I wish to express my concern about the habitat at Pilar Point Harbor and Mavericks Beach here on the coast near Half Moon Bay.
In recent months, particularly on weekends at low tide, there have been excessively large numbers of visitors bringing multiple buckets to collect living creatures from the exposed reefs. The creatures collected include sea urchins, mussels, anemones and eels among others. Some visitors state they have a license; some admit they don’t. One individual, when asked what he was hoping to collect, said “mussels.” When it was pointed out to him that mussels were currently under quarantine, he then said that he would collect anything that he could eat, completely unaware of the mussel quarantine conditions. A month ago, one individual had two large buckets full of sea snails. Lately, there seems to be a particular trend to rake in sea urchins in large numbers.
In the years that I have been enjoying visiting the beach there, I have noticed dwindling numbers of sea anemones, sea stars, sea urchins, sea snails and mussels. In fact, the reefs appear barren. Even birds do not frequent the reefs in large numbers; perhaps their food sources are scarce.
I would ask that some kind of enforcement or monitoring of this “harvesting” and pillaging be implemented in order to maintain a natural balance. Perhaps education and enjoyment, not exploitation, of the area needs to be emphasized, as successfully accomplished at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. To this end, I will write to the San Mateo County Harbor District, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Perhaps others reading this will express their concerns also.
— Sherry Kritzer, Moss Beach