Boats checked for safety, fishing compliance over the weekend

Over the weekend, state and federal officials conducted fisheries and recreational safety boardings near Morro Bay and Port San Luis.

The agencies participating in the enforcement effort were the Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and state law enforcement agencies.

The boardings were a mix of recreational boating safety and fisheries boardings to coincide with near-shore rockfish season, a state fishery that opened on May 1, and salmon, which is a federally regulated fishery, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

“Some boaters have had their vessels sitting under tarps for months; they're so excited about fishing season that they often forget to check their safety gear,” said Ensign Brandon Earhart of the Coast Guard’s 11th District.

The goal of the operations was to not only keep boaters safe, but to help maintain a delicate balance in the marine ecosystem, said Coast Guard Lt. Cody Dunagan, a living marine resources officer with the Coast Guard’s 11th District in Alameda.

“There’s a certain amount of effort that can go into fishing for a specific species, based on a number of factors, and still allow the species to continue to recycle itself,” said Dunagan.