Coast Guard to conduct fisheries, safety boardings near Morro Bay, Calif.

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Coast Guard is partnering with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and state law enforcement agencies to conduct fisheries and recreational safety boardings near Morro Bay and Port San Luis this weekend.

The boardings will be a mix of recreational boating safety and fisheries boardings to coincide with Near Shore Rock fish season, a state fishery that opened on May 1, and salmon, which is a federally regulated fishery.

“Some boaters have had their vessels sitting under tarps for months; they’re so excited about fishing season that they often forget to check their safety gear,” said Ensign Brandon Earhart of the Coast Guard’s 11th District.

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife provides a great deal of in-depth knowledge, and the Coast Guard provides the jurisdictional authority,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cody Dunagan, a living marine resources officer with the Coast Guard’s 11th District in Alameda, Calif., who also said that the end goal of the boardings is to not only keep boaters safe, but to help maintain a delicate balance in the marine ecosystem.

“There’s a certain amount of effort that can go into fishing for a specific species, based on a number of factors, and still allow the species to continue to recycle itself,” said Dunagan.

“From an environmental standpoint, we’re seeing a definite recovery of salmon and salmon stock in the California area,” said Dunagan.  “But we have to be cognizant of adherence to the regulations in order to avoid depleting stocks again now that commercial salmon is such a viable industry and recreational fishing is such a viable sport.  We want to make sure that the public is aware of what those regulations are, and that our enforcement efforts are mirroring the fishing efforts so that we don’t deplete the stocks again. That’s really what we’re trying to do.”

The Coast Guard would also like to remind inland fishermen who are used to fishing on rivers to be aware and prepared for hazardous conditions by making sure they’re equipped for open waters, versus working on a closed body such as a lake, or fishing from the edge of a river.  Dress for the water temperature. Though the air may be warm, the water is still cold.

Boaters should check all required safety equipment to be sure it is in good working order, to include radios, flares and floatation devices. The Coast Guard Auxiliary provides free vessel safety exams.  Contact the flotilla nearest you for more information.  File a float plan before getting underway, and be sure to have U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejackets aboard.

Federal fisheries regulations

National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety

A warden with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife assists with a fisheries boarding

A warden with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife assists the Coast Guard with a series of fisheries boardings near Morro Bay, Calif., Friday, May 3, 2013. Coast Guard photo by ENS Brandon Earhart

 

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