|OUTDOORS ED ZIERALSKI
Angler head about to roll?
By Ed Zieralski
October 26, 2008
Is Tom Raftican's time as president of United Anglers of Southern California coming to an end?
All signs point to that as more developments have emerged regarding Raftican's rapid fall from grace in the sportfishing community.
Raftican has been extremely outspoken and critical of late in magazine columns, berating and attacking the commercial sportfishing industry for what he perceives as its lack of commitment to conservation. Those blasts added diesel fuel to a blaze that already had cost Raftican one of his lieutenants, April Wakeman.
Raftican said in an e-mail sent this month to the UASC board of directors that Wakeman has been shuttled off to focus her energy on “destructive fishing gear and other habitat related issues.” Wakeman will not be involved in any Marine Life Protection Act issues for UASC because her manner was judged “abrasive,” especially at Fish and Game Commission meetings, Raftican's e-mail said.
As for Raftican, he's in boiling hot political water because of his taking that $200,000 grant from the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, the environmentalist-controlled backers of the Marine Life Protection Act process. He also showed no interest in working with the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans, which booted him and UASC out of
the well-connected partnership.
Now there's talk that many of the members on the UASC board of directors are not at all pleased with Raftican's sudden shift against commercial sportfishing. There's also some deep underlying concern in the sportfishing community about UASC finances and its nonprofit charters.
UASC's board of directors will meet with Raftican tomorrow night and “do whatever it takes,” one source said, to stop the infighting and put an end to Raftican's disruptive behavior. Raftican could be asked to step down as a way to save the organization and preserve its shaky role in the sportfishing community. It appears to be UASC's only option.
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