By Ed Zieralski, U~T San Diego
POINT LOMA — Ken Franke couldn’t explain it, but inexplicably, just as quick as Mexico closed its waters to bluefin fishing, it reopened them Sunday to recreational fishing.
Franke, who is president of the Sportfishing Association of California (SAC), said he received verbal permission from Mexico City to tell his sport boats to start hooking and keeping bluefin. Back in mid-July, Mexico, for no apparent reason, shut down bluefin fishing for both commercial and recreational fishing. Suspect environmental groups, using the usual junk science, had been rattling their alarmist calls that the Pacific bluefin population was down to 4 percent of its virgin stock. Franke has questioned the science. He offered solutions and that must have been enough for Mexico.
“The word is out on the boats right now after I received verbal permission, and I expect to get a written approval (Monday) from Mexico to allow us to start fishing for bluefin tuna again,” Franke said. “Our guys have been putting out the word because they want all those who cancelled their trips because of the bluefin closure to come back and fish.”
Franke said he plans to challenge the environmental stance that bluefin is an overfished species.
“Our captains are seeing big schools of small bluefin and big schools of big bluefin, which indicates a healthy fishery,” Franke said. “We need more science. Whether we need to use aircraft, observers on our boats, crewmen with weighing and measuring devices to help record our catches, whatever it takes to give them better science.”