No-fishing zones proposed for coastal waters

By on Wed, August 5, 2009

State regulators are proposing a new approach to regulating fishing: creating no-fishing zones in critical habitat, reports the County Times.

The proposal to be considered by the state Fish and Game Commission would establish 22 marine protected areas limiting or banning fishing in 20 percent of state waters from Half Moon Bay to Point Arena. The goal: to help boost beleaguered populations of everything from rockfish to Dungeness crab to abalone by essentially leaving their habitat alone.

Rather than traditional rules that set fishing rules for individual species, like salmon, the idea is to set aside important areas such as kelp forests and underwater rock formations where all species can rebound and grow larger, away from nets, traps and hooks. ...

California has jurisdiction in the ocean out to three miles off shore.

Within that area, the proposal would ban fishing in 11 places, including: off Montara along the coast of San Mateo County; in state waters around much of the Farallon Islands; near Point Reyes National Seashore; off parts of Sonoma County, including Bodega Head and much of the northern Sonoma coast; and off Point Arena in Mendocino County.

Fishing also would be limited in 11 other areas, including near Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in San Mateo County, small parts of the Farallon Islands, waters further off shore from Point Reyes National Seashore, Bodega Bay and areas north of Gualala. The rules would affect commercial and recreational fishing.