Fishermen appeal to board for help

February 27, 2007 11:00 pm

By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

Fishermen urged the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors at Tuesday's meeting to approve a resolution that might help retain commercial beach fishing permits for areas in the Redwood State and National Parks.

The resolution calls on federal and state agencies to coordinate with the county any time the larger entities make a decision that would impact the Del Norte economy or environment. As a part of the board's action, it will form a Land Use Management Committee comprised of residents from each district and one board member as chairman.

"The intent certainly is to protect our historical, social, environmental and integrity of Del Norte County," District 4 Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen said. "It's a good plan to get these fishermen not to lose their permits. They would like to pass the permits on (to their children)."

Hemmingsen referred to a section of the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, H.R. 233, which is unclear about whether fishermen with permits will be able to pass them on to their heirs.

"If these permits are not allowed to be transferred, that fishery will be eliminated down the road," Hemmingsen said. And with the passing of the of the resolution the county can now have a say in whether the permits can be inherited by future generations.

Currently there are 27 commerical beach fishing permits allowed in Redwood National and State Parks.

"For six years I've dedicated my life to protecting this fishery," Dennis Mayo said during the public comment period. "This Board of Supervisors has consistently protected fishermen and their rights."

Mayo is a respresentative of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, whose motto is, "Preserving our national resources FOR the public instead of FROM the public." He also is a member of Open Beaches and Trails which wants to maintain free access to public lands in Northern California.

"This coordination plan is the way to protect these fishermen today," Mayo said.

Humboldt County resident Ed Salsedo also spoke on behalf of the fishermen affected by H.R. 233.

"They (the park service) have systematically tried to reduce our numbers through their rules and regulations," Salsedo said. "Without this coordination plan you will not have the opportunity to be a part of that discussion."