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Posted by average jane on December 19, 2003 at 21:16:31:

In Reply to: You completely misunderstand my sentiment posted by Brad on December 19, 2003 at 16:52:27:

Oh, Ok, you don't want the grease, it's for the DFG.

I think I got it now. But I still think you are, as polite as I can put it, misguided.

Why, just read the following cross post of a "commies" (commercial) perspective of the infinte wisdom DFG.

I think this puts a bit of back-spin to your spin.

>>

From: "maritech" I started diving in 1970 at Bird Rock during a marine biology class field trip. I was mesmerized. I became fascinated with abalone at that time and chose it as a research subject in two courses in 1971. I started diving commercially for abalone in 1972. It took about a year for me to see where abalone were going. I made an appointment with the Fish and Game biologist in San Diego in 1974 to explain the depletion. At the meeting he told me, "Don't worry, they are there, they will come out when they are suppose to." Earning a living by taking abalone meant that I had to take a lot. In 1973, I took over 1,000 abs in a day, primarily black abalone. I also took my fair share of white abalone, with all the euphoria from nitrogen narcosis, they were an exhilarating species to dive. Although I removed quite a few abalone I continually told people that this would not last and that something needed to be done. I rationalized that if it wasn't me taking them then some one else would, and that is all too true.

By 1976, I wanted out of commercially diving for abalone and was back in college hunting for a new field. I came up to the conclusion that with all the depleting species there should be a demand for people who can replace marine life and chose a field of abalone mariculture. I continued to dive for abalone to support the mariculture goal, just how this was all going to materialize I didn't know.

I applied for a mariculture license in 1978 and was denied because I didn't have facilities. In 1982, I reapplied with facilities and was allowed a permit. I started experimenting with abalone enhancement and was successful planting white abalone in the San Diego area with broodstock from San Clemente Island. These experiments let me know that abalone enhancement can work through a larval dispersal method.

I am now attempting to get a cultured abalone fishery together adjacent to Point Loma. The project is an all win situation. Ample space is provided for sport diving only and sport divers can take abalone within the proposed lease area. I completed a 139 page Draft Environmental Impact Report that is presently being reviewed by the Department of Fish and Game to evaluate the damage abalone are going to do to the environment; if you would like an e-copy, please request. Can you believe that for a week I was hammered by my DFG contact person that the project might enterer with a spiritual Indian grave site and he wanted me to go around to all the various tribes to see if any Indians were buried at sea. (I refused to waste my time on such a frivolous request.) He also was concerned that divers might pilfer historic wreck sites. The only thing wrong with our proposal is that our manager is our number one competitor. We were directed into another year or more of paper work due to how our project might interfere with the white abalone recovery program. I am told by my present two contact people that the DFG doesn't care about economics or productivity. I was/am appalled at such a statement.

The City of San Diego denied my requests to plant abalone back in 1990 due to the potential that the public might request shell fish standard water quality which would have cost the city a lot of money. I was stuck with a fifty foot vessel to maintain and had to come up with something to earn revenues, since abalone was not on the venue for a while. With a few minor modifications I set up the vessel so I could dive and hand net sheephead for the Chinese restaurants. That is actually quite the most exciting diving I have ever done. I took between 90 and 100 tons of sheephead in a ten year period. Having a laboratory I worked with breeding sheephead and did so successfully and made releases at San Clemente Island and San Nicolas Island. It is really quite a simple process. I would like to think that I replaced at least some of the ones that I took. San Nicolas and Cortez banks were my dive locations of choice for this animal. I take nothing now except abalone broodstock.

During the thirty years of diving I have made ~8,000 dives, mostly at San Clemente Island, Cortez Banks, San Nicolas Island and yes I have seen significant changes, especially in abalone.

If you would like to know more about our project you may visit it by clicking www.maritechor.com . Since economics are involved in the harvesting of abalone, the efficiency of seeding can be assured and populations will never be again be threatened. Most people have a limited education on abalone. Please read the section "About Abalone" on the web site. The 70 page Initial Study will also provide you a understanding of our project.

The DFG have been in denial at the state of the abalone resource. In 1983, the person in charge of abalone was lecturing me about the predator prey populations dynamics and telling me that everything was fine. Another Abalone specialist in 1990 was adamant that everything was fine and harvests were as expected. The present Executive Director of the F&G Commission in 1996 told me, "Don, once accumulated populations are removed productivity slows down. There is nothing wrong. This is all anticipated. We have it under control. Trust us." ....anyway, after two decades of DFG oppression they are still a major obstacle to overcome. Yes, we can reestablish abalone populations beyond your comprehension, but we need permission to do so. It is an on-going battle to replenish abalone.

Perhaps you may not like our project but the only way to find out is to read the web site. I would like to place the Nov. 5th Draft EIR on the web site but it is being reviewed by the DFG prior to being available to the public.

Don Gilbert
Maritech Ocean Ranching, Inc.
619-226-3448
fax-226-3444



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