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Deeper into marine reserves

March 25, 2009

Re "No-fishing plan spawns debate," March 20

I hope everyone read the last sentence of The Times' article on marine reserves in Southern California.

Bill Bushing, a marine ecologist, said that "it's not reserves that will ruin local economies, it's overfishing."

The mere thought of empty oceans should be enough to terrify us into establishing marine reserves. Our expansive and consumptive ways have driven many species into extinction. With some fish populations down by as much as 95% in recent years, marine-life extinction is distinctly possible.

Shawn Kirchner

La Verne

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Contrary to perceptions of exploitation, "wetfish" resources -- including sardine, anchovy and market squid -- support sustainable fisheries, all strictly regulated under state and federal laws.

California's wetfish industry supports science-based conservation efforts and has developed a partnership with federal and state scientists to advance squid and wetfish research and management.

Failing to consider fishery management before proposing to close more prime fishing grounds will inflict unnecessary economic hardship on California's historic, family-owned fishing businesses as well as harbor communities such as San Pedro. Wetfish resources have been the backbone of California's fishing economy for more than a century.

Excessive closures will jeopardize thousands of jobs, delivering negligible environmental benefit.

Diane

Pleschner-Steele

Buellton, Calif.

The writer is executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Assn.

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