Posted by: socalsalty | November 6, 2011

Letter To The PFMC

This is what I wrote.  If you hurry, they can still hear you today too.  Send to pfmc.comments@noaa.gov, cc alautzenhiser@deweysquare.com

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Hello,
My name is Joe Sarmiento.  I am an avid saltwater angler.  I’ve been doing it almost my whole life.  I grew up in Washington State on the south end of Puget Sound.  I’d fish several times per week in the waters around my home area between Des Moines and Redondo.  Family outings would involve taking the ferry out to the islands or driving down the coast to fish, clam and enjoy the company of family and friends.  Today I live in Southern California and am passing this family tradition to my children Jacob and Juliana (11 and 5).

I write about my experiences on the water in my blog, SoCal Salty.  I recently wrote there about how the my home fishery in Puget Sound is no longer a vibrant healthy fishery.  Here’s an excerpt…

I commented that the practice must totally wreck the ecosystem, and he said yes, there is no longer any kelp beds in the area.  If you’ve been following along, you know we do a lot of fishing along the kelp here in SoCal.  The reason why the kelp is such a productive fishing area is bait fish live and hide in it and the target predator fish hunt for them there.  This information made me very sad.
I also had the experience earlier this year to fish off Long Island, NY.   There I learned that catching a big striped bass was completely dependent on making bait, which was in this case, bunker or menhaden.  We were successful finding the bunker and as a result I had the experience of a lifetime catching a 39lb striped bass.  Just 2 weeks later, I learned from my guide that the bunker had disappeared and the fishing went with it.  Since then, I’ve been keenly following the plight of the menhaden, and have learned that these fish are under commercial pressure as they are used for pet food, fertilizer and the like.
When the Pew people asked me to advocate for this approach, I immediately said yes.  I’ve been living firsthand seeing what happens when the baitfish aren’t around.  We’re lucky here in Southern California that some of things that have happened elsewhere like the Pacific NW and the NE haven’t happened here.  I’d like to see the PFMC adopt the ecosystem based approach to ensure it stays that way.

Regards, Joe


Joe Sarmiento
aka SoCalSalty

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