The State

Too many swordfish spoil the market, say California fishermen who have decided to strike in order to obtain better prices. "The markets have lowered the price down and down and down, and we can't make anything," fisherman Junior Gorgita said in Santa Barbara. He and other fishermen hired a helicopter to drop messages on swordfishing boats off Santa Barbara, asking them to return to port. He said 75 to 80 boats from San Diego to Morro Bay are involved in the action. Gorgita said he got $1.25 a pound for his last load of fish, compared to the $2 a pound he would like to get. Retail fish markets get $5 to $5.50 a pound for swordfish. But Larry Pender of Castagnola Bros. Fish Markets said the current retail price of swordfish already reflects the lower price paid to fishermen. At the beginning of the season, swordfish was selling for $8.99 a pound and fishermen were getting $4.25, he said. Pender said he is now paying $2 a pound to fishermen.

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