Kelp beds may soon be off-limits for fishing

ENCINITAS — Commercial fishermen and recreational lobster divers may soon find the reefs where their catch is most plentiful off limits. A state task force is recommending that several areas along the San Diego County coastline become protected marine sanctuaries including a nine-square-mile area of kelp beds off Encinitas waters.
Several commercial lobster fishermen out of Oceanside Harbor said the plan was overzealous. “This isn’t going to help save the (lobster) species,” Stan Banks said. “It’s going to make us work twice as hard in other areas.”
The five-member panel also voted after a contentious meeting in Los Angeles to create protected zones at San Elijo and Batiquitos lagoons. Recreational hook-and-line fishing would also be banned from the shores at Cardiff and San Elijo state beaches if the plan is ratified by the California Fish and Game Commission.
The state commission is expected to render a decision by summer of next year.
Several fishermen casting off the beach in Carlsbad this past weekend seemed perplexed by the recommendation. “I don’t see what the harm is in recreational fishing off the beaches,” Leonard Hilton said. The lifelong Oceanside resident said several of his friends had been commercial fishermen at one time or another. “This sounds like another case of the government trasmpling on the rights of citizens when there is no evidence that what they are trying to protect even needs protecting.”
Another fisherman said he was surprised at the task force’s recommendation. “I think there is a need for intelligent conservation of our natural resources, but this seems like overkill,” said William Bussell of Carlsbad.
A 64-member stakeholder group, including commercial fishing operators and environmentalists advised the task force.
Some seafood enthusiasts worried that the price of local seafood would be impacted by the decision. “It’s nice to know that so many of the restaurants still serve local catch,” Perry Wilcox said. “If every good fishing spot becomes a protected sanctuary we’re going to have to pay a lot higher prices for lobster and who knows where it will come from,” the Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident said.

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  1. SwamisSurfer says:

    Swami’s is a great fishing spot; but it was even better back before SoCal had 20 million people living there – talk to any old-timer that has been fishing SoCal since the 50s or 60s; and they’ll tell you about the days when they could walk onto the reef at Swami’s at low tide, and pick abalone off the rocks for dinner.

    Protecting Swami’s in a reserve (that will still allow for spearfishing) will help to restore the abundance that once was at one of the most beautiful, biologically important places in North County.

  2. Cristina G says:

    The thing is it wasn’t the 20 million people FISHING at Swamis that caused the demise. It was 20 million people’s worth of water pollution that caused the oceans problems. However you choose to regulate fishing will not change the water quality issues. Ask an old timer if he ever got sick from surfing after a storm and you’ll hear a different story too. One man’s protection is another man’s exclusion. We could all share a clean ocean.

  3. anonymous says:

    We are about to lose our fishing rights! People opposed to fishing have taken on the cloak of environmental activism in an effort to shut down all fishing in the USA and have moved the fight to southern California. These people are well funded, politically savvy and will stop at nothing in an effort to ban all fishing in our state at any cost. In the beginning the MLPA was viewed as a scientific method of stabilizing fish stocks in the coastal areas of our country. Unfortunately no science has been used in the So Cal process, only heart felt opinions held by people that think Disney films are based on science, i.e. Penguins talk and dance don’t they? As fishermen we want sustainable fish stocks, clean pollution free water and access to the ocean so we can continue 10,000 years of fishing legacy. How is this different from what the environmentalist want, its not! That’s the issue here; they want to put an end to fishing in the USA bottom line and will not stop until fishing is illegal.

    As a responsible fisherman I am opposed to no take fish reserves that do nothing to increase threatened fish stocks but do allow special interests and organizations with massive amounts of money and influence to control our oceans and beach access. Enough is too much especially during a time when our economic future is at stake and the MLPA’s will suck up another $45 million dollars a year at today’s estimation while providing no science to show it can improve fish stocks at any level.

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