Jason Hoppin, SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL
Environmentalists are claiming victory after federal fishery regulators on Sunday tightened fishing restrictions amid evidence the sardine population is in steep decline.
The 7-6 vote brought unusual drama to a meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, which met over the weekend in Costa Mesa. California and Washington officials led the charge to set 2014 sardine fishing limits at the lowest level in a generation.
"This decline is fairly rapid," said Geoff Shester, California program director for Monterey-based Oceana. "A lot of people have started to compare it to the sardine collapse of the 50s and 60s."