PUBLIC FORUM - Any member of the public may address and/or ask questions of the Commission relating to the implementation of its policies or any other matter within the jurisdiction of the Commission. As a general rule, action cannot be taken on issues not listed on the agenda. Staff will normally be requested to follow up on such items at the discretion of the Commission.
Peter Halmay recommended amendments to the commercial sea urchin regulations for interim management measures to address minimum landing requirements, open/closed season dates, and preference points for sea urchin crewmembers in the lottery drawing for any new permits. He also summarized the history of the sea urchin fishery.
Bob Juntz explained the history and economics of the sea urchin fishery closures and the rationale for the requested changes as market related.
Vern Goehring supported changes to the commercial sea urchin fishery to help create a more orderly fishery as interim measures until an FMP can be developed for the commercial sea urchin fishery.
The Commission asked the Department to consider the recommendations and provide a regulatory package for Commission consideration; the Department indicated it was on its rulemaking calendar for later in the year; the Commission and Department will discuss Marine Region's priorities for this year at its next Marine Subcommittee meeting.
Zeke Grader indicated he had received some disturbing news that the Federal Government was trying to take over fisheries management within National Marine Sanctuary boundaries but when legislation was written to establish them it was clear that fisheries management was to remain under authority of the state. He asked the Commission to watch this issue very closely and believed things were working well in California.
Liz Bowen commented that the Scott River Watershed Council has taken positive steps to protect coho salmon and other natural resources.
Mike McCorkle provided a handout regarding United Anglers of Southern California's attempt to develop an initiative to eliminate all bottom trawling which he opposed and believed the sport and commercial fishermen needed to stop fighting each other.
Bob Fletcher provided an update on cooperative work regarding shelf rockfish stocks; mentioned the January 2003 DFG marine management news regarding groundfish disaster relief program; DFG signed contract with CPFVs for ROV surveys of rockfish and described the positive results from these initial surveys and tagging projects that may show some stocks are not as depleted as NOAA Fisheries thought.
Guy Grundmeier supported Mr. Fletcher's comments and stated that good data on recreational harvest of finfish was needed at the next PFMC meeting; California has smaller quotas than Oregon and it only has 300 miles of coastline; PFMC establishes OY cuts when limited data from the recreational fishery is available; the fish are there, we just need to provide the agencies with stock abundance numbers.
Bill James commented on the category of "unspecified" rockfish on the landing receipts; the lack of data in the system is a flaw because it misses out on at least a million pounds of fish and if they were counted properly it would be a solution to the TAC dilemma.
Chris Hoeflinger commented that he has caught thousands of pounds of nearshore fish that cannot be split out in the DFG data base; provided a handout of shelf rockfish survey data; map habitat of where bocaccio might be found; requested the Commission write a letter to NOAA Fisheries in support of the study and the need for research.
Jim Bassler commented that regarding the cabezon and greenling fishery a precautionary approach has caused a 50 percent reduction in OY, but no data on stock abundance has been collected; OYs are based on historic landings during times when those fish were not being fished for; the baseline data is faulty; need current stock assessment data to move forward; wants realistic studies; and prolific, fast growing species have low fishing pressure allowed when it may not be necessary.
Randy Fry spoke about PFMC and the 2004 recreational and commercial OYs; requested Commission to have PFMC allow DFG and California some flexibility in adopting California regulations; the closure this year on rockfish is killing the party boats and local businesses; wants exemption for shore based fishermen and divers; MRFSS data is 'bad data'; 50 percent precautionary reduction has hurt everybody; and 2002 recreational license monies could be used to improve the MRFSS data collection system.
Eric Mills requested the Commission have a Public Forum agenda item on both meeting days; requests elimination of the use of robo ducks; saw several illegal live turtles in Oakland markets; red-eared slider turtles found in a lake in Golden Gate Park when drained; described animal mis-use for shows; and requested a ban on the importation of live turtles and bullfrogs.
Richard Gienger commented on the following issues: 1997 storm damage to Bear Creek Watershed; recovery pattern set back; no evaluation of watershed effects; needs to be interagency, public and harvest review team to evaluate damage status; DFG monitoring reports on north coast finding corrective measures to protect coho salmon; water course crossings are a big problem regarding sediment input into streams; Board of Forestry commented that the Commission and Board meetings are not very successful and urged the Commission to attend the joint meetings.
Paul Weakland commented on the draft abalone ARMP; peer review identifies same shortcomings as previously noted; when will DFG finish the report and recognize there has been recovery of the abalone resource; and would like some answers to the his questions.
Scott Honaker commented on his concerns for trip limits set for the commercial sheephead fishery; doesn't see the need for trip limits because there is an overall OY; only 57 permit holders in Southern California fishery and that if trip limits are implemented they should be higher in the summer months.
Scott Jarvis agreed with Mr. Honaker's comments.
Virginia Handley commented on the need for the Department and Commission to revisit the frog jumping regulations and humane treatment of the species. Mr. Treanor responded that the laws are statutes and not Commission regulations; therefore, she needed to seek legislative relief.
Bob Strickland spoke about MRFSS data and that other states do not use MRFSS for inseason adjustments; budget status right now is the biggest problem with poaching and the need to strengthen the warden force. He opposed shore fishermen having a limit of only two fish because of the division into shallow and deeper nearshore and suggested a more fair and equitable limit of 10 fish limit for shore anglers.
Mark Rentz spoke about Bear Creek damage due to a very bad storm and the California Division of Mines and Geology survey regarding sediment discharge on the north coast.