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Posted by Brad on September 11, 2002 at 22:15:51:

In Reply to: Re: who is not reading now posted by finfan on September 11, 2002 at 08:06:27:

Up until the late 70's and into the early 80's the populations of SWRF around Catalina were healthy. That was because the bonito was the most abundant sportfish in So Cal and most of the local boats were fishing for them and didn't concentrate on the swrf. During the mid 80's the purse seiners decimated the bonito broodstock from the Colonet all the way to Ventura. It was the most massive reduction effort on our southern coast since the decimation of the sardines (until the recent discovery of the squid) The seiners were working around the clock wrapping the bonito while they were on their annual spawning precession during the months of March and into April. They used spotter planes at night to locate the bioluminescent glow of the schooling fish. Within 3 years, the bonito went from the single most abundant specie of gamefish in our waters to being virtually nonexistent, and they still haven't recovered.

When the bonito went away, the party boats switched their tactics and started going to Catalina to fish. The fishing pressure at Catalina was increased dramatically during the late 80's and has been steadily increasing ever since, but primarilly by private boaters now....

SWRF are slow to mature and they simply could not keep up with the pressure. The broodstock were serially depleted from around the island and the pressure continues to be too great for them to recover. The few fish that do remain or somehow get themselves there simply cannot reach maturity with the tens of thousands of anglers that fish the shallows of that island every year.

That is why those of us who actually love these waters are hoping for reserves at all of the other islands. We do not want to the beauty and abundance of the Channel Islands to be degraded to the point that Catalina has been. If angling and commercial pressure continues, the broodstock at the Channel Islands will depleted just like Catalina, that is an absolute inevitability.

Some years ago, Asians started to open restaurants that feature live fish tanks where the customers could choose which fish they wanted. That started the extremely lucrative live fish trade. Fishermen used traps and sticks to catch live rockfish. They committed serial depletion of entire rockfish species at Santa Barbara Island, San Clemente Island, and Nicolas and the Cortes bank (those are the only places that i know about firsthand, they undoubtedly fished many other places). They actually had their own receivers at those islands. The bottom line is, the SWRF from islands other than Catalina went to the live fish restaurants....

The SWRF at Catalina will never recover unless there are a series of reserves, places where the broodstock are protected and allowed to spawn. The same holds true for the Channel islands. The difference is, there is still enough fish at the Channel island to save many of the species if the reserves are put into place before it's too late.

I have yet to hear an argument against the reserves that wasn't based ENTIRELY on self interest, care to give it a shot?

i'm heading out in the morning, won't be back for a few days. I know how to thoroughly enjoy my time on the water without ever killing anything! Ever tried it?


(loves the sea)

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