Fishing is hard on the sea, living is hard on my heart

Click on the title of this post to read it and see a related header image.

The debris shown in the images below was collected after the first big storm of 2012 in early February.

Over two days I spent 10 hours and covered about three miles of Drakes Beach and South Beach. Just imagine what all the beaches of Point Reyes were covered with from just one storm!

The plan was to have posted these images in February. Due to painful distractions, I am finally getting around to sharing what I hope you find are compelling images. That is, I hope they compel you to give some thought to all that happens in order to bring seafood to your table.

Tomorrow is the commercial crab opener of 2012. Thousands of crab pots have been dropped in the sea attached to miles and miles of petroleum based rope, foam floats and plastic bait jars. Much of this gear will be lost due to storm, propeller strike or other activities. While scraping and grinding along the bottom of the sea, or abrading on the beach sand, many thousands of pounds of plastic will be pulverized and deposited into the food chain.

Does society have any idea what is undertaken to put seafood on their table? The time, expense and effort of the fishermen, the vast amount of gear lost at sea each season, or stolen by unscrupulous crab fishermen? A local fishermen once told me, after sharing with me the many ways in which fishermen “do unto others” in not such golden ways, “Crab fishing makes ya crabby!”

Be sure to have a look at the last picture. There you will get a close look at about 75 oyster spacer tubes from Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) in the foreground. I have found well over 5000 of these in the last five years. From as far north as the tip of Tomales Point and south to Slide Ranch.

Click on image for bigger picture – Debris recovered over two days work, about ten hours effort

Click on image for bigger picture – Should the price of crab reflect the cost to the planet?

Click on image for bigger picture – Maybe some of this is yours?

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Click on image for bigger picture – Heroin, nicotine and caffeine….slower, faster, anywhere but here and now…

Click on image for bigger picture – If all dogs at the seashore are on leash….how come I find 100’s of tennis balls and ball tossers each year?

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Click on image for bigger picture – Each one of those orange tags represents about $200 in lost gear for a crab fisherman. What if they paid a deposit on each trap set? To offset the cost of picking up after all their gear that litters the ocean and beaches.

Click on image for bigger picture – Black PVC pipe oyster spacers used by Drakes Bay Oyster Company. You see 75 or so here. I have found over 5000 of these on Point Reyes beaches, as well as dozens oyster grow-out bags and the foam from inside grow-out bags.

All forms of commercial fishing take a huge toll on our planet.

Is it asking too much to set aside portions of the planet as areas we tread upon lightly, or tread upon not at all?

Many say we must do all we can to produce food locally, sustainably to feed the 7 billion humans on earth.

Others say we need to slow the growth of the human population, keep it more in line with the carrying capacity of earth.

This planet is fragile. Humans, only one of the many species on this blue sphere, have developed the means to do great good and great harm. As we ever more quickly modify our nest, it is less able to feed an ever growing population. Does this make sense? Does a growing family move into ever smaller and smaller housing?

I think The Dude said it best:

Duncan MacLean, please stop wrecking fishing boats

Click on the title of this post to read it and see a related header image.

I just now sent the following message to Zeke Grader by email. I hope he is able to keep Mr. MacLean from wrecking any more boats along our coast.

Mr. Grader is the Executive Director of THE PACIFIC COAST FEDERATION
OF FISHERMEN’S ASSOCIATIONS, and, as I understand it, a long time friend of Duncan MacLean.

Hello Mr. Zeke Grader,

I’d like to relate to you my day, so that you will do everything you can to stop Duncan MacLean from ever captaining another fishing boat.

It is 9 pm and I just stepped out of the shower and my eyes are still burning from the fuel that coated me today as I wrestled in the surf with the remains of the fishing vessel Sea Biscuit, captained by Duncan MacLean.

Yesterday I received word that help was needed to remove debris from Pinnacle Beach near Bodega Bay. A fishing boat had wrecked and people wanted to clear the beach before the holiday weekend.

I drove up around 3 pm, signed in with the Surfrider people and hiked down onto the beach. My large pack full of wetsuit, booties, mud boots, bags for debris.

For an hour or two I ferried loads around a rock point so that a truck could come get them. 20-30 others did the same.

Then, as the tide became low enough, along with a dozen others, I pulled all manner of cables, fuel lines, electronics, hull pieces, fishing line from the surf. All of it coated with fuel.

I am told a helicopter will be on site next week to extract the engine, fuel tanks and other large items.

For a week now, dozens of people have cleaned up after Mr. MacLean, AGAIN!

I was witness to the results of his grounding of the Barbara Faye on 12 May at Limantour Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore. That cost the NPS over $80,000 of tax payer money. The coast guard, fish & game and others paid too. The fuel was pumped off the boat that time, I heard at a cost of over $20,000. This time, the fuel leaked into the sea. I saw the colorful sheen on the water, I feel it stinging my eyes as I type this.

Mr. MacLean walks away, maybe handing out a dead salmon to those that give him shelter or a ride. He carries no insurance, expecting others to clean up after him. He usually fishes alone for days at a time, see below for an idea of how he manages to stay awake for so long by himself.

This is the second boat Mr MacLean has grounded at Point Reyes. His first was near the same spot at Limantour in 2000.

I heard today that he has wrecked 4, maybe 5 boats in his time. I also heard that he has a drug problem. I spent 30 seconds searching the internet and came up with the article seen on the enclosed image.

The other images are from the 12 May, 2012 grounding of the Barbara Faye at Limantour.

You know this man Mr. Grader.

Please do what you can to make sure he can never do this again.

We can find other ways to buy a salmon.

He can find other ways to earn a living.

Our planet cannot endure more of his irresponsible actions.

Clearly, piloting fishing boats is not his forté.

Thank you for your time.

Richard James

Barbara Faye, the second time Duncan crashed a boat by this name on Limantour beach.

300 gallons of fuel that was pumped off the boat at great expense.

56 king salmon being hauled off the beach.

Some more images, these from Friday 31 August, 2012 as volunteers cleanup more from the wake of skipper Duncan MacLean.

And here is a link to many images showing the hard work citizens put in to clean up after Duncan.

Cea Higgins of Sonoma Coast Surfrider