CA Fish & Wildlife Phasing Out Reg Booklets / language

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#1
For just about as long as I can remember (some) anglers have broken fishing regulations in California. For just as long, one of the main groups receiving criticism has been ethnic anglers fishing on the piers, many who do not speak English. Other anglers see the broken rules and shake their heads. Some may have a degree of sympathy for them but many more simply feel they understand the rules but use their limited English to actually avoid the rules (which is sometimes true). Game Wardens don't care, if they are breaking the rules they (generally) get a ticket. The truth as far as language and understanding the rules probably is somewhere in the middle; some do and some do not understand the rules. As said, it's been the case for years and doesn't seem to get any better.

Recently the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife announced that in an effort to go paperless, they are beginning a phase out of the paper regulation booklets that are given to Bait and Tackle stores. It seems to me that this may make things worse for those who truly do not understand the rules. There's a language problem reading the reglation booklet and now possibly a problem for those who do not have access to the Internet.

The CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife has a beautiful Internet site but it's all in English. Why not now, while this paperless switch is being made, include the regulations in additional languages, i.e., Spanish? The current site says, "It is your responsibility to know and follow the law when participating in these activities." Why not make it easier for non-English speaking people to know the rules? We don't seem to have any problem printing voting ballots in many, many different languages.
 
#2
I agree with making it in more languages and to make it in simple format. When reading it myself, some of the rules are confusing, so imagine the limited english others have tring to read the rules.
 

SC McCarty

Well-known member
#3
I agree with making it in more languages and to make it in simple format. When reading it myself, some of the rules are confusing, so imagine the limited english others have tring to read the rules.
There are a lot of ways they could make the books simpler, especially since they are going to an online only format:
  • Lose a lot of the redundancy: They have tables for groundfish regulations, then, for each of the groundfish species entries they refer the reader to the regulations for each of groundfish management areas. It would be simpler to just refer to the table, or put the regulations directly in the species entries.
  • Within the regulations, they refer to other sections by number. They should use the numbers as links, making navigating the regulations easier.
  • As suggested by Ken, alternate languages should be available. There are a lot of immigrant communities in California, which could make the initial investment expensive, but since the regulations generally don't change much from year to year, it shouldn't be too expensive in the long run.
Steve