Let's Go Fishin': Bad behavior leads to more fishing restrictions in Santa Cruz Harbor
by Mike Baxter
Jul 03, 2014 | 1479 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Harbor fishing7-4-14 (8-8-13) Last summer, strict boundaries, rules, and restrictions met those arriving in the Santa Cruz Harbor for salmon fishing. Photo courtesy of Mike Baxter
Harbor fishing7-4-14 (8-8-13) Last summer, strict boundaries, rules, and restrictions met those arriving in the Santa Cruz Harbor for salmon fishing. Photo courtesy of Mike Baxter
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The return of the Chinook salmon may sound like the theme of a festival, parade or other means of a celebration — not in the Santa Cruz Harbor.

Last year, though there were many people, fish caught and smiles, the dilemma over designated fishing locations and restrictions led to many negative behaviors in the harbor as well.

Salmon returned to the harbor in large schools and close to 2,000 fish were harvested by sport anglers.

The returning salmon are released fish from the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project and are considered a “terminal fishery.”

This means that there is no spot for them to spawn and they were released with the intention that sport and commercial fishermen may catch them.

After several public meetings addressing the pros and cons of these fish returning, the Santa Cruz Harbor has released this statement:

 

“Santa Cruz Harbor is currently closed to fishing in all areas north of the jetties. On June 5, 2014, a public meeting regarding fishing in the harbor was held to receive input from various stakeholders.

At its regular public meeting of June 24, 2014, the Port Commission discussed revisions to the Port District's existing Ordinance Section 213 (g) - Fishing. Revisions to the ordinance are intended to provide clarity for prospective anglers, boaters, and enforcement personnel; enhance safety for human-powered watercraft users in allowed paddling zones, and allow flexibility for special uses such as youth and disabled persons fishing opportunities. The bail amount will be increased with double fines for fishing after hours.

The current ordinance was adopted in 1975, and prohibits fishing in any area of the harbor, including the jetties. Proposed revisions to Ordinance 213 (g) include:

Allowing fishing from the west jetty at any point south of the southernmost end of AA dock

Allowing fishing from the east jetty at any point south of the southernmost end of K-2 dock (fuel dock extension)

Authorizing exceptions for special events for youths between eight (8) and fifteen (15) years of age, disabled persons, etc.

The Santa Cruz Port District will advertise all required ordinance revisions according to the California Government Code. It is anticipated that the Commission will adopt the amended ordinance at their next regular public meeting on July 22, 2014.”

 

The news comes with great opposition from most anglers and support from many harbor slip renters.

This option will still allow anglers to pursue salmon out at sea, and along the jetties.

It is too a bad that such a good thing can turn to a negative situation especially when its due to bad behavior while fishing.

More can be learned at the Harbor Commission meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 22, as well as via updates on their website www.santacruzharbor.org and the news letter which the Santa Cruz Harbor publishes.

- Mike Baxter has fished in the Monterey Bay Area since he was a boy and has been a licensed charter boat captain for more than 20 years. Contact him at captmikebaxter@yahoo.com. He also hosts a fishing show on radio station KSCO (1080) from 8:06 to 9 p.m. Thursdays April through the end of August.

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