By now, most recreational anglers (and most Americans in general) are well aware of the nationwide effort by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to encourage the public to call fish "sea kittens," presumably to discourage people from wanting to stick hooks in them.
Just when you think this campaign couldn't get any stranger, it did. In a July 15, 2009 letter to California Director of State Parks Ruth Coleman, PETA Director Sarah King informs Coleman that PETA "would like to contribute funds to keep this California treasure (Pescadero State Beach) open in exchange for the right to change the park's name to Sea Kitten State Beach and the stipulation that fishing be prohibited on its grounds." The irony that Pescadero is Spanish for "the place to fish" has not been lost on the folks at PETA.
It's unclear, however, whether their proposal includes replacing the natural sand on this one-mile long State Beach with 1 million cubic yards of Tidy Cat.
On a more serious note, California is currently billions of dollars in debt and has looked at drastic measures - including releasing thousands of felons from prison and closing some state parks and beaches - to help dig itself out its budget crisis. The fact that our state is dealing with such serious issues makes it all the more insulting to this writer that PETA would make such a frivolous proposal to California's leaders.
Groups representing recreational anglers in California don't expect this effort to gain any real traction. However, they do find the concept of any private organization attempting to "buy" control of public lands for the purpose of dictating how they can be used by the public to be deeply disturbing. These groups are also encouraging California recreational fisherman to email Ruth Coleman at email@example.com to let her know that state beaches belong to all of us and should continue to be enjoyed by swimmers, surfers, joggers and fishermen.