Revillagigedo Islands fishing shut down!!!

EL CAZADOR

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By Ed Zieralski
STAFF WRITER - UNION TRIBUNE

April 2, 2002

The Mexican government has shut down fishing at the Revillagigedo Islands and has forced local long-range sport boats to cancel trips or go farther south to fish.

Bob Fletcher, president of the Sportfishing Association of California, said yesterday that the present closure will affect seven long-range boats and 13 scheduled fishing trips to the Revillagigedo Islands, south of Cabo San Lucas.

Fletcher said owner John Klein of the Qualifier 105 was forced to cancel a trip yesterday, but the Red Rooster III and the Royal Polaris are rerouting their trips for the French-controlled Clipperton Atoll farther south.

"It's far from being resolved, and it doesn't look as though it's going to be resolved for a while," Fletcher said.

The sportfishing fleet dispatched Barnard Thompson, its special adviser, to Mexico City to get the issue resolved, but Thompson brought back bad news.

Fletcher said the Mexican government told Thompson it won't reopen the islands to fishing until a fisheries management plan is in place there. Fletcher said the Mexicans used that reasoning in 1995 when they closed the islands. But Thompson and Fletcher, thanks to some pressure from Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-San Diego), convinced the Mexican government to open the islands to limited recreational fishing until the plan was final.

"Barney Thompson and I worked with the Mexican government in 1997 and 1998 on a fisheries management plan for that area," Fletcher said. "We got a draft done and were issued permits to fish. But now that management plan has disappeared. No one seems to know where it is."

Fletcher said he may know the reason for the recent closure. There was a recent report that Mexican officials, visiting San Benedicto recently, uncovered some illegal commercial longline fishing being done by a Mexican commercial boat. The longline boat was within 1.9 miles of San Benedicto and hauling a load of sharks.

Up until that, the U.S. sport fleet, 10 boats with permits, were allowed to fish as close as 500 meters from the Islands. But now that boundary has been extended to five miles.

"Our catches are so minuscule and done on highly migratory species that it's ludicrous to think that we have to be impacted like this," Fletcher said. "It's a complete overreaction by the Mexican government to kick us out of there like this."
 

d trees

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Its all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ with Mexico I dont understand why we dont just BUY BAJA already!!!!!!!!!!!
 

foulshot

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By Ed Zieralski
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

April 5, 2002

For nearly 30 years, fishermen have considered trips to the Revillagigedo Islands adventures of a lifetime, a chance to pull on huge yellowfin tuna more than 300 pounds and sleek, hard-fighting wahoo of more than 50 pounds.

That's what Tom Hennies of Ramona was looking forward to on a scheduled 17-day trip later this month aboard the Qualifier 105. But he and 24 other fishermen on that trip likely won't see those Islands if Mexican officials don't overturn a recent ruling to close that fishery by Profepa, Mexico's environmental watchdog agency.

Profepa has shut down all fishing – commercial and recreational – at the Revillagigedo Islands, 250 miles south of Cabo San Lucas. The closure affects seven long-range boats based in San Diego (three others aren't making trips there) and 13 trips scheduled before June. The trips will either have to be redirected to other fishing grounds or canceled.

Hennies and two fellow San Diego-area anglers – Rex Helton and Kevin Malone – bought more than $7,000 in fishing gear for their trip April 24 aboard the Qualifier 105. They also paid $4,000 each for the trip and figured to spend more on tips, jackpots and other expenses.

"This was going to be my first trip there, and I was really cranked up for it," said Hennies, a pro bass angler and avid fisherman. "The reason we pay big money for these trips is the chance to get those 150-to 300-pound tuna. It's really disappointing."

The loss to the San Diego-based long-range fleet could total over $1 million in gross revenue, according to Bob Fletcher, president of the Sportfishing Association of California.

Fletcher said the fleet spends more than $1 million a year in Mexico in the process of clearing customs, buying permits, fishing licenses, supplies and the like. One boat owner alone must pay $1,200 a month for a permit to fish Mexican waters and $500 a year for a special permit to fish the Revillagigedo Islands. Fishermen on long-range trips also pay a special fee of $75 to fish the islands.

The loss of one long-range trip alone could mean as much as a $100,000 hit to a sport boat operation such as John Klein's Qualifier 105, which had to cancel a trip April 1 due to the closure.

The Red Rooster III and the Royal Polaris rerouted trips to the French-controlled Clipperton Island, a tiny, ring-shaped, coral atoll located 500 miles farther south of the Revillagigedo Islands, 1,630 miles from San Diego. It takes six days to reach Clipperton from San Diego. It's an isolated area, so any trip there is a gamble. If the fishing isn't good, there are no other options.

Fletcher said sportfishing log books show that sport anglers on San Diego-based boats fishing at the Revillagigedo Islands in 2000-2001 averaged 6.7 yellowfin tuna and 5.7 wahoo per trip. They were allowed 15 of each species by Mexican fishing laws.

"Those same fishermen, if they chose, could have gone to Cabo San Lucas and caught five yellowfin per day for 10 days for a total of 50 yellowfin tuna," Fletcher said. "But fishermen who go to the Revillagigedos from San Diego are limited to no more than 15 fish of each species, and they catch less than half that."

Fletcher is riled that the Mexican government has lumped the San Diego sport fleet in with commercial operators and poachers in the Pacific.

"We've been partners with Mexico and fishing at the islands for nearly 30 years," Fletcher said. "For them to paint us as rapers of the resource is not true. The amount of fish we take is minuscule compared to what the commercial fishing industry takes. Commercial boats caught 310,000 metric tons of yellowfin tuna last year. We took 175 tons for the entire year for all our boats. And we target large fish down there, not fish that contribute to the spawning population."
 

Thonzberry

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I agree with you Derek, the US should buy BAJA.  I wonder how the Mexican Gov. would feel if everyone stopped going to Mexico to go fishing, that would would put a dent in there pockets. This kinda crap pisses me off :mad-red:. Next they will try to close all of BAJA and our waters, oh man don't get me started n fire mad: sorry I had to vent for a sec.........
 

karstic

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Don't know if buying Baja would work. We're already dealing with closures off California as it is. The politicrats would have more territory to pine over.
 
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