View Full Version : How does one appeal DFG regulations?
01-30-2004, 03:24 PM
I've been reading the threads detailing the collective efforts of the Florida spearos in protecting their fishing rights, and I admire their dedication and teamwork. I'm pondering how we on the Left Coast can implement similar activities. I recently found out that no rock scallops can be taken while shore diving throughout Orange County. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me since I believe there are a plethora of them in the area. How does one obtain research that serves as the platform for DFG regulations? How can I as a recreational diver, with limited financial resources, try to influence the CA DFG to strongly consider altering this regulation, along with others? I get the feeling that we as gamefisherman need to be proactive and take pre-emptive measures to expand our fishing rights, rather than waiting and reacting to another restriction of them. I'm afraid that the principles underlying some of the DFG regulations are based on misguided animal rights activism, believing that the primary mission of the DFG should be to protect the rights and lives of marine life, rather than protecting and regulating this marine life resource pool from overharvesting and irrevocable destruction. Just so no one misunderstands, I am NOT criticizing the game wardens or their hard work. I'm referring to the powers that be, both external and internal, that influence and direct the CA DFG. Any thoughts?
01-30-2004, 08:52 PM
Look how it spreads, first Florida, then South Carolina, GA, now California Spearos standing up for our RIGHTS!!! God I love Spearboard!
As to your question Prodigal I will leave the answering up to the pros, I'm sure they will give you some good pointers.
01-30-2004, 08:56 PM
We haven't done anything yet eyyeball. Thanks for the sentiment though.
01-30-2004, 08:59 PM
One other thing, I e-mailed a letter exploring these issues to Edgar Roberts, a marine biologist with the CA DFG. If he responds, I'll post it.
02-19-2004, 12:00 AM
Howard, you've been doing a great job researching the rock scallop situation. I always grabbed them from the boat, isn't it a pisser that if you have a boat and can go to the outside reefs out of the no take zone you're fine but for those of us who don't have a boat, we can not enjoy a scallop from the same legal regions boaters becuase we would be bringing game back through the no take zone which is illegal. Anyway I propose a season for breath hold divers to take rock scallops, just like abs in northern california. Makes sense, right? Even a size range would be great as well, right now there are a lot of zones where we can't take rock scallops but no size limit.... ridiculous! However a size limit of 3-4 inches across the widest part of the shell and make it just like abs or lobsters where we have to have a gage, or scallop iron in order to take, lower the limit to 6 or 7, and make the diver have to take the shell in order to assure that the size is propper. Also for those who do take the entire shell always try to scrape the micro life off of the shell so it returns to the ocean. Happy Huntings
02-19-2004, 06:17 AM
Prodigal- You can make a difference. It isn't easy, but you can do it. Look up the regulations that concern you and then research them, then start making phone calls.
Do you have a group or club? Good source for help.
You can PM me if you have any questions. I'd be happy to talk with you on the phone.
Hang tough and keep swinging. A big stick is going to be available to you soon. In the meantime, get the facts. Most stuff is available via download from the net. Read it all.
02-19-2004, 06:49 AM
If you let those left wing enviro's get their way....the only thing you guys will be catching out there on the left coat is a cold! MPA's, closed seasons, gear restrictions, bag limits, size limits, before you know it the only fishin' you can legally do is for rubber ducky's at the state fair.
They can be slowed down or even stopped in some cases but you had better get involved soon. We should have been been much more involved here as much as 10 years ago. Its not too late for any of us....but it soon could be! Better hope W wins the White House again in November or it could get real ugly for another 4 to 8 years.
02-19-2004, 08:25 AM
Originally posted by Spear One
Better hope W wins the White House again in November or it could get real ugly for another 4 to 8 years.
Sooner or latter... a democrat will get in the White House and that may be the beginning of the end... let's just hope it's latter, a lot latter!
Prodigal Son wrote:
I'm afraid that the principles underlying some of the DFG regulations are based on misguided animal rights activism, believing that the primary mission of the DFG should be to protect the rights and lives of marine life.
Make no mistake. The DFG doesn't regard animal rights activism to much. They unfortunately respond to the all mighty dollar. If you take a good look at the reg's you will find a completely different story from recreational and commercial take limits. While we are restricted to closures and take limits the commercial fleets are open for the most parts of the year in near shore and deeper waters. And although it's been proven over and over again that these commercial fleets are systematically depleting species of fish the DFG is not really doing any effective changes to the regulations to curve this cycle of destruction. The reason. I'll personally believe that the decision makers are influenced by the dollar amounts poured into campaigns and under the table deals. If I'm wrong great. But the way the reg's are written now convince me that I'm not. Commercial fishing have been saying that it is the recreational fisherman that is depleting the resource. That is COMPLETELY REDICULOUS! Up until about 25 years ago the entire fishing stocks were sustainable. Than when new technology became available for the commercial fisherman to harvest more fish it was only a matter of time before they got us into the situation that we're in... NO FISH!
If you want to make a difference (and have the time) take a close look at the decision makers (DFG Board). Ask them questions. Make them justify there actions, Maybe this will have a positive effect that will benefit us rec fisherman and put the reins on the commercial fleet before it's to late.
OK, I'll get off my soap box now.
02-20-2004, 03:17 AM
Thanks for the input and encouragement fellows.
VicT, you have a valid point; I didn't quite think of it that way. I actually did explore your suggestion with some local and regional DFG staff, and they forwarded me to the CA Fish & Game Commission. The agenda for their meetings are preset, but apparently they have a brief open platform time. Unfortunately, most of those meetings are very far from where I live. I'd need a wide network of people to be able to have a consistent voice heard, and if our spearfishing bretheren in Florda taught me anything, that's where it starts. It kind of reminds me of the Biblical parable of the widow and the unrighteous judge.
Steve, I agree with your idea about a size regulation. If you look at the last 2 pages of the handout I gave at tonight's OC Hunter meeting, you'll find the CA DFG report on (purple hinged) rock scallops. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention to everyone at the meeting about it. Rock scallops have to attain a certain size to become reproductively active, so your idea makes sense. However, I'm not so sure of the seasonal restriction. Apparently, these things have 2 reproductive cycles per year, rather than one, so theoretically they can breed like rabbits (all other things remaining equal). The DFG would need to study a number of factors to determine the minimum population needed in given regions to sustain their presence and growth. I could see an ad hoc seasonal restriction based on periodic sampling. It would be similar to the current sheepshead restriction, but not exactly the same since that restriction is based on the DFGs assessment of total pounds of fish harvested. That type of metric would be very difficult to gather for rock scallops. Unfortunately, this type of research is unlikely to be performed. From what I could gather, the DFG relies on some rather old studies with limited external validity. This issue does not appear to have the priority or funds required to gather this type of data. I suppose they have bigger fish to fry (pardon the bad pun). Bottom line though, I'm leary of blithely accepting any form of game restriction unless it can be firmly supported by an adequate amount of good scientific data. These restrictions and regulations appear to be a very slippery slope
To give all of you a follow up, I found out that the local DFG wardens were unfamiliar with some of the actual MPA borders in my area. These MPAs prohibit harvesting of rock scallops, though there is a convulted exception for Crystal Cove State Park. After reviewing the MPA maps with Ed Roberts of the DFG, we found some generous areas in south Orange County that are outside the local MPAs and are quite accessible from shore and have lots of scallops. The local DFG game wardens I spoke to earlier claimed that these areas were covered by the MPA. When I confronted some of them about this discrepancy, they were quite honest that there was some uncertainty on their part. To their credit, they reviewed the maps with me and looked into the matter further. One of the wardens called me to confirm that I was right about these open areas. I greatly appreciate their honesty and diligence. They could have easily maintained their claim that these areas were MPAs, and espoused the trite expression "Well, that's just the way it is". Just because things worked out for me does not mean I should not maintain vigilance regarding this matter. New restrictions can come at any time. I just hope there is some realistic due process to object to them if they appear unreasonable.
All in all, I learned that all of us should not take for granted our rights as gamefisherman. We can't take the local authorities' word as gospel. It needs to be scrutinized and confirmed as accurate. If anyone wants a link to the CA MPA maps, let me know.
I think it would be great if you could post the link to the MPA maps. There seems to be so much confusion out there. Great job!
FYI to All,
NOAA Fisheries has, under the threat of a lawsuit by the Natural
Resources Defense Council(NRDC), ordered the California Department
of Fish & Game to come up with a modified lingcod baglimit for this
season--or close rockfishing for the remainder of the year.
The only lingcod reg package acceptable to NOAA Fisheries is: 1 ling
baglimit, 30 INCH MINIMUM.
The enviros are claiming, based on MRFSS data, California
sportfishermen exceeded the lingcod OY the past few years and NOAA
is not sticking to the required rebuilding plan.
This comes on the eve of our 2004 lingcod OY of 735 metric tons
being dramatically increased to 1,412 next year.
We will be working closely with our staff in Washington DC to
counter this action by NOAA. Stay tuned for more info.
Again I ask. Where are the commercial restrictions and closures mention in this report?
Three years ago the DFG re-allocated the remaining tonage limits from recreational fisherman and gave them to commercial for continued harvest (since we didn't use all of our limits that year). NOW! All of a sudden we've exceeded our limits for two years. OK, does something seem awkward here? Or is it just me? I'm open for ideas. If I'm being overly negative please let me know. Later....
02-20-2004, 03:31 PM
Originally posted by dpc
I think it would be great if you could post the link to the MPA maps. There seems to be so much confusion out there. Great job!
Here is the link: http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/~jeff/projects/mpa/southcoastlist.html .
Thanks prodigal son!!
I'm looking at the map for the Heisler Park Ecologocal Reserve, and it looks like it stops at Diver's Cove. Does anyone know if the no take zone includes the large exposed reef about 30 yds offshore inbetween Diver's and Fisherman's Cove? It looks like the reef is outside the boundaries to me. The signs at Divers say there is no take but the signs at Fishermans say taking game is allowed. Any info would be great.
02-20-2004, 08:17 PM
If you're referring to the northern border of the Heisler Park Ecological Reserve, then you are right. It ends on the northern border of Diver's Cove. However, the MPA maps I looked at don't have sufficient detail to easily distinguish the precise border between this part of the reserve and the southern border of the Laguna Beach Marine Life Refuge (i.e., Fishermans' Cove). You will need to call the local DFG warden if you need to be that specific (try Lt. Angel Raton at (949) 249-0341). In the past, I've conceptually divided the rock point/reef between the two coves in the middle, and limited any potential spearfishing to the northern side; I never got in trouble with the DFG. An old trick used to be to enter the water at Fishermans' Cove, swim around the point to Divers' Cove and spearfish, then come back to Fishermans' Cove. However, the DFG wardens look out for this, mainly during lobster season. To be honest, I avoid these coves now. The inshore kelp paddies are gone at Fishermans' Cove, and it doesn't seem to have the fish it used to. Someone more experienced than I may still know some sweet spots there. Also, I'd avoid entry and exit on the southern part of Fishermans' Cove during low tide because of a really shallow reef there.
Regarding those signs, they are correct. The Heisler Park Ecological Reserve is a strict NO take zone; you can't hunt or gather anything. The Laguna Beach Marine Life Reserve allows for the take of certain species of fish; the only invertebrate that is legal for harvest are lobsters (obeying the right season and size). The specific fish species you can take in this MPA (and all other MPAs) are listed on page 33 of the DFG's 2004 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations manual. You can easily access it at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd. I hope this helps.
02-20-2004, 08:33 PM
One other thing, be careful about the signs that claim whether a beach is a reserve or not. Some of those signs in Laguna Beach and elsewhere are not placed by the DFG, but the local citizens (probable card-carrying members of PETA) who do not want spearfishers around. Little Corona is a glaring example. The last time I was at Little Corona, there was an orange sign posted that said "NO SPEARFISHING". I called the CDM Lifeguards and DFG about that because I tried spearfishing there years ago, and it was quite legal. It turns out that there is no DFG mandated restriction on spearfishing there. I don't know if it's possible for the city to implement a local ordinance against spearfishing if the beach and waters are under federal jurisdiction (anyone know the answer to this?). Treasure Island Cove has a deceptively worded sign that implies no hunting is allowed withing the tide pool zone, but we now know that this cove is not even in a MPA! One of the local DFG wardens told me that the DFG will investigate this matter and eventually try to get these signs taken down. The take home message is be wary and research things on your own if you're not sure. Don't take my word for it; confirm it with the local wardens. Overall, they are a very friendly and diligent group of people.
It's been officially passed. Ling Cod size and bag limits will change effective May 1st 2004. The new size will be 30 inches with a limit of 1 per day. Please make a note (since there is no written Ca DFG manual) to avoid any painful fines. As always..Take care, dive safe, and have fun....
Thanks guys for you diligence in researching and your understanding of the regs. It looks a lot like Russian to me sometimes!!!
vBulletin® v3.8.1, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.