Some years ago, I drove my boat back to Rocky Point from 20 miles out to sea. A few diners waved from Flavio’s as I passed, and I gave them a salute from my well-worn yacht cap. The gold braid had seen better days, but I don’t know if I had. The fish were biting on everything from shoestrings to bottle caps, and I had a ball. On dry land again, Doris Welsh from Bisbee introduced herself. She was watching me flush my fiberglass with fresh water and asked me…
DORIS: Are the fish here endangered?
CAP’N GREG: Not when I’m in the boat.
DORIS: No, I mean are there certain species in danger?
CAP’N GREG: Yes and no. The Gulf of California has been fished for probably two thousand years. Maybe longer. Before high tech fish finders and reliable boat engines, some species that lived close to shore were overfished 60 or 70 years ago and pretty much disappeared. Sure, there are some that could be considered rare, and those are protected by law. But there are lots of other fish not on the list.
DORIS: Like what?
CAP’N GREG: At last count, there were 450 trillion rock bass, and that’s just between here and Bird Island. They are so easy to catch they’re called knuckleheads.
DORIS: What else?
CAP’N GREG: Triggerfish can be found on nearly every rock and reef, and are a hoot to hook on light tackle. When the corvina—that’s sea trout—are running into the shallows by the tens of millions, nobody can possibly catch them all.
DORIS: What do people fish for on the big charter boats?
CAP’N GREG: It all depends on the season and how far out they go. They fish deep for things like grouper or sea bass, and troll the surface for sailfish, marlin and dorado.
DORIS: Dorado?What’s that?
CAP’N GREG: It’s called a mahi-mahi in Hawaii, but it’s really a common dolphinfish. No relation to dolphins which are mammals, by the way, not fish. When I’m done here can I treat you to a fish taco?
DORIS: No thanks, Cap’n Greg. I’m a vegan.
CAP’N GREG: The bare feet, grass skirt and split-coconut bra should have tipped me off. How about a piña colada instead?
DORIS: Are these piña coladas an endangered species?
CAP’N GREG: They will be when we get through with them, Doris.