On February 6 the California Fish and Game Commission accepted our petition for Emergency Regulatory Language to allow for recreational divers to remove purple urchins at Tanker's Reef in Monterey.
This Petition was denied at the April 17, 2019 Fish and Game Commission upon recommendation of the CDFW with an explanation that there are sea otters at this site and it is not an emergency condition. Neither of these things is true. CFGC and CDFW are coordinating on the issues raised and will be in contact, but that was 3 months ago. Many people are frustrated and disappointed in this decision not to allow recreational divers a seat at the table.
The following is the narrative prior to the denial:
Due to the thirty-five (35) sea urchins per-person daily bag limit (14 CCR § 29.05(a)) there is not a practical ability for recreational divers to remove urchins efficiently. Similar to what was proposed and approved for recreational divers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties under Emergency Regulatory Language 29.11 and subsequent Proposed Regulatory Language 29.06 applicable to Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt and possibly Del Norte counties, we propose that the Fish and Game Commission adopt Emergency Regulatory Language to allow recreational divers to remove 40 gallons of purple urchins per person daily at this singular reef in Monterey Bay.
Tanker’s Reef has excellent characteristics making it an ideal candidate for removal efforts. The site is just offshore from a long wide sandy beach, parking is available within easy walking distance and there are not nearshore tidepools or protected areas that might be disturbed or trampled by increased use. It is immediately adjacent to the Monterey Municipal Marina and is at the south end of the bay that is normally in the wave shadow of Point Pinos and also behind the San Carlos Breakwater jetty. This area is diveable in all but the most severe conditions from boat or from shore, normally 50 weeks out of the year. The urchin barren is in only 20 to 40 feet of depth which makes it an easier and safer dive for task loaded recreational divers. Because the reef is surrounded by sand, and urchins do not tend to traverse sand, the area, once cleared, should not be repopulated quickly by migrating urchins from the nearest adjacent reef over half a mile away.
Because the State is collecting fishing license fees and the divers are all certified by a nationally recognized diving certification agency, liability will rest with individual divers exercising their fishing license and not a diving organization. This will allow non-scientific recreational divers of all abilities to participate and will promote diving safety, scientific diving, sustainable fishing, and marine conservation. The events will be publicly held and be accessible for educational purposes and media reporting.
If you are interested in finding out more about his proposal you may download and view the Emergency Regulation Change Monterey.pdf. The Fish and Game Commisioin has approved the electronic materials for presentation at the meeting. This Petition was denied at the April 17, 2019 F&GC meeting in Santa Monica.
Three minute presentation to the California Fish and Game Commission on February 6, 2019 by Keith Rootsaert. This includes an update on the condition of the urchin barrens in Monterey and proposed efforts to remove urchins and restore kelp.
Four minute presentation at the California Fish and Game Commission April 17, 2019 in Santa Monica by Keith Rootsaert. Just prior to presenting this petition it was denied as recommended by the CDFW. I was originally allowed 5 minutes to present and the Power Point was to last 4:30, but at the last minute I was only allowed 4 minutes, that is why it is cut short at the end. But it doesn't really matter as it was already denied at this point.