May 11, 2009 Arch Richardson
For the last 3 mornings I have sat on the hill above Highway 1 watching the same cars northbound before the tide and then again going south after the tide. Where are they going? North for abalone at some open public area: Stornetta Ranch, Mote Creek, maybe The Sea Ranch. County Parks do no open their gates until after sunrise. Hundreds of cars storming north. Cate and her family watched the same migration at Sail Rock, near Saunders Reef in Mendocino County. It was a windy and rough ocean, not even a boat from the south came north. And they will be back again for the big -1.9 tides in late May and again in late June.
I looked at our ranch: less than 8 people in three days (none this morning). Only 9 abalone were taken in 3 days, a couple sea trout, a handful of cabezon and 20 lbs of mussels. What impact do we have on the resources? Very little if any. What good is it to close these private lands? The locals who own land here on the coast are not the problem of diminishing resources. It is outsiders. How do we save the resources by punishing the locals who have been the stewards of the ocean and the ecosystem for years? The migration of people will still appear here on the coast to rape it. What are they losing with MLPA? Not much. Without closing some of the public access trails, nothing changes.
Come look for yourself at the parking lots and key access areas. You will see first hand what is happening to the habitat. Once the "Preferred Alternative" is put in place, the overload begins. New regulations must follow ASAP to lower the daily and seasonal limit, shorten the season, restrict gear type, etc. More enforcement personal are needed to patrol and enforce both open and closed areas. Illegal commercial take of abalone will flourish.
I’m at a loss for what really is going to happen. But I do know that this is a slap in the face for those of us that have lived here for generations.
The 5 Richardson families, 5 ranches, 4.6 mile of coastline, 130+ years heritage