State regulations oppose sinking of sport fishing boats in California


“The sport fishing industry is committed to reducing engine emissions, but the Newsom administration has proposed port regulations that disproportionately impact family operations by requiring engine technology that does not. not yet developed or, in other cases, proven to be safe at sea, “said Ken franke, president of the Sport Fishing Association of California. “The consequences of forcing boat owners to replace their vessels or rebuild boat hulls as early as 2023 are extraordinarily unrealistic and prohibitively expensive. As charter boat owners go bankrupt, millions of Californians and tourists alike will be denied access to deep-sea fishing and at best the opportunity to view marine life up close. “

In december 2020, a report from Cal Maritime, commissioned by CARB, concluded that cleaner-burning Tier Four engines do not exist for marine applications. In addition, the additional mass and weight of engine replacements / modifications and additional emission control devices would have a significant impact on vessel stability requiring a reduction in the number of passengers of up to 42%. While CARB has granted additional time to similar vessel categories for the technology to be available and continue to have access to state grant funds, CARB will require sport fishing and whale watching boats to rebuild their hulls and install new engines and modifications with additional particulate filters from January 2023 or completely replace their vessels, making them ineligible for air quality subsidies.

Regulatory costs are so great that some boat owners will be forced to double the price of passenger tickets, making offshore fishing and whale watching trips prohibitive for most families.

“These regulations treat sport fishing vessels unfairly and will sink businesses and coastal economies dependent on outdoor tourism for jobs and tax revenues,” said Jerry sanders, president of the San Diego Area Chamber of Commerce. “There has to be a more flexible and economically feasible solution that protects air quality without bankrupting Californians.”

Due to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, half of California 1.2 million jobs in tourism and hospitality were lost and visitor spending in San Diego decreased during $ 6 billion, reducing 20 years of economic gain (2019-20). On June 14, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a statewide plan to restore 300,000 jobs in tourism and hospitality within 12 months.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on tourism and the sport fishing industry,” said Rick’s powers, owner of Bodega Bay Sportfishing and president of the Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association. Fortunately, most sport fishing boat companies survived the pandemic, but the timing of these regulations couldn’t be worse for them. If the governor is serious about rebuilding the state’s tourism economy, protecting the sport fishing should be part of its economic recovery plan. “

Regulations mark the end of sport fishing boats

The sport fishing association of California surveyed members who concluded that if the regulations are passed, within 3 to 6 years many boat owners will go out of business. They cannot afford modifications or buy new boats when the hulls cannot be structurally modified economically or safely. Financing a new boat with new engines becomes impossible when the non-compliant boats have little or no resale value.

Unresolved security issues

CARB will require boat engines to be fitted with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs), which have not been extensively tested at sea. It is common for DPFs used on agricultural equipment and trucks to experience blockage, creating significant heat and back pressure on the engines, sometimes taking hours to clean the exhaust systems and restart the engines. To prevent an exhaust system from clogging, DPFs must operate at high rotations per minute (RPMs), causing problems for fishing boats that troll at lower RPMs.

Stuck exhaust systems may be manageable on land, but not at sea. At best, passengers could drift at sea for hours while crews attempt to recover the system. The most likely scenario will involve rescues at sea due to engine failure.

“Boat captains are concerned that at the best of times, passengers could drift at sea for hours as crews attempt to clean out blocked exhaust systems and, most likely, rescues at sea would become a common occurrence when the engines cannot be restarted, ”he added. Franke said. “No captain wants a boat full of passengers drifting aimlessly at sea.”

Fisherman’s petition calls on Governor Newsom to save fishing, protect jobs

In response to the proposed regulations, the sport fishing community has launched a petition that has so far collected over 5,000 signatures online, calling on Governor Newsom to “save sport fishing”.

California is one of America’s premier fishing destinations with over half a million

people per year fishing from sport fishing boats, supporting coastal communities, marinas and small businesses dependent on outdoor tourism for economic activity, jobs and tax revenue. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, California 2,038,000 million licensed fishermen have contributed $ 5.6 billion one year of economic activity and supported nearly 40,000 jobs.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation reports that in 2020, fishing participation rates peaked in 12 years, with growth among non-traditional participants who are younger, more urban and more diverse with significant gains among women, African Americans and Hispanics.


The sport fishing association of California (SAC) is a professional organization representing Southern california owners of sport fishing and whale watching and landing boats. The Golden State Fishermen’s Association represents commercial passenger fishing vessels and recreational offshore fishermen in Northern California.

Interviews can be arranged with boat owners in most coastal communities. For those interested in joining the petition and coalition, or for more information, visit

Contact: Marko Mlikotin, River City Communications
[email protected] or 916.817.4444

SOURCE Sport Fishing Association of California

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