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Vote on air quality regulations for boats delayed to next year

Captain Joe Cacciola walks next to his sport fishing boat, the Sea Star, in Oceanside. July 30, 2021.
Tania Thorne
Captain Joe Cacciola walks next to his sport fishing boat, the Sea Star, in Oceanside. July 30, 2021.

A vote on air quality regulations for sport fishing boats was expected during a California Air Resources Board meeting on Friday, but the decision was postponed to the spring.

The board wants boat owners to upgrade to newer, less polluting engines. But older sportfishing boats can’t accommodate those engines.

RELATED: Air Quality Regulations Could Bring Major Changes To Sport Fishing Industry

Sport fishing boat owners say the regulations could put many boats out of business.

“Our obvious ask is, let’s come up with a path that people can comply with, that is logical and reasonable,” said Ken Franke, the president of the Sportfishing Association of California.

Franke and other boat owners have been advocating for a compromise.

He said there are only a couple hundred sportfishing boats statewide and there won’t be a drastic impact on air quality if the regulations are passed.

But Bill MaGavern with the Coalition for Clean Air said the regulations will make a difference.

“What's really striking is that the pollution from one sportfishing boat can equal the pollution from 162 diesel school buses,” he said.

MaGavern said no industry likes to be regulated, but the primary goals are public health and reaching zero emissions.

“The problem is all the polluters need to clean up in order for us to solve this severe pollution problem we have,” he said.

But Franke fears that if the regulations are passed, mom and pop shops will close, tour prices will double, and ocean access will become a luxury.

“The folks who go out on these boats, a lot of them don't have a lot of money. They're not rich or own their own boats, this is the only way that they get to take their kids fishing on a half day boat,” Franke said. “We go raise those prices by double, that ends their access to the ocean and that is wrong.”

The California Air Resources Board will take public comments into consideration and may revise the regulations before making its decision.

Vote on air quality regulations for boats delayed to next year