Many sport fishing boats operate from Oceanside Harbor. Photo courtesy of the City of Oceanside.
The California sport fishing industry said Monday that “technically impractical” government pollution regulations coming into effect in 2023 could put many boat owners out of business.
“The recreational fishing industry is keen to reduce engine emissions, but the Newsom government has proposed regulations on port craft that disproportionately affect family operations by requiring engine technologies that have not yet been developed or otherwise proven to be safe at sea have, ”said Ken Franke. President of the Sportfishing Association of California.
He said the California Air Resources Board will require that boat engines be fitted with expensive diesel particulate filters that are used in agricultural equipment and trucks. The filters can create a strong back pressure in engines, which can then take hours to restart.
“Boat captains fear that, in the best case scenario, passengers could drift at sea for hours while boat crews try to clear clogged exhaust systems,” said Franke. “No captain wants a boat full of passengers drifting aimlessly at sea.”
The Sport Fishing Association said the potential cost of new engines and boats is so high that boat owners who stay in business will have to double the price of tickets, making offshore fishing and whale watching tours unaffordable.
“These regulations treat recreational fishing boats unfairly and will sink businesses and coastal economies that depend on outdoor tourism for jobs and tax revenue,” said Jerry Sanders, president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “There has to be a more flexible and economical solution that protects air quality without putting the Californians out of business.”
California is one of America’s top fishing destinations, with over half a million people going out on sport fishing boats each year supporting coastal communities, marinas, and small businesses.