Re: So you've seen the damage to Hydrocoral at Farnsworth?

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on November 13, 2009 at 14:21:53:

In Reply to: So you've seen the damage to Hydrocoral at Farnsworth? posted by Dave Gaines on November 12, 2009 at 17:27:28:

Just for the record Dave, I'm really not trying to beat up on you today. But I think I need to keep addressing some issues you've raised:

Dave Gianes wrote: "The biggest stumbling block to a mooring at Farnsworth (besides a lack of divers at these MLPA BRTF meetings) is the economic interests of dive operators. The first premise of the letter reads: “… a no-anchoring and mooring system for Farnsworth… won’t work. ... [It] could have a devastating effect on the economic situation of the dive boats that dive this site. …”.

You need to have an understanding of the MLPA process to understand my letter. Don't lose sight that much of what I'm arguing aaginst (even though I still don't think a mooring system is practical) is the no-anchor option that was being floated this past summer by one of the initial workgroups.

The MLPAI is charged with addressing soci-economic impacts of any closures or changes. This is a big reason why the fisherman still have access at Rocky Point in P.V. and Option 2, a much-less productive area that will have little effect on replenishing the ocean, was adopted. (It also requires the fishing guys to sacrifice almost no fishable areas.)

The fisherman were able to prevail because they came up with an ecomnomic study that claimed that fishing at Rocky Point was the nucleus of a $17 MILLION/year contribution to the local economy and that that would be lost if Rocky Point was closed. Whether or not their numbers are correct, that resonated with the BRTF.

I do encourage you all to read my ENTIRE letter if you'd care to. It can be found (along with pictures) at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/MLPA/pdfs/comments/kk_071709.pdf

But if you want to pick-and-chose quotes, how about these from the same letter:

EXTENSIVE ANCHOR DAMAGE: "The ostensible reason for a mooring system at Farnsworth is to protect the purple hydrocoral from anchor damage. This is a red herring. I personally dive Farnsworth four to six times per year from commercial charter
dive boats. 99% of the time I am descending to the top of the reef via the boat's anchor line which means I should be descending into a vast wasteland of broken and damaged purple coral. That simply isn't the case. The purple coral at Farnsworth is healthy and extensive, as the attached PDF photos show."

CAUSE OF ANCHOR DAMAGE: "Given the number of fishing boat versus dive boats that visit the area, it would seem more logical to argue that anchor damage at Farnsworth - if it exists extensively at all - is far more likely to be caused the numerous
small fishing boats visiting the area, often anchoring with poor technique or without the skill and technique that would be expected of a commercial vessel, whether it be fishing or diving."

INADVERTENT SOLUTION: "The Lapis 1 and Lapis 2 proposals actually (and perhaps inadvertently) solve this problem by proposing Farnsworth be a no-take zone. This will eliminate the small private consumptive fishing vessels that visit. Absence
of these vessels will in turn eliminate the anchor damage they might repeatedly cause. And that means that a mooring system is simply not needed since the "no-take" provision will also eliminate most of the anchoring problems."

SOLVING A PROBLEM THAT MAY NOT REALLY EXIST: "These are just a few of the reasons why a mooring system at Farnsworth simply won't work on a practical level. On top of that, it's not needed. The damage to any of the purple coral from anchors is restricted to very small, specific areas. And any damage is really minimal when you consider the vast territory that the purple coral covers at Farnsworth. There is simply no logical reason to insert a no-anchor provision (which is in effect a no-dive provision) at Farnsworth, regardless of what level of consumptive protection the area requires."

Pick and choose my comments if you like, but don't just use the ones that support the view you're promoting, anymore than you suggest I'm doing the same thing.

- Ken
Ken Kurtis
Owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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