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“That wasn’t fishing, Barb,” David cut in. “Fishing without touching water or fish is more like some video game.”

The honk of a horn sounded behind us and our heads flipped around to find a lifeguard getting out of his truck. Rob, wearing his fishing license around his neck, ran over to greet the man. “Is it okay to fish here?” I asked Jen.

“I didn’t see a No Fishing sign among all the other ‘No’ signs,” she replied. Mike pulled the kelp from the hook while the rest of us watched Rob laugh with the lifeguard and then raise a pair of binoculars to look in the direction the guard’s finger was pointing. I turned my eyes to the shore, where sandpipers were hopping along and probing the wet sand with their long pointy beaks. I followed after them for a few minutes, pretending I was reporting live for Animal Planet. Golden peach- and rose-colored light glinted off the waves as the sun dipped into the ocean. I watched the colors shifting in the sky and the iridescent twinkling of the water, and for a moment, forgot about the smell, the flies, and the sand, and inhaled deeply.

Rob returned and explained that apparently we were standing in a protected area (exactly what was being protected, I don’t know, but the popular guess was some rare species of fly). The lifeguard had admitted the signage was poor with regard to the No Fishing rule. Under all the red “No” signs was fine print on a small black-and-white posting that, half-a-tiny paragraph down, said something like, “The taking or possession of sea life or artifacts is prohibited.” Nothing about fishing specifically, which was how everyone had missed it in the first place.

“So,” I said, trying to suppress my smirk. “Where do you want to eat?”

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Comments

jim87vette March 27, 2008 @ 8:15 a.m.

Well I think whatever is being protected was very safe that day lol.The beach the birds and the sunset(couple of friends) what more do you need?

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Barbarella Fokos March 27, 2008 @ 10:27 a.m.

Haha! Good point, Jim. And so is your second point -- it was a beautiful sunset. ;)

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Jane Belanger March 27, 2008 @ 6:33 p.m.

Speaking of lost arts... (this week's cover story) herein lies another one: the lost art of gathering one's own food. Most of us would starve if put to the test -- and if people had to actually kill an animal before they could get any meat, I bet there'd be a lot of overnight vegetarians!

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Josh Board March 28, 2008 @ 2:13 a.m.

Yeah, put me on that list, Jane. I just saw the movie The Bank Job tonight, and there's a scene where a guy spears a fish that they're going to eat. And, I was meaning to check the credits to see if it said "no fish were hurt during the filming of this."

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CarrieSchneider March 28, 2008 @ 8:31 p.m.

It's a good thing that Barbarella's ignorant friend did not catch a fish in what is a No-take zone of an Ecological reserve, set aside so that our species does not wipe out every fish in the sea. As the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps stated after a spear fisherman took a Black Sea Bass:

" After all, why did the spearfishermen choose to hunt near and within the reserve? Simply put: outside the reserves, there are almost no big fish anywhere else in San Diego. In fact, it is increasingly difficult to find any large fish (especially ones weighing in at over 170 lbs) in coastal waters across the globe. But they can be found inside reserves and near reserve boundaries, where protection from intensive fishing have allowed a few individuals to slowly increase in size and number over time. Unfortunately, this success is also the Achilles heel of the reserve, as they become targets for those who remain ignorant of the protection or defiant in the face of it. Either way, the spearing of this giant sea bass is the equivalent to killing a bison, bear or wolf in Yellowstone National Park, or like cutting down a sequoia tree in the Sequoia National Park. It is illegal and illegal for a reason. Just as we needed to set aside wild places on land where ecosystems could function intact and provide resources to exploited environments, so too do we need to set aside wild places in the sea. And we must enforce these regulations."

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Barbarella Fokos March 29, 2008 @ 11:19 a.m.

Good point, Jane. I like my food sterilized and plastic wrapped. I'd never survive on a farm. And Carrie, in my ignorant friend's defense, the lifeguard himself admitted that the signage regarding fishing was poor. Legal fishing in unprotected areas was literally a matter of feet to our right or left, and even further out into the water. God help the poor fish that swims in any of the three directions, and goes from "protected" to "game."

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