Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition Issue 3902 Jan 3-17 - Page 28

26 Jan 3-17, 2020 VOL.39 • ISS. 2 Commission Postpones Adoption of Delta Fisheries Management and Striped Bass Policies A fter hearing from three scientific experts and over 40 Delta and Northern California anglers and guides, the California Fish and Game Commission in a packed meeting in Sacramento on December 11 decided to postpone adoption of a Delta Fisheries Management Policy and potential amendments to the Commission’s Striped Bass Policy to a future meeting. The next Commission meeting where this issue will be discussed is on February 21 in Sacramento. Commission President Eric Sklar said there was no need to make a motion on the policy at the meeting, but said the stakeholders and Department would continue on their negoti- ations to come up with a revised striped bass policy. One thing was made clear in the meeting – while the CDFW, Commission, water contractors, fishermen and scientists are largely in agreement on the Draft Management Fisheries Policy, they disagree whether to set a numerical goal for striped bass recovery in the revision of the striped bass policy. Hundreds of anglers, including members of the NorCal Guide and Sportsmen’s Associ- ation (NCGASA), California Striped Bass Association, and the NCGASA Delta Anglers Coalition, came to the meeting. The original striped bass policy developed in 1996 set a goal of 3 million stripers, according to Jinn Cox, President of the State Board of the CSBA. He advised against altering the striped bass policy without even knowing what the current population of stripers was. “No survey of striped bass has been made in 10 years,” he said. “We don’t even know how many fish are out there. Any decision made has to at least have a baseline. Changes to the plan shouldn’t be done willy-nilly.” The three top experts on striped bass in California - fishery scientists Dr. David Ostrach, Dr. Cynthia LeDoux Bloom and Dr. Peter Moyle - spoke on the need to increase and enhance the population of striped bass, a permanent part of the Delta ecosystem, along with listed fish species. In fact, reducing numbers of striped bass would likely have a negative impact on the ecosystem, according to the scientists. “I appreciate the efforts of the Commission to develop a holistic fishery management policy for the Delta and for striped bass in particular,” said Dr. Peter Moyle, Distin- guished Professor, Emeritus, Center for Watershed Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, UC Davis. “I encourage you to treat the striped bass as an important member of the San Francisco Estuary system, including the Delta and avoid actions designed to reduce its declining abundance even further. In fact, I encourage you to take steps to increase striped bass numbers because it would reflect a general improvement in the Delta ecosystem.” “I write this as an academic researcher, professor and author who has studied fishes of the estuary for nearly 50 years, including establishing a Suisun Marsh Monitoring program that has sampled fish on a monthly basis since January, 1979. One of the principal fishes captured in our samples over the decades is striped bass, which has given me an appreciation of their importance to the estuary’s ecosystem.” “The upshot of all this background is that regulations for managing striped bass should not be aimed at reducing its population but increasing it or at least stabilizing it. We especially need management actions that reduce removal of large fish from the system.” Dr. Cynthia Le Doux-Bloom, who formerly worked for the CDFW and DWR, mostly studying anadromous salmonids, told the Commission: “It is not defensible to blame striped bass on the collapse of the Sacramento River salmon population. Too many studies have shown that entrainment into the Central Valley and State Water Projects is the major source of fish mortality.” “It’s interesting to note that the Board of Fish Commissioners, the predecessor to the Fish and Game Commission was formed in 1870 - 150 years ago - the Board of Fish Commissioner’s first laws enacted were to protect the Sacramento River’s declining salmon (California Fish and Game 1933). It is important to note, that the salmon population was first recorded to be in decline a decade prior to the introduction of striped bass,” she stated. Dr. David Ostrach, Science Advisor for Allied Fishing Groups & Northern California Guides and Sportsmen’s Association, said, “Those I represent don’t believe there is a need for or resources available within the Department to implement the proposed Delta Fisheries Management Policy. Currently the Department has approximately 30% of the funding necessary to implement its current policies and resource obligations. How would this new policy be implemented with no funding or resources currently available?” “Those that proposed the initial version of the DFMP (The Coalition for Sustainable Delta and their allies) have no real interest in advocating for fair and responsible public trust fisheries resource policies. Rather they’ve made it clear in recent stakeholder meetings that their motivation is to ‘get more water for their clients.’ The original draft of the DFMP was completely unacceptable and would have likely resulted in the further decline or destruction of striped bass and other recreational fisheries.” We carry Lead Free Pistol ammo for However, we have the hunter who wants to carry his engaged in very produc- tive meetings with handgun in Lead Free Hunting Zones. stakeholders, Commis- Available in a variety of calibers... sion staff and Department staff with the under- CALL FOR DETAILS! THE LARGEST SELECTION OF AIR GUN PELLETS standing that there will be a DFMP policy adopted ON THE WEST COAST – GUARANTEED!! by the Commission. We 10% have come to a basic OFF! agreement on proposed “Burst Fire” .20 gram premium high grade airsoft bb’s 5000 count - now only $12.99 language for the DFMP. 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H, Sacramento, CA 95838 By Dan Bacher manner.” “Pitting one fishery against another as a cause for fishery Draft Delta Fisheries Management Policy populations collapse is a diversionary tactic The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has that has gone for decades and must end. faced, and continues to experience, declines There is no credible scientific evidence in pelagic fishes and anadromous salmonids. that striped bass, Black Bass or any Delta This policy is intended to guide management species is responsible for the collapse of decisions that could affect fish species and the estuaries’ once great fisheries. The other aquatic resources. The Delta Fisheries overwhelming majority of credible science Management Policy is below. points to water related issues (e.g. flows, It is the policy of the Fish and Game diversions, temperature, water quality), Commission (Commission) that: loss of habitat and contaminants as being I. The Commission and Department of the major stressors driving the collapse of Fish and Wildlife (Department) shall seek the estuaries ecosystem and fisheries. The to collaborate and coordinate with other focus of the Commission and State agencies agencies whose actions may affect with responsible for public trust resources should jurisdiction over species and other resources be on enacting responsible fisheries and in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) environmental policies that ensure the resto- and its tributaries as the Department manages ration of the Delta ecosystem which would Delta they manage fisheries, state and benefit all fisheries.” federally listed fish species, such as salmonids NCGASA Board Member and fishing and smelt, and other aquatic resources. The guide Jason Thatcher summed up the Commission and Department will provide feelings of many anglers when he said in his feedback to other agencies on any actions in one minute testimony: “It all comes to one the Delta that could have significant, adverse thing: which side are going to be on? Are impacts to California’s fisheries. you going to be on the side of the fish or II. The Commission and Department shall are you going to be on the side of the water strive to manage these resources holistically, contractors?” sustainably, and consistent with the direction After the meeting, Roger Mammon, of the legislature to protect, restore, and President of the CSBA, West Delta Chapter, enhance the Delta ecosystem. said, “In negotiations we moved ahead with III. The Department shall rely on credible the Delta policy, but still had disagreements the best available science (as defined by with the striper policy. We believe there Section 33 of the Fish and Game Code) to should be a numerical target, but felt that develop strategies and recommendations for before the Department could go ahead managing Delta fisheries. and listed species with revising the policy, they had to do an in the Delta. Using this information, the estimate of the current population of striped Department shall strive to improve habitat bass. There have been no studies on the conditions (such as water temperature for and striped bass population conducted in ten flows, water quality, and food) and manage years.” other stressors (such as disease, predation and “The striped bass are safe until the next prey availability, and competition) alleviate commission meeting in Sacramento on threats to promote recovery of Delta fisheries February 21,” said James Stone, NCGASA (where applicable). listed species. president. “Our organization is doing every- IV. Recognizing that listed species have thing we can to help preserve the Delta.” highest priority, the Department shall manage The move by the CDFW and corporate Delta fisheries listed fish species to protect agribusiness to revised the striped bass and enhance each species’ abundance, distri- policy and remove the numeric restoration bution, and genetic integrity to support each goal of 3 million occurs in the context of the species’ resiliency and (where applicable) campaign by the Coalition for a Sustain- recovery. able Delta, an Astroturf group funded by V. The Department shall manage Delta Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the owners of fisheries in a manner that provides for the Wonderful Company, to blame striped maximizing sustainable recreational angling bass for the decline of Delta smelt, Chinook opportunities while avoiding or minimizing salmon and other species when in fact the adverse effects to native and listed species, striped bass is also a victim of the massive species of greatest conservation need, and water exports from to agribusiness from the recovery activities Delta. The KFBK OUTDOOR SHOW 3819 1 Rated Outdoor Radio Show for 26 years! # with your host Bob Simms Fishing • Hunting • Destinations Conservation • History Dedicated to the Northern California Outdoorsman BOB SIMMS Listen Every Saturday Morning from 5 am to 8am CALIFORNIA’S LONGEST RUNNING OUTDOOR TALK SHOW!