CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN ROCK CRAB FISHERMEN MEETING
Sunday June 28, 2015, 10am-noon, Santa Barbara Harbor
• Current status of the fishery?
• Pros/cons of current fishery regulations
• Ideas for changes in the future of the fishery?
• Ideas if any for changes in fishery regulations
• Next steps?
• Form association?
• Other concerns
• Letter to CA Fish and Wildlife regarding whale entanglement of crab pots
Attendance: Ron Ellis, Steve Escobar, Terry Wilmarth, Dominic Mercaldo, Mike McCorkle, Ray Kennedy, Paul Teall, Bob Love, Guy Robinson, Dennis Tobin, Devin Grace, Matt Liso, Steve Dunn, Mike Gandall, Andy Perry, Gerry Richter, Tim Bowler, Jeff Wright
• Meeting started 10:10 am.
• Ray Kennedy proposed Steve Escobar to chair the meeting. Guy Robinson seconded the motion.
• Steve talked about forming a CA Southern Rock Crab Fishermen association. All crab fishermen in attendance agreed to form CA Southern Rock Crab Fishermen. Southern rock crab fishermen permit holders can only be members. Minimal annual fee to be discussed at a later date. More participation of fishermen, less cost. Email and website to be created to communicate among fishermen. In the meantime, phone calls and out outreach to be conducted to fishermen not in attendance.
• Current status of fishery
1. Transfer of permits and effort increasing
2. 17 boats at Channel Islands
3. No chance to give any areas a rest because space is limited with so many permit holders
4. Since transferability started, more MPA’s implemented so more fishermen and less space
5. Stock assessment? Kristine Barsky and/or Carrie Culver conducted 20 years ago
6. Biology? Crab live to be 5 years maximum
7. No crab Fishery Management Plan (FMP)
8. Trend the last three years: emerging junk crab and claw markets
9. There are two kinds of quality – fishermen need to understand and define quality better – social issue, not regulatory issue
• Condition of crab (can have 3.25” hard, fat, brown or 6” soft, legless red
10. Permits that are being transferred are permits that were not being used = more effort
11. Fishermen need to remember that a well-managed fishery and fishing is more profitable than selling permit
12. Fishermen who are looking to retire did not pay for permit, new guys are more invested and have to fish harder/smarter to pay debt.
13. Santa Barbara and Channel Islands mostly impacted – not much impact or change in effort felt in Ventura and South
• Changes in fishery? – important to discuss all options, but not all options make sense for fishery. Before any kind of proposed changes to even be considered, heavy outreach to all southern rock crab permit holders must be done.
1. Change minimum size limit – species specific?
• A lot of discussion on this. If minimum size is increased, it should be no more than 0.25”-0.50” because size is species and sex specific. 6 measuring gauzes on boat is not reasonable.
• Current size limit has been sustainable. If there is increase in number of traps with current size limit it impacts the fishery significantly. Favorable to increase the minimum size limit.
• Crabs are short lived – leave size limit alone
• Change number of permits transferred annually
• Change frequency of lottery (i.e.: every other year?)
• 2 for 1 permits to transfer until capacity goat is reached
• Transfer moratorium – only way to get any immediate change in fishery – CFW not likely to favor this. They only did it previously because it was open-access fishery.
3. Trap limit
• Discussion of 100-200 trap limit — Could be too complicated (i.e. trap tags/enforcement)
4. Season – no one in favor
5. Apprenticeship program – must be involved in fishery for two years and have permit holder sign off in order to be in lottery
• Many in favor
6. Stacking permits with trap limits
7. Gear modifications – no one in favor
8. Individual Take Quota (ITQ)
• Can address junk market issues
• If fishermen have limited amount of crab to catch, they are more likely to keep the quality crab and throw back small/soft crab to catch later. If quality more consistent, it can increase value of catch
• Not many in favor
9. Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURF)
• Regional Management
• Only allowed to fish in certain block #
• Not many in favor
• Discussed letter from Center of Biological Diversity, Earthjustice and Oceana addressing traps entangling whales
1. Many errors in letter – not accurate ‘facts’
2. Was advised that if Earthjustice is involved, they will most likely sue.
3. Fishermen must keep eye out for progress, and respond to the letter if it progresses
4. Letter attached in email
• Next steps
1. Another meeting in a couple of months to revisit suggestions above
2. Possibly invite Carrie Culver and/or CFW biologist to advise on possible strategies for any potential changes
3. Build California Southern Rock Crab Fishermen association, website and outreach to other southern rock crab fishermen
Meeting adjourned 12:20pm