Unknown Agency Cuts Allowed Fishinig Quota by a Factor of Four

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The "Reduced Catch" Furor
From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California This thread is categorized under Food.

Because I've been thinking of buying into some local fishing boats, I've had my eyes peeled for anything related to them. I happened to notice this lead article in the October 7,1999 edition of The Monterey County Post, a "throw away" newspaper. Unfortunately, I cannot type the whole article for you mainly because I don't have permission from them, yet. I'm also not up to the job, today. Hopefully, they will respond to my request to e-mail the story to me so that I can post it in full.

This story seems to me to have some relevance to Y2K, although I can't quite figure out what's up. I wonder if people are stocking up on too much tuna. Alternatively, perhaps the government is counting on fish as a way to get meat to shelters. Could this be a way to cause the fishers to put up less of a fuss when their boats are confiscated as called for in certain presidential directives? Or perhaps a way of allowing the compensation to these boat owners to be less once any troubles are over?

I'm thinking the boat owners might be especially open to selling their boats now. I'd be particularly attracted to a fishing sailboat, if there is such a thing. It's hard to know if that would be a wise investment or not, because of the potential for governmental takings. I'm thinking they would probably need experienced skippers (which I am not, although I do sail) and would let the owners have a small part of the haul, enough to feed their own families, before confiscating the rest. Perhaps we could hide the boat until things calm down.

A photograph showing seven or so picketers is captioned: "More than 100 fishermen and supporters gathered to protest the "Reduced Catch" edict."

The crowd was polite, but as surly as would be any group whose livelihoods are unexpectedly threatened. These were people who fish for a living. Some headed for their fishing grounds on September 30th. Those who remained at sea overnight returned to shore the next day to find that they were in violation of "Reduced Catch" regulations posted less than 24 hours earlier. This is a recounting of what these fishermen perceive as governmental regulation again gone awry.

Fishy Answers to Fish Questions
by Jon Guthrie

The Notice to California Commercial Fishermen, printed on paper the color of a Halloween pumpkin, stated that the contents pertained to "1999 Federal Groundfish Management Measures that Affect Fishermen in Federal and State Waters off California (that are) Open Access Fisheries." One item [had] fishermen who tie-up in the Moss Landing to Monterey areas as pale as Halloween ghosts. That item addressed the Sebastes Complex fishery, "South of 40_ 30' North." The mandate read: "No more than 500 pounds of the Sebastes Complex (a variety of fish from that fishery) may be landed per month. "I'm as good as broke," said David Albert, one of the more than 100 persons gathered in front of the California Fish and Game Department, [address], to protest the edict. "I can't affort to leave the slip for a 500 pound monthly limit. I figure a thousand pounds is what I need just to break even. This thing has knocked the hell out of me." [A couple other similar reactions] "The fish and game people say they aren't responsible, but the director has taken off on vacation or somewhere just so he won't have to answer questions."

Taken by Surprise!
Inside the Fish and Game office,  "We were taken by surprise (at Fish and Game)," Spratt noted, "so I imagine the fishermen were too."  not aware of the specific "perceived problem" in the Sebastes Complex that abruptly reduced the catch limit from 2,000 to 500 pounds monthly. "I'd guess they perceive our (fish) resources on the whole as being in some degree of trouble," he said. [The article here launches into a long description of everything they did to try to find out why this limit had been placed, detailing their run-around.] After eight hours of telephoning, no one had been located who could explain why the "Notice to California commercial Fishermen" had been posted with no advance warning, what had created the urgency, and what, if any, environmental changes had prompted what appeared to be an emergency edict.
Subsidize them Like Farmers?
one agency's spokesperson who had this to say: "Don't they (the fishermen) know there're no guarantees in fishing? There never have been. What do they expect, for us to subsidize them like farmers? That's not going to happen!"

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), October 20, 1999


"one agency's spokesperson who had this to say: 'Don't they (the fishermen) know there're no guarantees in fishing? There never have been. What do they expect, for us to subsidize them like farmers? That's not going to happen!'"

What utter infuriating bullshit.

Sort of a "let them eat cake" for the 90s.

First, forbid them to *work*, and then tell them there are "no guarantees"!

Sort of like being mugged, and then being insulted *by* the mugger for being "out on the street without a penny in your pocket, like a common street urchin".


-- Ron Schwarz (rs@clubvb.com.delete.this), October 20, 1999.

Ron, It is more like being mugged, and then sued by the mugger for the damage to his knuckles.

Night train

-- jes a tired ol footballer (nighttr@in.lane), October 20, 1999.

I put "sebastes complex" into Alta Vista and came up with a lot of references to the Pacific Fishery Management Council. At one of the links I found this (it was in November 1998 for the 1999 season):

Sebastes Complex in the Eureka, Monterey, and Conception Areas: One of the most important changes the Council recommended is to separate chilipepper and splitnose rockfish ("rosefish") out of the Sebastes complex as suggested by the GAP. The Council believes separating chilipepper from the complex will allow protection of other rockfish species, including bocaccio, by providing a better opportunity for vessels to target on chilipepper. The ABC and OY for chilipepper will both be set at 3,724 mt, of which recreational catch is expected to be 73 mt. The open access sector will be allocated 1,190 mt (32.6%), leaving 2,461 mt for the limited entry sector. The splitnose rockfish ABC will be 868 mt, the amount suggested in the 1997 rockfish assessment, and the OY will also be 868 mt. The landed catch target of 729 mt is calculated on the assumption of 16% discard. Separating these two species from the Sebastes complex reduces that ABC to 4,731 mt; the Sebastes OY will be 2,705 mt, of which 1,309 mt is expected to be taken by the recreational sector. Therefore, the commercial landed catch target will be 1,396 mt. As in the north, the total catch OY reflects a 25% reduction of the "remaining rockfish" ABC and a 50% reduction of the "other rockfish" ABC; the OY also includes 230 mt for the final bocaccio rockfish OY. The recommendation to reduce the amounts contributed to OY by the other species is based on the extremely limited information on most rockfish species.

Apparently, the Council meets regularly to determine teh amounts of catch. It's difficult to understand how the fishermen didn't know this is the agency responsible for setting the limits.

For more information on this meeting, see


If you plug in Pacific Fishery Management Council, you could probably find out more about the Council's authority and who sits on it.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), October 20, 1999.

Wildlife biologists (of which my husband is one-- a Ph.D.)have known for years that fisheries throughout the world were being consistently overfished. Of course those who make their living this way have been in denial for a long time, though most will tell you that their catch has declined. Now the consequences are coming home to roost. It's nice to hear that at least some govt. agencies are beginning to do something, although it's probably too late.

-- Judy Truett (jtruett@gilanet.com), October 20, 1999.

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