April 22, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Earth Day

Today marks the thirty-third observance of Earth Day. Historically, the day showcases events designed to increase awareness of environmental issues. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in 1970 to thrust such issues into the political arena, where they had long been ignored. Great strides have been made since then. It thus seems a natural opportunity to publicize an environmental issue I only recently caught wind of.

The California State Senate, in their usual infinite wisdom, is considering a measure—SB281—that would virtually eliminate every single marine reserve in California, at least with regard to recreational fishing. Specifically, the bill, if passed, would allow "rod and reel" fishing anywhere in California waters. Yes, that means you could cast out a line in La Jolla Cove, Monterey Bay or any other currently protected area.

The logic behind this bill is classic flawed reasoning, so common in politics, where politicians will say just about anything, no matter how absurd, to get a bill signed into law. The argument goes, since it cannot be proven that rod and reel fishing is the cause of the depletion of many species of fish in California waters, it should not be banned anywhere. This makes as much sense as legalizing narcotics because it cannot be proven that their sale and distribution causes crime. Recreational fishing is surely not the only cause, nor is it the primary cause, of the depletion of fish species, but obviously one depletes the fish stock by at least one animal by casting in a line and hauling up a fish.

What makes it obvious that this bill simply caters to special interests is its limitation to "rod and reel" fishing. Under the bill, spearfishing by snorkelers and scuba divers would still be prohibited in marine reserves. If there's no threat to animal species from recreational fishing by rod and reel, what's wrong with recreational fishing by spear gun or Hawaiian sling?

I'm not an activist, so I won't urge you to contact your state senator. If you feel strongly enough about the issue—one way or the other—after researching it, by all means do so. I just felt the need to get the word out before I start getting tangled in anglers' monofilament line as I scuba dive through the beautiful kelp forests and reefs of the state's marine reserves.

[Editor's Note: I just found out that the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildlife voted down this bill 3-6 today (interesting timing), so in the end I have written about nothing—not that that has ever stopped me.]


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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4/21: Joshua Tree, Part III
4/20: Joshua Tree, Part II
4/19: Joshua Tree, Part I
4/18: Royal Flush
4/17: A Long Strange Trip
4/16: A New Line to Back
4/15: Still Writing
4/14: Conspiracy Theory
4/13: Los Coronados
4/12: Y2K in Y2K3
4/11: Slow Glass
4/10: Freedom of Speech
4/9: Why We're Fighting
4/8: Eucalyptus Memories
4/7: Sleep
4/6: Writing, Just Not Here
4/5: Sci-Files Trivia
4/4: Sobering Up
4/3: Great White Hope
4/2: Entropy
4/1: Peace on Earth
Previous months in The Archive

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