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Unfair Game

Last Thursday morning, August 27, some people in northbound I-5 traffic probably noticed the green California Department of Fish & Game truck parked on the side of the freeway, above the Batiquitos Lagoon. Unfortunately for possible fish poachers or lagoon trespassers, they could not have seen the game warden looking down on them with binoculars.

According to DFG captain Angel Raton, the 13 game wardens in the San Diego sector will choose higher-than-waterfront vantage points along the coastline in an effort to spot fishermen taking too many fish, poaching for commercial purposes, or too small, illegal, or endangered species.

“We usually patrol in the morning or in the late evening, when there is more fishing activity,” says Raton.

A bigger enforcement challenge is the fact that San Diego County has the largest fleet of private fishing boats for hire in California. Known as “party” boats, these chartered vessels are often targets for enforcement when they return to the docks in San Diego, Mission Bay, or Oceanside. Unlike licensed sportfishing boats, according to Raton, the owners are usually not aware of the fishing regulations off our coast.

A big issue in North County is the taking of lobster, caught illegally out of season or stolen in season from licensed traps. Fines usually start at $500 for the first lobster in possession and higher for each additional lobster.

On August 27, in the eastern basin of the Batiquitos Lagoon, Raton spotted someone with a dog or a bicycle in a restricted area. DFG also enforces no-trespassing laws near protected waterways and animal habitats.

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Last Thursday morning, August 27, some people in northbound I-5 traffic probably noticed the green California Department of Fish & Game truck parked on the side of the freeway, above the Batiquitos Lagoon. Unfortunately for possible fish poachers or lagoon trespassers, they could not have seen the game warden looking down on them with binoculars.

According to DFG captain Angel Raton, the 13 game wardens in the San Diego sector will choose higher-than-waterfront vantage points along the coastline in an effort to spot fishermen taking too many fish, poaching for commercial purposes, or too small, illegal, or endangered species.

“We usually patrol in the morning or in the late evening, when there is more fishing activity,” says Raton.

A bigger enforcement challenge is the fact that San Diego County has the largest fleet of private fishing boats for hire in California. Known as “party” boats, these chartered vessels are often targets for enforcement when they return to the docks in San Diego, Mission Bay, or Oceanside. Unlike licensed sportfishing boats, according to Raton, the owners are usually not aware of the fishing regulations off our coast.

A big issue in North County is the taking of lobster, caught illegally out of season or stolen in season from licensed traps. Fines usually start at $500 for the first lobster in possession and higher for each additional lobster.

On August 27, in the eastern basin of the Batiquitos Lagoon, Raton spotted someone with a dog or a bicycle in a restricted area. DFG also enforces no-trespassing laws near protected waterways and animal habitats.

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Comments
11

"Unfair game"? Even more unfair is the fact that California has the LOWEST ratio in the entire nation of game wardens to population, with somewhere around only 192 in the field. And our wildlife suffers accordingly. Not acceptable! (By comparison, Florida has some 700 wardens, Texas 500.)

Adding insult to injury, our beleaguered and heroic wardens earn only 3/5's the salary of a State Highway Patrolman, and are much more likely to be shot at. And, unlike the cops, the wardens are forced to take unpaid furloughs. Not fair.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Write to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and your state legislators, demanding pay equity for our wardens, and for at least a doubling of the number of wardens in the field.

ADDRESS FOR ALL: c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Sincerely, Eric Mills, coordinator ACTION FOR ANIMALS Oakland

Sept. 2, 2009

Thank God they've got the lowest. What happened to the days before bulls government when a man could go out and fish and hunt and be left the f alone?

Sept. 2, 2009

If California didn't have to support such a large population of illegal aliens the state could probably afford a lot of things including more game wardens.

Sept. 3, 2009

Hey PistolPete, the days before bull* government led to the sad situation we have today, when bull* government has to keep aoles like you off the water and out of the woods for part of the year, or limit the amount you take to give the fish and game a break before there are no more left. You want to do whatever the hell you want, go to China and good luck finding any fish and game there. It's all been taken by fs like you.

Sept. 3, 2009

Sorry,EvenSteven,#1-I don't hunt anymore and #2-when I did,I was a responsible hunter only killing the meat I needed to survive on for a couple of months. So.....F*** OFF!

Sept. 3, 2009

As the writer of this story, I'm honored that I have six responses, the most I've every received for one of my stringer stories. Thanks guys. I also have to also disclose that I ID'd the lagoon wrong. It is the Agua Hedienda Lagoon, not Batiquitos. I've only lived here all of my life, you'd think I would have gotten it right?

Sept. 5, 2009

"If California didn't have to support such a large population of illegal aliens the state could probably afford a lot of things including more game wardens."

If California was still called Mexico, you would have written this response in Spanish and would have been referring to illegal aliens as gringos.

Sept. 5, 2009

Unfortunately, only the odd-numbered of those responses are worth reading, Ken :)

Thanks for the article, and thanks for the information, ericmills--we'll check it out.

My two cents: If our 'governor' valued parkland more than he does development in SD, we might be able to ease traffic of nature-hungry folk in off-limits areas such as these fragile lagoons, and redirect to legal, sustainable eco-systems, built for human enjoyment. We should all support Parks & Rec for their attempts to do what they can with ever shrinking budgets and space to work with...

Sept. 5, 2009

By that logic, Ken won't be reading the response from you (last I checked, the number 8 was even ;-)

Your stories are great, Ken. Keep 'em coming!

Sept. 6, 2009

Ah, but I said "those" responses, which put mine aside. Keep nipping at my heels, Josh ;-)

Sept. 7, 2009

Damn! Good point, SD.

Sept. 7, 2009

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