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.
Gordon Fox spoke about converting spot prawn trawl permits to trap permits to finish what was started with the prohibition on the use of trawls. He indicated that the industry is ready to help the process in any way possible.
Deputy Director Mastrup said he would check with Marine Region staff to see what priority has been assigned to this matter. Mr. Mastrup appreciated Mr. Fox's offer of assistance and would get back to him promptly.
Kevin Cooper, San Diego sport diver, requested an amendment of Section 630, Title 14, to allow the possession and transport of spear guns through the San Diego - La Jolla Ecological Reserve from the sand beach boat launch area to outside the Reserve for sportfishing purposes. He provided suggested wording to allow this activity.
Deputy Director Mastrup indicated the Department is willing to look into this matter. He stated that if Section 630 of Title 14 is opened for other regulatory matters this change should not be a problem. He pointed out that it might have to wait for the normal sport fishing regulatory process if that section won't be open for other reasons.
Juanita Dellomes spoke about the Fishing in the City Program in Los Angeles at Echo Lake. She expressed her concerns with a new organization that has interfered with the Department of Fish and Game's efforts. She indicated that this organization was not really interested in the welfare of the youth and did not provide equipment or other materials for the events.
President Flores said the Commission fully supports the Fishing in the City Program.
Bob Osborn stated that a sportfish landing has closed from lack of business due to cuts in fishing opportunities. He indicated there has been a new stock assessment made for bocaccio that may lead to the PFMC reassessing the OY for that fishery in June. He would like the Commission to make changes if the PFMC does so. He indicated that the science panel for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary work group for the monitoring program reached consensus that it is not necessary to monitor pelagic fish species. He requested the Commission follow up on this issue. He indicated that he would like to see a workshop on recreational allocation of fish stocks.
Virginia Handley related that she was concerned about live animal markets and their role in disease transmission. She also said she would like to see legislation to give Commission authority over frog jumping contests. She does not agree with the Department's position that bullfrogs, an exotic species, should be released into the wild after the frog jumping contests.
Bob Strickland provided the Commission with a handout of Dr. Alec MacCall's report on bocaccio stock status. He stated that he would like the Commission to write a letter of support for early opening of the rockfish season to the PFMC.
Vice President Chrisman asked if the STAR panel agrees with Dr. MacCall's report.
Mr. Strickland did not know.
Mr. Chrisman indicated that the PFMC would ask the same question.
Mr. Strickland indicated that he didn't know what the increased OY might be. Mr. Strickland stated that the June 16-20 PMFC meeting conflicts with June 19-20 Commission meeting and indicated there is also a conflict with the August meetings of the PFMC and the Commission. He asked if the Commission can change the agenda for the June meeting to move marine items to the early August meeting so there would not be a conflict.
Deputy Director Mastrup said there is good news about bocaccio, as there are several strong age classes coming in to play. He stated that it is not clear what the outcomes will be as far as increased fishing opportunity. He indicated that the latest view is that bocaccio stock assessments may come in between 6 and 10 percent of the unfished biomass, up from earlier estimates of 4 percent. He stated that the PFMC may have a better picture by their June meeting.
Mr. Chrisman stated that he would like a report on the age structure of the increased bocaccio biomass and how that would translate to increased fishing opportunities and harvest at the next Marine Subcommittee meeting.
Chris Hoeflinger said bocaccio in southern California are the driving factor for the fishing closures and we need age/year class information to model the fishery. Twenty tons have been allowed for the fishery, but none for research. Channel Island reserves prohibit possession of fish in a reserve unless the fish are on the boat, but fishermen need authority to put their catch over the side or in a receiver for species such as crabs, lobster and live fish. They also need to store the catch while they continue fishing on multi-day trips. The new laws force them to anchor in unsafe locations because they cannot have their catch in the water. Because of this the reserve regulations prevent them from safely anchoring.
Vice President Chrisman replied that the Commission and the Department would take a close look at that.
Paul Weakland asked for an explanation on where the missing Commissioners were. California history shows that in 1801 Russians had sea otter hunting expeditions and sea otters did not roam up and down the coast. There are no otter remains in Indian middens and no indication that Native Americans used sea otters. Recent sea otter deaths appear related to pollution and sea otters don't belong here. The FWS admitted failure of sea otter transplants and sea otter research is now just a ploy for more grant money and no more grants should be issued. If trawling is so bad, why do we allow sea cucumber trawling without restriction and why are they allowed to retain halibut bycatch? The abalone document is not done but the Department is moving forward with sea urchin regulations. And as for staff compensation no one believes fish and game staff is earning their money now, let alone should they be rewarded for secret activity without the public present.
Karen Reyna said there is good news in San Francisco where the Board of Supervisors has passed resolutions on Chilean sea bass and seafood labeling. While not binding the resolutions raise public awareness about where and how seafood is caught. Her organization supports conversion to spot prawn traps for former trawlers and bocaccio stock assessment should be looked at closely before making changes to the sport fishing regulations.
Leslie Purcell said she would like to see the Ballona Creek wetlands area saved.