Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008 | If a tourist went to the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau website searching for sport fishing, they would find descriptions of a “sport fishing paradise, an ever-growing fleet equipped with state-of-the-art gear and staffed by expert crew,trips lasting from half-day to multi-day excursions.” They list fishing trips and special events for fishing enthusiasts “trying to reel in the ‘big one’ off San Diego’s coast.”

Apparently no one’s informed them that most of those fishing trips they list might not be available much longer if the Mission Bay Hyatt has its way. Yesterday, the owners and operators of the San Diego Sport Fishing Fleet at the Mission Bay marina were all served with 30-day eviction notices. Apparently, the new operators of the Hyatt don’t want any part of that sport fishing “paradise in “their” marina. Somehow I don’t think getting evicted from the Mission Bay marina is compatible with the city of San Diego’s general plan.

Our fishing resources are very respected by fishermen all over the United States and the world. Many of our retired citizens moved here in the first place because they loved to fish. This industry provides wholesome recreation for local families and is an important part of the lives of many inhabitants of San Diego County.

In terms of jobs provided, both in running and servicing the boats, many thousands of people are involved. The bad news is that neither the City of San Diego nor their Hotel cronies seem to have any perception of the value of this resource or their responsibility to encourage it. So once again the little guy gets shafted by local development interests.

What else is new in America’s Finest City? It does seem shameful that some of our coastline can’t be salvaged for the fishing industry, for the beachgoer who can’t afford a luxury hotel, or the folks who like to sit on the shore and just sunbathe. Our coastline is already mostly marinas, bars, artsy boutiques, and hotels. Soon we’ll have to drive miles to even get a glimpse of the water.

I have both a personal and vested interest in this industry. My entire family used to be in the tuna fishing industry until the city let it die. Now, a new generation of fisherman has emerged from our family. You can be sure of one thing; this time around we will not just sit back and let this industry die from empty promises and useless plans. The sport fishing industry in San Diego is well known and respected throughout this country and it is about time for the city to treat it as such.

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