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Posted by seahunt on March 31, 2000 at 11:51:49:

In Reply to: Do not support SB241! posted by Chris on March 29, 2000 at 21:36:58:

I notice that nobody mentioned sustainable harvest.
While reserves are mentioned, the call here is for either a total ban on hunting or no more restrictions than provided for by FaG. That is traditionally how laws about the harvest of wild crops have been structured. All or none. Partly it is sillyness and partly it is enforcement problems. With present regulations, preserves can just about hold thir own.
For clarity, I suppose that I should mention that the issue here is fish and scallops and they are different issues. If they are not dealt with as such, than it is not possible that a reasonable resolution will be developed.
From what I have seen of the rigs, there are very few resident fish, as would be expected in a place that has no cover for fish (see Wheeler J North). If asked for my professional opinion, I would presently recommend against spearfishing resident fish at the rigs. I see no reason that
the habitat needed for the fish could not be enhanced though. There are large platforms at different depths on the rigs.
As for the scallops, they seem to be abundant, even though there are a fair amount of hunters and I understand that the rig structures have been scraped clean periodically. This is not suprising, since scallops grow very fast in conditions like that.
Realistically, I think that the best law, (and this might be applicable to the islands as well) is rotational use. Some rigs should be closed to hunting at particular times to replentish the life. This plan is generally never considered. Nobody bothers to try to match the harvest to what the population and habitat can support. I have occasionally put forward the suggestion that Santa Barbara Island be set aside as a (almost) no take zone. It is a small island that can be cleaned out pretty fast. It is one of the prettiest islands and has great vis. Enforcement would be easier, because unlike other islands, it is isolated. You have to think further along though. In 10 or so years, it would be reasonable (wise even) to allow hunting again for a year or so. It is never wise to just permanently ban harvesting. Still I think it would be a good idea to try this plan.
I said 'almost' a no take zone at Santa Barbara Island. So far no one has been able to do a much harm to the lobster populations, except that the commercial fisers can make the population smaller and almost impossible for sport fishers to find a legal bug. They are a widespread, resiliant specie, unlike many other reef species.
Jusfer, I'm really disappointed in you. 'It's not a right, it's a privilage.' Who told you that? God? Or is it just your opinion and so simply manipulative hyperbole? I have always hunted. Diving in California was pioneered by hunters. Just where do you come from telling me I can't do that? On who's authority? Do you want to tell me that I can't go diving next? Maybe I don't have adaquate training in your opinion. Maybe you don't think I should drive or even breathe.
Careful claiming the validity of unsupported opinions. They will eventually destroy any society and most likely yourself, just before that. You should read more Ayn Rand. One of the best examples of that is Communism. They simply said that you have no rights, just the privilages we decide to ive you. It makes it just too easy to manipulate the system and it is never for the better. Your intentions may even be noble, but your action is still self rightous. Believe it or not, You are treading on the Constitution when you say that.
I won't even get into hunting instincts.
Really, this is a unique issue with an unknown answer. The rigs represent such a limited area that the local fish populations can certainly be overharvested easily. How itwill go with the scallops is not so clear. This is not the same situation as the islands. While there is no commercial fishery at the rigs (that did the main damage to the wild crop populations of the islands and the shore), again, the limited area of the habitat may be a problem.
Why not let the hunters take the big scallops and leave the rest of the life for the phodogs and sight seers? That is called multi-purpose use.
All in all, since I try to make sure I see both sides of an arguement (regardless of my opinion), I have trouble with this one. One thing is sure, the rigs will not be 'scraped to metal'. No one knows what the result of fishing pressure on the scallops will be. Here in San Diego, about the most popular dive spot is the Ruby E. It is very similar to the rigs, though it represents a much smaller area and is much more accessable. The result is very few scallops of any size and a beautiful abundance of everything else, including some very wary fish (though there is better fish cover at the Ruby E).
Personally, I have decided that scallops only taste right when eaten the day they are taken and as such take only what I can eat underwater, on the boat or that same day.
Kelphead, I assume that your mention of 'giant seabass' meant 'black seabass'. Again, that is a case of a very vulnerable specie. I'm glad that they are making a comeback.With species like that, if the population is healthy, I might propose allowing hunting with permits given by lottery. The number of permits reflecting a take that will not deplete the fishery. As usual, this is a situation where hunting regulations must be specific to the specie.
As for the commercial harvesters not visiting the shore, let me correct you. You ever hear of The Bank at Carpenteria? Suffice to say, the commercial harvesters were happy to take short easy trips along the shore to hunt. Then they went over the inner islands. Recently, they finished up at San Miguel and were finishing off San Nicolas.
There is a curious principle that I suggest that you consider. It is true of timber (another wild crop) and relevant to most other wild crops. 'A big tree produces more wood per year than a smaller one.' It has more area to respire CO2 with. So the best way to produce wood is from a forest with mature trees. Unfortunately, logging in that situation is almost impossible, hence clear cutting. If they could only get a heavy lift flight platform, it would change everything. The last try, a blimp and 4 heuys, failed. It's too bad. More to the point, properly regulated, unlike at present, there could be a big sustained
harvest from the reefs, if the populations were allowed to mature and then the mature members harvested carefully.
For all of you opposed to hunting, I have to ask if you have done anything to oppose or show your opposition to commercial harvesting, which is clearly far more destructive than sport fishers will ever be? I hate to remind you that that is the dirty little secret no one wants to mention, in California, Hawaii or anywhere else. Do you mention the harvest by sport fishers because that is all you know about? Sometimes I think people should restrain themselves from having such strong opinions unless they are well informed opinions. Otherwise, I see it as the same thing as me using violence to get my way. I can do it, but it doesn't mean that it is right. As a matter of fact, it almost always makes me wrong.
I do find it fascinating that no one even remotely suggested following a policy based on principles of science, only personal opinion was offered.
In any case, don't worry about it too much. It seems likely that they will not stop the spread of the otters and then it becomes moot. Then you will pretty much never see an abalone, scallop, mussel, urchin, cowery or anything else that an otter can eat.
Enjoy the diving, seahunt
PS. It looks like my ISP is going to go belly up. See you 'round.

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