On the Hook: Sport Fishing Boats in California Face Tighter Emissions Standards


All commercial passenger vessels in California will need to equip their boats with a more efficient engine by 2023.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, California – San Diego is a premier destination for boats of all kinds, especially commercial sport fishing.

Tourists from all over the world come to San Diego hoping to catch the big one. It is an industry tightly regulated by various agencies from the Capitol to Sacramento.

California Air Resources Board or “CARB” is an air quality agency that can regulate emission standards for vehicles in California.

Diesel boat engines and exhaust fumes are rated on a level scale of 1 to 4 depending on the amount of emissions they create.

Most engines are now level three, but by 2023 CARB will require all commercial passenger vessels to have a level four engine – the problem?

“But the caveat being level four has never been invented, to our knowledge. For these boats,” said Ken Franke, referring to the Sun Harbor Marina sport fishing boats. “This rule at this point will affect the commercial passenger fishing fleet. Also, the auxiliary dinner, cruise ships, tugs, ferries.”

Ken Franke is the president of the Sportfishing Association of California.

He says the technology to install a level four engine on fishing boats of this size does not exist and that regulations could lead these companies to bankruptcy.

“Their proposal will result in the decommissioning of around 80% of the boats. And it’s scary, ”Franke said. “I have families in this fleet that it is their life, losing their boat, not being able to resell it. A financial disaster is on the horizon for them.”

A CARB representative had not responded to News 8 for this story on Saturday, but on its website it lists the vessels polluting the most in the air and tops the list of commercial fishing vessels and fishing vessels in passengers.

However, commercial vessels are exempt from these rules while passenger fishing vessels must be modernized at a significant cost.

Although the rules won’t come into effect until 2023, Franke and the California sport fishing companies will be closely monitoring any new Sacramento regulations.

“This commercial passenger sport fishing fleet is an economic engine for the region,” said Franke. “It’s a big impact that has very profound effects on a lot of people.”

If you want to read the notes from the last CARB meeting, you can find them here.

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