Thursday, April 9, 2009

Commercial Fisherman Fighting for Less Restrictions

KION-TV 46 CBS / KCBA-TV 35 FOX (Monterey / Santa Cruz / Salinas)

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Posted: April 8, 2009 05:52 PM

Updated: April 8, 2009 07:04 PM

MOSS LANDING, Calif. - "We're the most regulated industry in the United States," says Moss Landing fisherman Ernest Pagan. The 32-year fishing veteran is supporting a group of protestors fighting the Marine Life Protection Act.

Protestors were in Lodi, California on Wednesday, protesting at a meeting for the California Department of Fish and Game, regarding more restrictions for commercial fisherman.

"It's a sad day in hell when my wife has to go to the store and by swordfish from Indonesia... that's not fit to eat," complains Pagan.

The MLPA was passed by California legislators in 1999 in order to better evaluate the current state of coastal waters. It also aims to manage a network of marine protected areas.

Since the summer of 2007, the MLPA has enforced restrictions along the Central Coast. It includes more than 200 square miles of state waters. That equals 18% of California coastal waters. Additional restrictions in northern and southern waters are now being proposed.

Commercial fisherman say further restrictions will be far reaching. "That's less work for the cannery guys at the docks, less work for the truck drivers, the fuel docks, we're not buying groceries for the boat," says fisherman Mike Sardina. He adds, "It's not just us, it's touching everybody."

Pagan also criticizes the protection of the California seal population, which he says is taking over the oceans. Under the MLPA, seals are a protected seal life.

As for additional closures in the future, Pagan says, "I agree some closures are necessary but don't take out fishing ground."

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