News and Events


Marine Management News

The electronic version of the 2007 California Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet is now available on the Marine Region's web site at:

This bookmarked PDF file features bolded, italicized bookmark headings which denote sections that have changed or are new for 2007.

The booklet will be printed and distributed in February 2007.

Please note:

* New groundfish regulations are in effect as of January 19, 2007. This includes regulations pertaining to all species listed in Section 1.91 Federal Groundfish and Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG Complex).

* All other regulation changes for 2007 are expected to become effective on March 1, 2007 after filing by the Office of Administrative Law.

Check the Marine Region web site often for any fishing regulation changes.

Additional sources of ocean sport fishing regulations information:

Recreational Ocean Salmon Hotline:
(707) 576-3429

Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline:
(831) 649-2801

California Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations Map:

Summary of 2007 Ocean Salmon Regulations:

Summary of 2007 Recreational Bottomfishing Regulations:


Tire reef off Florida proves a disaster

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A mile offshore from this city's high-rise condos and spring-break bars lie as many as 2 million old tires, strewn across the ocean floor — a white-walled, steel-belted monument to good intentions gone awry.

The tires were unloaded there in 1972 to create an artificial reef that could attract a rich variety of marine life, and to free up space in clogged landfills. But decades later, the idea has proved a huge ecological blunder.

Little sea life has formed on the tires. Some of the tires that were bundled together with nylon and steel have broken loose and are scouring the ocean floor across a swath the size of 31 football fields. Tires are washing up on beaches. Thousands have wedged up against a nearby natural reef, blocking coral growth and devastating marine life.

"The really good idea was to provide habitat for marine critters so we could double or triple marine life in the area. It just didn't work that way," said Ray McAllister, a professor of ocean engineering at Florida Atlantic University who was instrumental in organizing the project. "I look back now and see it was a bad idea."

In fact, similar problems have been reported at tire reefs worldwide.

"They're a constantly killing coral-destruction machine," said William Nuckols, coordinator for Coastal America, a federal group involved in organizing a cleanup effort that includes Broward County biologists, state scientists and Army and Navy salvage divers.

Gov. Charlie Crist's proposed budget includes $2 million to help gather up and remove the tires. The military divers would do their share of the work at no cost to the state by making it part of their training.

A monthlong pilot project is set for June. The full-scale salvage operation is expected to run through 2010 at a cost to the state of about $3.4 million.

McAllister helped put together the ill-fated reef project with the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He helped raise several thousand dollars (the county also chipped in), organized hundreds of volunteers with boats and barges, and got tires from Goodyear.

Goodyear also donated equipment to bind and compress the tires, and the Goodyear blimp even dropped a gold-painted tire into the ocean in a ceremonial start to the project.

The tire company issued a press release at the time that proclaimed the reef would "provide a haven for fish and other aquatic species," and noted the "excellent properties of scrap tires as reef material."

It was a disappointment, just like other tire reefs created off coastal states and around the world in recent decades.

"We've literally dumped millions of tires in our oceans," said Jack Sobel, an Ocean Conservancy scientist. "I believe that people who were behind the artificial tire reef promotions actually were well-intentioned and thought they were doing the right thing. In hindsight, we now realize that we made a mistake."

Too light to work?
No one can say with certainty why the idea doesn't work, but one problem is that, unlike large ships that have been sunk for reefs, tires are too light. They can be swept away by the tides and powerful storms before marine life has a chance to attach. Some scientists also believe the rubber leaches toxins.

Virginia tried it several decades ago. But Hurricane Bonnie in 1998 ripped the tires loose, and they washed up in North Carolina.

New Jersey scientists thought they had a solution to the weight problem. In 1986, the state began a small reef project with about 1,000 tires split in half, bound together and weighted with concrete. It didn't work. Pieces of rubber broke loose and floated free.

"We had to go up and down the coast of New Jersey and collect 50 to 100 of those pieces that were all along the beaches," said Hugh Carberry of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection.

The state then tried stacking tires 10-high and filling the cylindrical center with concrete. Each stack weighed about a ton. While the tires stayed in place, scientists soon learned they did not have enough surface area for marine life to attach, so they switched to using concrete balls.

South Asia mess
Indonesia and Malaysia mounted enormous tire reef programs back in the 1980s and are just now seeing the consequences in littered beaches and reef damage, Sobel said.

Most states have stopped using tires to create reefs, but they continue to wash up worldwide. In 2005, volunteers for the Ocean Conservancy's annual international coastal cleanup removed more than 11,000 tires.

The tires retrieved from the waters off Fort Lauderdale will be ground up for use in road projects and burned for fuel, among other uses.

"It's going to be a huge job bringing them all up," said Michael Sole, chief of the state Department of Environmental Protection. "It's vigorous work. You have to dig the tires out of the sand."


Wave-piercing, biodiesel boat hits high seas out to set round-the-world

World Record

SEATTLE — Some guys enter mid-life on a Harley. Peter Bethune is doing it on a $2.5 million boat that he hopes will smash the record for fastest powerboat trip around the world.

But for all the muscle embodied by his boat, Bethune's biggest passion is what fuels the machine: biodiesel, a cleaner alternative to diesel that can be made from soybeans, used vegetable oil and even animal fat.

The New Zealand native and former oil industry engineer doesn't have any qualms about using his 540-horsepower craft to tout cleaner energy. It's all about visibility, he says, and the boat certainly has that. It measures 78 feet long and has a needlenose bow and curved pontoons that make it look more like a Star Wars prop than a powerboat. But the design isn't for show: The pointed bow allows the craft to pierce waves instead bobbing over them and a travel at a more constant speed than regular powerboats, saving time and energy.

Bethune is showing off the boat on a six-month tour of North American ports. His message is it's easy to be environmentally friendly, even in the ostentatious world of powerboating.

"I don't want to encourage conspicuous consumption," he says of huge powerboats. "I'm keen to see the boating industry become a lot greener. But we're not anti-fun and you don't have to become a hermit" and shun life's pleasures to protect the environment, he says.

Biodiesel benefits:
Ethanol fuel, which is typically made from corn or sugar, has gotten most of the renewable energy spotlight in recent months because it can run in gasoline engines.

But Bethune, 41, wants to show that biodiesel is a good match for boats, which often have diesel engines.

While emissions of smog-forming nitrogen oxide can be slightly higher with biodiesel than with diesel, emissions of particulate matter, a possible carcinogen, and carbon dioxide, a gas many scientists tie to global warming, are greatly reduced.

Biodiesel also smells better. "Certainly more palatable than diesel," Bethune says of the exhaust from his boat's two huge engines. Most of the time.

Some biodiesel is made from animal fat, producing what the crew describes as a rank slaughterhouse smell. But most is made from soybeans, for a smell the sailors liken to "fish and chips with a bit of diesel."

Bethune runs 100 percent biodiesel in the engines, but advises other boaters to use a blend of up to 25 percent so they don't run into problems from poorly filtered biodiesel that could gunk up engines. That's the same advice often given to owners of diesel cars. Boaters should also be warned that manufacturers are reluctant to warranty their engines if more than 5 percent biodiesel is used, although that is changing as biodiesel gains acceptance.

The team hopes to set off in March from Barbados, in the Caribbean, for the round-the-world record attempt.

Designed by the Craig Loomes Yacht Design Group and built by Calibre Boats, two New Zealand companies, the powerboat holds 2,500 gallons of fuel, allowing for long stretches between refueling. The round-the-world powerboat record, set in 1998, is 75 days. Bethune predicts beating that by 10 to 15 days, "if nothing goes wrong, and there's a lot that can go wrong."

The journey from New Zealand proved that when the boat struck a small log, damaging the hull. Had it been a bit bigger it could have sunk the boat, Bethune says. Even more dangerous could be the thousands of containers that litter the seas — cargo lost by ships that bob just a few inches above the water line.

Adventure but no glamour:
Then there are the living conditions. Only the pilot and copilot get seats, and the bunks are crammed in the forward part of the boat. The kitchen is a toaster and a microwave. There's a toilet, when it works, which wasn't the case in Seattle, but no shower.

Living conditions will be even more difficult during the round-the-world voyage. Bethune figures he and his crewmembers will have to stay locked inside the craft a third of the time as it pierces waves in rougher seas. The engines reach 85 decibels, about as loud as a garbage disposal, making it next to impossible to hear anything else.

When not piloting, crewmembers either sit or lie down on the bunks where they can work on e-mail, read and sleep. Or they can stand in the 5-foot-long kitchen galley.

"Mentally, it will be tough keeping the crew motivated when it's hot and sweaty (inside)," Bethune says.

Physically, there's "the brutality of punishing your body" during long ocean sprints at 20 or 25 knots an hour, Bethune says. It's actually not bad when the boat, which is designed to submerge up to 25 feet at a time, pierces a wave. The boat shudders a bit but the hull takes most of the impact.

What takes a toll on the crew is the constant physical jostling they endure when the waves aren't big enough to go under and the boat has to punch a wave, dip into the bottom of the swell and then bounce off the next wave — over and over again.

But Bethune is in his element powering across the high seas. "I don't regret anything," he says. "I get to work on something I'm passionate about."

Upcoming tour stops, as well as background on the Earthrace boat, are online at


Dive the Sardine Run for a Truly Unique Scuba Experience

One of the greatest underwater spectacles on the planet, the annual sardine migration takes place off the east coast of South Africa. Millions of sardines follow the cold winter currents moving north toward the warm Indian Ocean.

Their presence brings an amazing number of hungry predators such as an estimated 20,000 Common Dolphin, 5,000 Bottlenose Dolphin, thousands of gannets, thousands of sharks, hundreds of seals, orca whales, Bryde's Whales and more.

It is a once in a lifetime diving adventure...

The run usually starts toward the end of May and can extend into late July, though the movements of the shoals are virtually impossible to forecast. This year the shoal is expected to run in June.

A number of scuba centers offer Sardine Run expeditions. The Sardine Run is restricted to advanced divers only. Overall this is a strenuous dive and there are only limited health care facilities available. Divers will encounter big sharks, no bottom diving, deep blue type diving, dirty water, multiple ascents and strenuous boat trips. The trip is strictly for the dedicated diver/underwater photographer.


The activity is usually is far from shore and in deep waters. Dives are mostly at mid-water because the sea floor lies too deep for recreational divers. To learn more, visit: Incredible Adventures

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