreational limits. And you'll never guess how they are planning on

figuring the allocations of cabezon. They're talking about giving a

percentage of the allowable catch to the different sectors based on their

catches during recent years. So we are going to get a percentage of our

catch during recent years which has been on the decline and the commercial

sector is going to get a percentage of catch their catch of recent years

that has increased 2300%!!!! Is that fair? If you think it is, you're either

on the payroll or you aren't listening.

In other words, the DFG doesn't care that the nearshore is just about our

only access to the ocean resource. They are going to, in effect, shut us out

of the picture in favor of a commercial fishery supplying fish to a

specialty market.

I just want to make sure that when the resource collapses, as the south

coast abalone collapsed, that the blame is placed squarely where it

belongs... on the DFG's shoulders. They have defaulted on their mandate to

manage this public resource.

I will close my part of this with a quote from the document that is SUPPOSED

to be guiding this whole process, the Marine Life Management Act, Section

7055 part c: The Legislature finds and declares that it is the policy of the

state that:

c. Where a species is the object of sportfishing, a sufficient resource

shall be maintained to support a reasonable sport use, taking into

consideration the necessity of regulating individual sport fishery bag

limits to the quantity that is sufficient to provide a satisfying sport.

And why is this being totally ignored in favor of the commercial industry?

Because the DFG has been rubbing shoulders with those in the commercial

industry day in and day out for a long time and you and I haven't had the

time to show we care.

It's time for us blue collar divers and fishermen to stand up for our






Subject: United Anglers of California letter to PFMC


August 5, 2000

D.O. McIsaac (PFMC Executive Director)

Mr. Jim Glock (PFMC Groundfish Team)

Pacific Fishery Mangement Council

2130 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite 224

Portland, Oregon 97201



Dear Mr Glock and Mr McIsaac;

The United Anglers of California (UAC) fights for the

conservation of California's fishery resources and the

rights of sport fishers. We have thousands of members

and represent the interests of tens of thousands of

marine sport anglers.

We are extremely concerned about the current state of

our groundfish fishery including cabezon, sculpins,

greenlings, lingcod and various species of rockfish

(Sebastes). These fish provide a major portion of

northern California's marine sportfishing

opportunities. This fishery has suffered through a

long history of commercial abuse including

unrestrained coastal gillnets in the 1980's, nearshore

longlines, and bottom trawls (outside 3 miles) which

are becoming recognized as one of the most notoriously

wasteful, non-selective fishing gear types used

anywhere in the world. Scientists are beginning to

recognize that bottom trawls not only produce

unimaginable volumes of discarded and wasted fish, but

that they also alter and destroy the ocean floor by

scraping and destroying rocky reef habitat. For years

the PFMC has been unwilling to take a strong position

demanding an effective onboard observer program to

document discards and mortality associated with

various commercial fishing operations. Through the

early and mid 1990's, even as bocaccio and other

rockfish were being depleted, the PFMC unbelievably

created an incentive program to encourage bottom

trawls from north of Point Mendocino to travel south

to specifically target bocaccio and other rockfish,

the very fish which are now, a few short years later,

seriously depleted. This outrageous overfishing,

performed under PFMC management is now threatening the

existence of California's recreational bottomfishery.

To compound the problems for recreational fishing,

many commercial fishers have been displaced into the

nearshore area, fueling the explosive growth of the

nearshore live-fish fishery. This new commercial

fishery is not only preempting the traditional

nearshore sport fishery including spearfishers,

shorecasters and small skiff/kayak anglers, but is

threatening to deplete nearshore groundfish stocks.

Both PFMC and CDFG seem uninterested in the reducing

the commercial catch of these nearshore fish in the

panic to shift pressure away from depleted offshore


In a recent meeting in Mill Valley, California, L.B.

Boydstun of the California Department of Fish and Game

gave charterboat businesses a heads up on looming

cutbacks in the sport bottom fishery. Mr Boydstun

seemed to be operating on what seemed thin, inaccurate

and possibly biased data which singled out

recreational anglers while ignoring trawl discards and

commercial hook-and-line mortalities. At a recent

meeting to discuss the PFMC Groundfish Fishery

Strategic Plan, several small-scale hook-and-line

commercial fishers stated that they routinely discard

several hundred pounds of bocaccio on a single

day-trip. Who is documenting this? In the face of the

looming recreational closures several of the

commercial fisheries are actually having their monthly

rockfish quotas increased with no attempt by PFMC to

verify discard levels or by CDFG to verify adherence

to the PFMC quotas.

UAC is very alarmed by what we see as continuing

missteps by the PFMC and CDFG around the issue of

overfishing and discards. UAC strongly urges the PFMC

to conserve this resource and cease singling out

recreational fishers. It is only because recreational

vessels voluntarily provide access to charter boats

for observers that CDFG can estimate recreational

catches. Further, we believe the PFMC has no sound

basis for the current low bycatch rates applied to

commercial fishing operations. We believe commercial

groundfish vessels and non-groundfish vessels with

significant rockfish bycatch (flatfish, pink shrimp,

spot prawn trawls) should cease operating on the shelf

area until an effective onboard observer program is

operating. At the very least PFMC should be using

higher bycatch rates for trawl gear rather than the

very accomodating 16% discard rate. Finally, we urge

the PFMC to insist that the California DFG be required

to implement a management system which is capable of

verifying commercial landings to ensure conformance to

the PFMC nearshore quotas. Without a system to verify

landings a quota is meaningless.

We await your response to our concerns.



Bob Strickland, President - United Anglers of



California Assemblyman Fred Keeley

Congressman Tom Campbell - District 15

Bob Hight - Director CDFG

L.B. Boydstun - CDFG

Governor Gray Davis

Mr. Don Hansen - PFMC

Senator Diane Feinstein

Senator Barbara Boxer

Assemblymember Jim Cunneen - District 24

State Senator Byron Sher - Senate District 11