All posts by ahughan

Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder to Open Oct. 9

The Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder on the American River will open on Monday, Oct. 9 at 10:45 a.m. The ladder is opening unusually early in the season to accommodate the arrival of returning adult fall-run Chinook salmon that hatched in the Coleman National Fish Hatchery (CNFH) in Battle Creek in 2014. Eggs from fall-run Chinook salmon that stray to Nimbus Hatchery will be returned to CNFH to ensure a healthy population of these fish for commercial, recreational and ecological purposes.

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“These fish were born at the height of the drought in 2014,” said Jay Rowan, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) North Central Region Senior Environmental Scientist. “They were trucked to the Delta as fry and released near Rio Vista and the San Pablo Bay as part of a massive effort to improve their chances for survival in a year of poor river conditions.”

Returning now as adults, many of these salmon will stray into the American River and not return to their home waters to spawn. The lack of returning fish will make it extremely difficult for the CNFH to reach their goal of producing 12 million fall-run Chinook salmon this fall to release in the waters below Lake Shasta.

CDFW is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), with the support of the Bureau of Reclamation, to collect eggs at Nimbus Fish Hatchery to assist CNFH in meeting its production goals and maintaining a stable salmon population on Battle Creek and the upper Sacramento River.

When the salmon reach Nimbus Hatchery, staff will separate out the fish that have had their adipose fin removed, indicating that they carry a tiny coded wire tag that records their hatchery of origin. Fish identified as being of CNFH origin will be spawned with one another, and their fertilized eggs returned to CNFH. Fish that have not had their adipose fin removed will be spawned and their eggs held until it is determined if they will be needed to meet CNFH production goals.  Fish that are not yet ready to spawn will have a colored tag attached to their dorsal fin and will be returned to the American River, where they will be available to anglers until they either spawn naturally or climb the ladder again and are spawned at the hatchery to meet the Nimbus Fish Hatchery egg collection goals. While anglers are able to catch and keep fish marked with these tags, the tags have no monetary value and do not need to be returned to CDFW.

Nimbus Hatchery visitors can observe salmon in the fish ladder and view the spawning process through windows in the Visitor Center. For more information about spawning schedules and educational opportunities at Nimbus Hatchery, please visit the CDFW website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries/nimbus.

Media Contacts:
Laura Drath, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 358-2884
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958
Shane Hunt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (916) 930-5604

New Regulations for Recreational Lobster Fishing Take Effect for 2017 Opener

As the popular recreational California Spiny Lobster fishing season prepares to open on Saturday, Sept. 30, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds divers and hoop netters of new regulations that will be in effect for the 2017-2018 season. The California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) adopted commercial and recreational lobster fishing regulations at its April 2016 meeting to support the implementation of the California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan. A summary of the new recreational lobster fishing regulations is provided below. All other recreational lobster fishing regulations, unless listed below, remain unchanged and remain in effect:

The 2017-2018 recreational lobster fishing season will open at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. The start time of the recreational lobster fishing season has changed from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. for safety purposes. Open season: From 6 a.m. on the Saturday preceding the first Wednesday in October through the first Wednesday after March 15 (CCR Title 14, section 29.90 (a)).

Hoop net buoys south of Point Arguello (Santa Barbara County) must now be marked for identification and enforcement purposes. Hoop nets used south of Point Arguello shall be marked with a surface buoy. The surface buoy shall be legibly marked to identify the operator’s GO ID number as stated on the operator’s sport fishing license or lobster report card (shared hoop nets can be marked with multiple GO ID numbers, or GO ID numbers can be switched out by using any sort of removable tag on or attached to the buoy, so long as the GO ID numbers are all legible). Hoop nets deployed by persons on shore or manmade structures connected to the shore are not required to be marked with a surface buoy (CCR Title 14, section 29.80 (b)(3)). Hoop nets deployed from Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessels must be marked with the boat’s Fish and Game Vessel ID number, and hoop nets provided by licensed guides to clients must be marked with the guide’s license number.

Divers may be in possession of spearfishing equipment while diving for crustaceans (including lobsters). Language on the possession of a hooked device while taking lobster has changed to provide clarification for both recreational divers and enforcement. Diving for crustaceans: In all ocean waters, except as provided in section 29.05, skin and SCUBA divers may take crustaceans by the use of the hands only. Divers may not possess any hooked device while diving or attempting to dive. Divers may be in possession of spearfishing equipment as long as possession of such equipment is otherwise lawful and is not being used to aid in the take of crustaceans (CCR Title 14, section 29.80 (g)).

Measuring requirements have been clarified in order to allow for measuring lobster aboard a boat. The change will allow hoop netters to bring spiny lobster aboard a vessel where they can be measured safely. All lobsters shall be measured immediately and any undersize lobster shall be released immediately into the water. Divers shall measure lobsters while in the water and shall not remove undersized lobsters from the water. Hoop netters may measure lobsters out of the water, but no undersize lobster may be placed in any type of receiver, kept on the person or retained in any person’s possession or under his or her direct control (CCR Title 14, section 29.90 (c)).

For additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about this program, please visit CDFW’s California Spiny Lobster webpage.

Media Contacts:
Tom Mason, CDFW Marine Region, (562) 417-2791
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project Draft EIR Released

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project. CDFW is the lead agency for the DEIR.

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CDFW, in partnership with the State Coastal Conservancy and The Bay Foundation, has spent years working with the public and envisioning a plan for the revitalization of the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve (BWER). The Ballona Wetlands were once a 2,000-acre expanse of marshes, mud flats, salt pans and sand dunes that stretched from Playa del Rey to Venice and inland to the Baldwin Hills. Today, BWER is 600 acres of open space that remains of the former wetlands and is owned by CDFW.

Today’s release of the DEIR opens a 60-day public comment period that is scheduled to end on Nov. 24, 2017. A public meeting is scheduled for early November. Information on where to send comments as well as detailed information about the public hearing are available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/5/Ballona-EIR.

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Fall Chinook Season Closed on Klamath and Trinity Rivers

CDFW reminds anglers that fall Chinook salmon fishing on the Klamath and Trinity rivers is prohibited beginning Aug. 15, 2017 on the Klamath River and Sept. 1, 2017 on the Trinity River. Angling for steelhead remains open on both rivers for the entire year.

Due to historically low stock projections of fall Chinook in the Klamath Basin for 2017, a full fishing closure was adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission earlier this year.

The fall Chinook fishing season is defined as Aug. 15 through Dec. 31 on the Klamath River and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 on the Trinity River. All Chinook incidentally caught during these respective dates must be immediately returned to the river.

Fishing for steelhead trout remains open in designated areas. The daily bag limit is two hatchery steelhead and the possession limit is four hatchery steelhead. Hatchery steelhead can be identified by a healed adipose fin clip (the adipose fin is absent). All wild steelhead (with an intact adipose fin) caught must be immediately returned to the water. Please consult the 2017-2018 supplemental sport fishing regulations for further information on open areas and gear restrictions that may apply.

The low projected stock abundance of Klamath Basin fall Chinook this year is thought to have been caused by several environmental factors, including severe drought and poor ocean conditions. Klamath Basin fall Chinook are managed for conservation thresholds and long-term sustainability, and the closures this year are designed to maximize spawning escapement to rebuild future population abundance.

The Klamath fall Chinook stock will be re-evaluated in the winter and spring of 2018, at which time a new forecast and potential harvest quotas will be developed for 2018 in-river and ocean fisheries.   Klamath Basin fall Chinook regulations are typically adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in April of each year.

Media Contacts:
Wade Sinnen, CDFW Northern Region, (707) 822-5119
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

 

Suspect Wanted for Attempted Murder of a Wildlife Officer Turns Himself In

Shawn Eugene Hof, Jr., suspected of attempting to shoot a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officer in August 2016, has turned himself in.

Law enforcement officers from CDFW, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office continued their focused effort to find Hof by visiting areas he was known to frequent.

“We believe it was this focused effort with our partners that prompted him to turn himself in,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “The Department thanks our allied agency partners for their efforts that began a year ago. We’re relieved that the situation resolved itself without injuries to our officers or the public.”

CDFW also thanks the California Wildlife Officers Foundation, California Waterfowl Association, Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Nature Conservancy, Sportfishing Alliance and private donors who collaborated on a reward for information leading to Hof’s arrest.

On Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, approximately 12:40 a.m., a CDFW wildlife officer was patrolling in Carlotta in Humboldt County. The officer saw a pickup truck with several occupants using spotlights on Redwood House Road near Highway 36. The officer attempted an enforcement stop of the truck when the driver sped away. A pursuit ensued and a person in the rear of the truck, believed to be Hof, began shooting at the wildlife officer during the attempt to get away. The suspects crashed their vehicle into a tree before fleeing on foot into the woods, where they escaped.

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office will assume the lead for deciding on charges then filing the case in Humboldt County.

Media Contact
Contact: Lt. Chris Stoots 916-651-9982