Trawling bill on hold after outcry

May 14, 2003 12:00 am

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

The Southern California effort to stop ocean trawling took a twist last week that may save the future of Del Norte County's pink shrimp fishery.

Proposed a couple of months ago by state Sen. Dede Alpert (D-Coronado), SB 236 was designed to to put strict new regulations on fishermen using trawl nets — regulations local fishermen say are a death blow to their livlihoods.

Alpert said she is now backing off the effort after some heavy lobbying from Del Norte's boat owners.

"They did bring me some information I didn't have before ... Maybe the pink shrimp fishery shouldn't be included in this," said Alpert to The Daily Triplicate yesterday.

Acknowledging that pink shrimp trawl gear may be very different and less damaging than some bottomfishing gear, Alpert said she will wait to see what information and suggestions Del Norte fishermen offer her.

Also of concern, she said, was that Oregon fishermen would still fish the same ocean floor with the same gear that the bill would prohibit Del Norte's fishermen from using.

"I don't want that to happen while we continue to work on this bill," she said. Alpert said she wants to make sure standards are workable for fishermen.

Alpert's action may delay the passage of the bill for two years, though it is still possible for it to get approval from both the Senate and state Assembly within the year.

Del Norte fisherman Richard Young said he is not comforted that the bill has been suspended and will continue to fight it.

With the planned visits to Del Norte this Friday of state Sen. Sam Aanestad (R-Grass Valley) and state Assemblymember Patty Berg (D Arcata), Young and several others will lobby the representatives to kill the bill.