Zero Tolerance for Poaching

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on January 26, 2004 at 12:08:30:

Don't know if any of you want to follow suit with us on this, but I thought I'd share with you what's going out in our next newsletter.

There have been instances lately (one on our boat, the others on non-Reef Seekers trips) of people taking things like Lingcod out of season and one instance of a guy bringing up an abalone. My personal opinion is that the idea of gentling admonishing divers not to do it again simply doesn't work because they either go to another boat to poach or they hope we'll forget when they come back and do it again.

Given the collapse of the MLPA implementation, it looks like this is the only tool left to us. My belief is that we'll only have to do this for real once or twice and word will get out very quickly. It's not a great position to be in, but I encourage those of you who either own boats or run charters to join us in this stance.

Ken Kurtis
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA
----------------------------------------------------------------------ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ILLEGAL GAME

Thereís no question that weíre not known as a "hunting" store but we certainly donít ban hunters from our boats. However, we do expect those who hunt to not only to be aware of the DF&G regulations, but to follow them.

Unfortunately weíve had a couple of instances lately, and have heard about a few on other boats as well, where people are simply either ignorant of the regulations or are deliberately flaunting them. And it puts us, and the boats, in a very difficult position since we really donít want to be the Fish Police but, by the same token, if we donít carefully manage our ocean resources, they simply wonít be there in the future. But the bottom line is that taking game in violation of the DF&G regulations is the textbook definition of poaching.

Accordingly, Reef Seekers is taking a zero tolerance policy towards any type of poaching, whether intentional or accidental. If you come up with game thatís either out-of-season, short, or over a bag limit, our boat DMs/Instructors are being instructed to contact DF&G through the 888/DFG-CALTIP (Californians Turn In Poachers) and we will report the offense and request that a DF&G warden meet us when the boat docks at the end of the day.

Although that may sound Draconian, the way to avoid this is simple: If youíre going to hunt, be 150% certain of what youíre taking and that it complies with current regulations. If you donít know what it is, donít take it. The days of someone coming up with a fish on a spear and asking, "Is this good to eat?" should be long gone.

In general, those of you who dive with us who hunt are very responsible and not only follow the regulations but only take what you can eat. However, for the few of you who had either chosen to be ignorant or simply donít care, that behavior will not be tolerated and you may consider yourselves on notice.

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