My name is Taylor Mellinger and I have enjoyed growing up as a local and regular visitor of Laguna Beach. Ever since a young age I would see spear fishermen make their way out into the water and would watch them disappear into the vast blue in awe. Then in seventh grade after receiving my first spear, I joined this elite class of underwater hunters. We are fishermen just like the guys using a fishing pole above the water, but we go and seek out our target. I have been diving down in Laguna Beach for years making vivid memories spearfishing with my buddies. The California Fish and Game commission made a large list of areas to close completely off to fishing in the Southern California area, which includes Laguna Beach. The law went to effect on Jan. 1, 2013. This newly enforced ban is an outrage to all local fishermen who have made it a tradition to pursue fish off these beaches. These closed off sections are defined as state marine-protected areas which are no take zones. I agree that we must limit fishing due to the diminishing fish population, but a full-fledged ban seems to be overkill. The fact of the matter is that fishing is an activity that people use to relax and escape the anxieties of the world.
Commercial fishing is the major cause of wasted resources in our oceans. The private fisherman that goes out to fish to catch dinner for his family has very little impact when compared to a large fishing vessel pulling in tons of fish.
The only logical solution to this major issue at hand is to reverse the ban while adding more restrictions to current regulations. The best and most fair conclusion is too uphold the ban in these no take zones across the Southern California coast for commercial fishing boats but to allow the ordinary fisherman access with heavy restriction. This would continue to allow fishing and spearfishing off of Laguna’s beaches yet at the same time keep our fish population stable and promote growth. With new regulations of smaller bag limit and larger minimum fish size, the people who call Laguna Beach their backyard can continue to fish while being environmentally cautious.
Taylor Mellinger, Lake Forest