I don't target small yellowtail. However, the vast majority of yellowtail in California are between 4 to 12 pounds. That was the case 20 years ago and it's still the case today. What are you proposing for these fish, which are highly aggressive, abundant, and form the bulk of the summer attraction, as of right now? Make them illegal, and you are asking people to find an alternative, and I don't see many alternatives.To be decades it would have to have been before 1/11/98. The exemption for five fish under did not exist before this time it was 10 fish no size limit.This minimum came into effect because too many people were killing little fish. Now they are killing even smaller ones.
Argue about it and kill all the micro yellows you want or sack up and try to catch one that actually makes it a challenge.
In the last few years, every time there's been talk of a local yellowtail bite, the place became a parking lot. I saw over 100 boats on the horse shoe last year, when the Long Beach yellowtail bite was in full swing. I can almost guarantee most of those boats wouldn't be there, had it been illegal to keep yellowtail under 28 inches. Then what, sculpin gets decimated? Rock fish? Bass? None of these fish can handle the pressure that's currently on yellowtail.
It might be better for the yellowtail, sure, but how do you propose to transfer the current pressure that exists and which these fish absorb. This is a huge amount of money - through bait sales, boat passes, etc. - and fishing opportunities that are being given up, and the costs will be significant.