Santa Barbara installs new fishing signs on Stearns Wharf

SANTA BARBARA — Fish wading around Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara will have more aquatic real estate to cover without seeing a fishing line as city and harbor officials installed new signs informing anglers where they can and cannot use a pole.

The city of Santa Barbara installed 30 new “No Fishing” signs on Stearns Wharf, carrying through on a decision made by the Harbor Commission and City Council to better manage angling activity on the pier, according to a Waterfront Department report to harbor commissioners on March 17.

Four new “Designated Fishing Area” signs were also installed on the pier, specifically instructing anglers where on Stearns Wharf they are allowed to drop a line. The signs read, “Designated Fishing Area – Good Luck.”

About 50 stenciled “No Fishing” signs were removed from the pier, according to Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman. The old signs were “bunched too close together” and replaced with “more visible and attractive” new signs, according to Harbor Commission staff

The city also installed new “No Diving” signs adjacent to the wharf ladders.

“Maintenance staff has done a yeoman’s job installing 30 new ‘No Fishing’ signs on the wharf, complete with municipal code reference,” Kronman said.

Kronman added the new “No Fishing” signs are well placed and very visible.

“They’re higher, they’re not stenciled on the boards. They’re on the upper railing, very clear, well placed, very visible,” Kronman told commissioners about the new signage.

The Designated Fishing Area signs on the seaward and shoreward fingers complement the “No Fishing” signs, Kronman added.

“It’s a welcome, friendly invitation to go fishing where the designated areas are,” he said, adding the signs can be moved for fishing derbies or other special events.

The new signs, according to Harbor Commission staff, show anglers “where fishing is not only allowed, but encouraged.”

“Staff believes these upgrades will clarify where and where not to fish on the Wharf and make existing laws enforceable while enhancing the Wharf’s appearance,” Harbor Commission staff stated in a report to commissioners.

Small Business Administration visits harbor

Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently visited Santa Barbara Harbor to review how the Dungeness and rock crab closure affected local fishermen and help them apply for a federal loan to recover from the loss of business, Kronman told commissioners at the March 17 meeting.

Harbor Commission staff stated 15 fisherman discussed the loan program with SBA representatives; five of those 15 reportedly filled out an application.

The SBA visit to Santa Barbara Harbor preceded the introduction of a bill, H.R. 4711, in Washington, D.C. to provide emergency disaster assistance for the local Dungeness and rock crab industry.

H.R. 4711 was introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco) in early March and, if approved, would appropriate more than $138 million to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

“The [Pacific States Marine Fisheries] Commission shall distribute such amount among fishing communities, Indian tribes, small businesses, including fishermen, fish processors, and related businesses, individuals, and other entities, for assistance for the economic and social effects of the commercial fishery failure in the Dungeness crab fishery or rock crab fishery … or the fishery resource disaster … to mitigate the economic losses to such communities, tribes, businesses, individuals or other entities caused by closures or other restrictions on the harvesting of Dungeness crab or rock crab,” the proposed bill reads.

Speier also proposed to allocate $1 million for West Coast domoic acid monitoring and $5 million in competitive grant funding for projects aiming “to predict the occurrence of harmful algal blooms in the offshore waters of California” and “evaluate the toxicity of domoic acid bioaccumulation and transmission to humans through the food supply.”

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Appropriations on March 3.

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