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Sanctuaries aren't working

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One of the things I am not seeing in the discussion over a new marine sanctuary off our coast is how well are the ones we have working? As written by Lori French ("Unnecessary protection," Dec. 16) there are four national marine sanctuaries designated in California since 1980. Also, there are 124 state marine protected areas, reserves and preserves, plus another five rock fish conservation areas.

From the point of view of fishermen, all of this coverage is not producing more fish. The promised "spillover affect" hasn't worked. So what is the answer from government and environmentalists? Just make more. Right. When something is not working, just make more of it. Meanwhile, the price of seafood continues to increase.

When Congress began designating marine sanctuaries, San Luis Obispo County still had commercial and recreational abalone fishing. Pismo Beach still had a clam fishery. The red sea urchin fishery had begun at Port San Luis and soon after became California's biggest fishery. There were also set-net and trawl fisheries for halibut and rock fish. Now, our local fisheries are a shadow of their former economic powerhouse.

We haven't gained anything in 50 years, but we have lost 90 percent of our fisheries. Why do we need more of this when it is not working?

Steve Rebuck

San Luis Obispo


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