The Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) led by Ken Franke, President since 2009, with Board approval expanded SAC’s efforts to encourage ongoing communication and cooperation between the local governmental officials in selected cities in Baja and Mainland Mexico and their sportfishing leaders.
SAC TEAM MEMBERS and local business and agency officials fielded many questions from callers on security, sport fishing, yachting and tourism while visiting Cabo San Lucas and Mexico.
SAC’s timing was ideal as in 2014 the Mexican Government began implementing a number of policy changes regarding angler access, licensing and bag limits.
In order to increase understanding and dialogue between the two countries, Franke scheduled a successful round of visits to Los Cabos, Ensenada and Mazatlán, Mexico as well as Mexico City in 2015.
They used the popular “Let’s Talk Hook-up” radio show, hosted by Pete Gray and Rick Maxa, as the catalyst for the visits and invited representatives from SAC, the San Diego Port District as well as San Diego Port Tenants Association to join with the local government, businesses and civic groups.
Franke, his staff and team, elected to continue the program in 2016 encouraging the local government, businesses, civic groups and individuals from each of the seaside port communities to attend in order that they could exchange ideas and assist them in promoting their respective businesses in San Diego and beyond.
During the visits each ports security measures were reviewed with the local port authorities to ensure the safety of the visiting cruise ships and private boats visiting from San Diego and beyond. Regulation changes pertaining to the tourist and boating community were carefully reviewed as well. A question and answer period was allowed for call-ins who might have questions that needed clarifying.
Last week, Franke led a team which included Kenia Zamarripa, Director of Marketing and International Affairs of San Diego, along with Pete Gray and his sound engineer, Rick Cutler, Hookup 1090 Radio Show; also attending was Dan Malcolm, Board of Port Commissioners; Bella Heule, Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer Port of San Diego and Sharon Bernie-Cloward, President of the San Diego Port Tenants Association. They were later joined by Captain Tim Ekstrom, owner of the sportfishing vessel Royal Star and vice president of SAC.
This was a whirlwind trip, departing Thursday and returning on Saturday afternoon.
Hector Montano, Port Director, Cabo San Lucas Marina, conducted a tour of the marina’s facilities on Friday morning and explained the amenities they had to offer their visitors. He was assisted by his Port Security Officer, Fernando Hoyos Romero.
Later that afternoon, Jorge Tellez, Solmar Fleet and Enrique Fernandez del Castillo, Harbor Master at Puerto Los Cabos, hosted a special sushi lunch at Tellez’ fabulous "Fisherman's Restaurant” on the Malecón, during which the locals and the SAC team compared notes in preparation for the radio show early Saturday morning.
When Gray and Cutler arrived the following morning to set up for the show, the Royal Star was already anchored in the outer harbor in front of the Puebla Bonita Blanco. Captain Tim Ekstrom, along with a crew member and Rick Maxa, trudged up the sandy beach after being delivered by a local panga.
SAC team members and local business and agency officials fielded many questions from callers on security, sport fishing, yachting and tourism while visiting Cabo San Lucas and Mexico. The two-hour program flew by.
A real shock to many anglers interested in the Baja region was the announcement on December 6th that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has established the Pacific Islands Biosphere Reserve -- a new 1.16 million hectare biosphere reserve -- off the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula in the Pacific Ocean. Different stories speculating on what it would mean to recreational anglers and sportfishing boats began circulating the next day with more opinion and few facts.
Fortunately, one of the panel members was CONANP Baja C South Representative Maria Josue Navarro, representing CONANP National Commissioner Alejandro del Mazo.
Navarro explained that after an 11-year, multi-stakeholder consultation and negotiation process, this newly created biosphere reserve represents a major effort to protect Mexico’s islands; Zamarripa translated.
Navarro continued. CONANP staff has been assigned one year to draft the management plan for the region for review. She forecasted that the agency hoped to have the first draft available in 8 months, at which time interested parties would have the opportunity to review, comment and submit recommendations.
The plan would address . . . bag limits, fishing methods, designated seasons and areas for fishing.
There will be three new CONANP offices established in Ensenada, Guerrero Negro and La Paz to monitor the program, she noted.
She suggested that the program would be similar to the wrist band method being used in protected areas like Loreto. However, there would also be a passport that could be purchased annually allowing access to the Biosphere areas similar to the ones currently available online.
She stressed the importance of not jumping to any conclusions until all the details were determined. Meanwhile, there is no impact on the areas included until all of the details can be decided.
Franke added at the conclusion of Navarro’s comments, “We sincerely appreciate you agreeing to appear on the show on such short notice; your information was very helpful and there is nothing like fact to ruin a good rumor!
The two-hour show offered a variety of important information on the different subjects and is available online for those interested in hearing the entire show.
The show online links are: