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Fishermen Complain About Enforcement


State Department of Fish and Game officials agreed Thursday to set up a group workshop in the coming months to hear concerns from area fishermen who are displeased with the agency's oversight.

About 10 fishermen showed up at a meeting of the Ventura County Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday to complain about what they called confusing regulations, aggressive attitudes by patrol officers and excessive vessel boardings.

"There is no need for us to be treated the way they are treating us," said James McClelland. "They are hounding us to death. . . . Every little thing we do is a misdemeanor."

McClelland said none of the fishermen is poaching or fishing illegally, but the oversight agencies treat them as if they are guilty.

Steve Edwards, who fishes crab and fish, said he was pleased with the commission's decision to have an open discussion. "This started the dialogue," he said.

"It shouldn't be that we're adversaries. We should be able to work together."

The Department of Fish and Game, the Coast Guard, Channel Islands Harbor Patrol and area fishermen will participate in the meeting.

For more information, call McClelland at 984-3974.

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