Fishermen discuss no-take zones
August 4, 2007
by Cornelia de Bruin, The Daily Triplicate
recreational fishermen from Southern Oregon and Northern
California had a lot to say about their states' positions
on Marine Protected Areas Friday.
areas—mandated in California and encouraged in
Oregon—create no-take zones in the Pacific Ocean.
The fishermen met
to discuss the politically hot issue during a meeting of
Klamath Management Zone Fisheries Coalition at Crescent
expressing their sentiments in letters to both states'
The issues cross
the states' boundary, which does not extend into the ocean
from which fishermen make their livings.
lives are similar, the politics the fishermen face are
mandated that Marine Protected Zones be established to
counter what the state's government terms an overfishing
"The drive in
California comes from the Marine Life Protection and
Marine Life Management acts, but having a mandated network
is not about fishing management," said Crescent City
Harbor Master Richard Young. "So far the fishing people
and the Harbor Masters are disappointed with the outcome."
that fishermen in locations where such areas were recently
established feel that places they suggested be designated
were bypassed during the decision process.
Those who made
the final decisions, he added, were "driven by the Marine
Life Protection Act and its Blue Ribbon Committee."
Although the two
groups say that the established areas impact only 18
percent of the ocean's fishing areas, Young added, in
reality they comprise "about half of the fish producing
has no mandate to establish the areas. Instead, the
fishermen say, Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants his legacy to be
the creation of "wilderness areas" in the Pacific.
"Oregon has a
Marine Cabinet that advises the governor, and it is
comprised of agency people," said Curry County Commission
Chairwoman Lucie La Bonté. "Fishermen are scared that some
environmentalist in Portland (Ore.) will made the final
say that the Northern California-Southern Oregon waters
are the best-managed fishing areas of the Pacific
That is why, they
add, no reason to protect the fish exists.
"Most of our fish
stocks are pretty healthy. There is no overfishing going
on," Young said. "The five or six overfished stocks are
mandates in place, and heading north toward the Klamath
Zone west of both areas' coastlines, fishermen say that
local economics and impacts of the impending decisions
"don't matter" to those in place.
"These groups are
funded by Pew and Packard Corporation," Oregon Coalition
Representative Jim Welter said. "We've got the governors
of three states talking about making the whole coast a
protected zone when there's no proof that the zones will
stop the process."
He referred to
the Pew Charitable Trust and Hewlett-Packard Corporation.
If the issue goes
to voters in Oregon, added recreational fisherman Richard
Heap of Brookings, "the public will vote emotionally and
in an uninformed way."
Commissioner La Bonté, "That's why we need to have public
education. Why not have some fishing in the marine areas?
Even in wilderness ares there is some hunting."
Aaron Longton of
Port Orford, Ore. Board President of the
three-years-plus-old Port Orford Ocean Resource Team to
have influence in the creation of Marine Protected Areas.
"Where does the
path of inaction take us," he said. "We've gained some
notoriety in the circles of people who could make our
The groups plan
to continue honing their strategies as they work to beef
up their political clout.
Jim Relaford acknowledged the twin needs. "The people who
are making the political decisions ... have more clout
than those who don't know how to mobilize," he said.
But as they
fine-tune their tactics, Harbor Master Young offered one
underestimate the degree of ignorance that's out there,"
Young said. "It's like ‘The Emperor's New Clothes,' people
don't realize that we don't have an overfishing problem