Re: No Diving from Little Fisherman's Cove to Empire Landing?

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

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on November 30, 2010 at 10:26:50:

In Reply to: No Diving from Little Fisherman's Cove to Empire Landing? posted by Jon on November 30, 2010 at 08:46:26:

JonDavies wrote: "Looking at the proposal for the new Blue Cavern SMCA, it appears that it would prohibit any diving (except from a live boat) between Little Fisherman's Cove and Empire Landing (unless you're friends with the director of the Catalina Marine Science Center)."

The short answer is "no" . . . I think. There are a number of things going on here. When we last left our story . . .

First of all, don't lose sight of the fact that there are (I think) FOUR proposals being sent to the CA F&G Commission for consideration. The BRTF never voted on any one of the three proposals submitted by the RSG sub-groups. So they cobbled together a hybrid of their own as the "Intergrated Preferred Alternative" (also known as "IPA" in the text - which is the one that likely is the favroite going in) and then decided to forward the other three as well.

Now there definitely was at some point in the game a proposal to expand the Blue Cavern area to encompass the areas that you mentioned and to make it a no-anchor zone. However, easrly on, I pointed out (and others agreed) that this was the only area where boats could go anchor when winds are out of the NE as they frequently are, especially January-June, and to make this whole thing a no-anchor zone would effectively mean if the wind was up, Catalina was shut down for diving and the economic impact was too great.

My recollection is that the compromise plan was to keep the current Blue Cavern SMCA as a no-anchor no-take zone, and that there would be essentially a second SMCA that would cover the areas you mentioned where take would be prohibited but anchoring would be permitted.

I think Steve Benevides or other memebers of the RSG can speak better to all of this than I can. However . . .

For those of us who have been involved in this process for a couple of years, while I underazstand your reaction, it's a bit frustrating.

We've been BEGGING perople to get involved in this process early on, before the train left the station, to avoid exactly this type of what-have-they-done-to-my-favroite-dive-site reaction. Steve & I (and the DF&G and the MLPAI) have posted here frequently about meetings, opportunity for input and the like.

Quite frankly, the participation of the general diving public was abyssmal. The fishing groups were quite well-organized and vocal about protecting "their" spots (take a look at the proposed areas around Palos Verdes) and I wish we, as a community, could have been as well-represented.

I think this entire issue is being taken up at the Commission meeting December 15 & 16 in Santa Barbara. The meeting is open to the public and there should be opportunity for public comment. If you're interested in fighting to protect dive areas, you should go. I guarantee you the fishermen will be out in force lobbying for THEIR interests.

- Ken
Ken Kurtis
Member, Statewide Interests Group (SIG)

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