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Just for the halibut

This past weekend, March 27-28, we enjoyed the hundreds of fishing boats that were dotting the Malibu waters and horizon lines. Yet it was this morning, [March 29], when those who were expecting to enjoy a stroll along the beach were confronted with the aftermath of what such a fishing weekend leaves behind. The beach was strewn with an unbearable amount of trash and debris that washed in from the weekend’s festivities.

In a world that I thought was starting to become ecologically conscious, this weekend sadly informed me otherwise. What happened to the simple, common law of environmental recreation . . . if you pack it in, pack it out? Does this not apply for sport fisherman? I know that the few can spoil it for the many, and with the Halibut Tourney this is certainly the case. Not every sportsman is without conscience or morality, nor does every sportfisherman/boating enthusiast ignore or deface the beauty and splendor in which they are playing, but there sure were a competent amount of the careless idiots out this past weekend.

It is one thing to clean up from natural environmental activity, i.e. rain, floods, mudslides etc. which we did this past week from the rains. But to think that an industry so dependent on the good waters would have members that would treat it so incredibly recklessly. I’d wager that next year’s winning fish is slightly smaller than this year’s . . . several years from now we might expect the trophy winners to be about the size of the coffee cups that they tossed in this year’s tournament. How long does environmental devastation continue before we wake up and start taking responsibility for our actions? Hopefully it’s before our fine fishing friends don’t have a fish to catch.

This year’s event was sponsored by the Marina del Ray Anglers, and carried a grand prize of a $26,000 Ford Truck donated by Burch Ford of La Habra for a fisherman landing the heaviest Halibut over 43 lbs. In next year’s Halibut Derby, how difficult would it be to hand out a trash bag with every boat entry, and not judge any fish without first policing the boat’s trash bag? This year, that responsibility has fallen on the homeowners and renters of the beach community that didn’t even sponsor the derby.

Proceeds from the derby went to two projects — the Greater Los Angeles Youth Fishing Program, which helps provide ocean fishing trips for underprivileged, at-risk children; and the Ocean Resources Enhancement Program, which maintains and operates two white sea bass grow-out pens in Marina del Rey.

With such fine beneficiaries, wouldn’t it be great to teach these same children how to responsibly care for the environment that they are inheriting?

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Curtis Augspurger

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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