Want Seafood? Go Fish!

More waters from San Francisco to Mendocino off-limits in effort to restore delicious marine wildlife populations

The State Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a plan to expand protected areas in the stretch of California coast from San Francisco to Mendocino and 3 miles out to sea.

The new marine reserves will protect 20 percent more coastal areas from commercial fishing, in the hopes of restoring one of California's tastiest natural resources.

Commercial fishermen wanted slightly fewer protected zones, and less strict restrictions on abalone diving.

The abalone population in particular is threatened and in decline, but some recreational abalone diving will still be permitted.

The move extends a network of marine preserves already created along the coast north of Santa Barbara, with plans expected for further extensions north and south and within San Francisco Bay.

Unfortunately, there may not be enough staff to police the area.

"The current (marine life protected areas) are not afforded adequate protection," President of the California Fish and Game Wardens Association Todd Tognazzini argued at the commission's approval meeting.

It means prices on menus for local, wild seafood will likely go up -- however, the market farmed species like oysters shouldn't be affected, and frankly, those tasty but nasty-tempered Humboldt Squid could probably use a cull.

Photo by Jim Bradbury.

Jackson West suggests farmed abalone from New Zealand in a pinch.

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