All posts by korr2013

CDFW Wildlife Officers Arrest Three for Poaching Succulents in Humboldt County

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers have made another arrest this week in their ongoing battle against a rising poaching trend on the north coast of northern California with international connections.

CDFW arrested Taehun Kim, 52, and Taeyun Kim, 46, both of Korea, and Liu Fengxia, 37, of China for poaching over 2,300 Dudleya succulent plants near Trinidad in Humboldt County. Charges include illegal take of the plants and felony conspiracy, among others.

Poachers profit financially from the illegal take of Dudleya by stripping plants from sea cliffs and shipping them overseas to other countries, including Korea, China and Japan, where they are prized by some for decorative purposes. On April 4, wildlife officers intercepted and seized 1,334 of the plants in boxes on their way to be shipped overseas. An additional 1,000 Dudleya were found in the suspects’ hotel room during the service of the search warrant. The overseas market value of the plants is between $40 to $50 per plant, resulting in a conservative value estimate of over $90,000.

The removal of Dudleya can result in environmental degradation of habitat and a destabilization of bluffs and cliffs on the coastline. Illegal harvesting is also alarming because California hosts a number of Dudleya species and subspecies that are rare or at risk of extinction.

CDFW enforcement initially identified this trend earlier this year, in part, after determining that a man was shipping Dudleya out of a Mendocino post office to China.

In recent months near Point Arena, Mendocino County, wildlife officers cited three individuals for a series of misdemeanor violations including illegal take and trespassing. The charges were elevated by the Mendocino District Attorney to felony conspiracy and grand theft, based upon the value of stolen plants.

On Jan. 29, one man was apprehended with approximately 50 succulents, and on March 6, two men were cited after being apprehended with 1,400 succulents. The individual in the January incident pleaded guilty to the illegal take of plants and received a sentence that included three years of probation, a $5,000 fine and 240 hours of community service. The March case is pending.

“We have seen a remarkable amount of concern over this from botanists and the public alike,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement. “A public tip started this investigation and ultimately uncovered an international conspiracy to poach Dudleya succulents and ship them overseas for profit. A critical part of the Department’s mission is to protect and manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.”

Law enforcement personnel from the U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and East Bay Regional Parks, in addition to representatives of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), U.C. Santa Cruz Botany Department and local citizens, assisted with the investigation. CDFW personnel have replanted the seized succulents in the areas where taken whenever possible with assistance from CNPS and U.C. Santa Cruz botany experts.

Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text to tip411. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.

Media Contacts:
Capt. John Lawson, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 804-8195
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692

Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens May 1

The 2018 recreational Pacific halibut fishery will commence Tuesday, May 1 for the first of four open periods. The season’s dates will be May 1-June 15, July 1-15, August 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier.

The 2018 recreational Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 30,940 pounds – about 4,000 pounds less than the 2017 quota.

Since 2015, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has managed the Pacific halibut fishery to keep catches within the state’s recreational fishery quota. The open dates are not guaranteed days, and the fishery could be closed early if it is determined that projected catches will exceed the California quota.

Again this year, CDFW will monitor catches of Pacific halibut during the season and provide catch projection updates on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage (see link below). If the cumulative catch is expected to reach or exceed the quota prior to Oct. 31, a closure date will be determined and the public will be notified.

For the first time, state Pacific halibut regulations will automatically conform to federal regulations using the new process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95.  Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in the Federal Register (83 FR 13090) on March 26, 2018, and are effective as of March 24, 2018.

Season dates were chosen based on input CDFW received from an online survey that was conducted in February 2018. The open dates are expected to meet the goal of providing as much opportunity to fish for Pacific halibut throughout the season while remaining within California’s limit.

Public notification of any in-season change is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific halibut hotline. Before engaging in any fishing activity for Pacific halibut, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date information:

Media Contacts:
Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2814
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

North Coast Red Abalone Fishery Closed for 2018

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers that the north coast red abalone fishery will be closed in 2018. In December 2017, the Fish and Game Commission voted to close the 2018 season. The closure is the result of extreme environmental conditions, including a widespread collapse of northern California kelp forests (https://cdfwmarine.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/perfect-storm-decimates-kelp/).

CDFW surveys in 2017 found low abalone abundance, starving abalone and many fresh empty shells, which indicate recent high abalone mortality.

The reopening of the fishery will be determined by the new Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan (RAFMP) currently being developed under the direction of the Fish and Game Commission. The California Fish and Game Commission will be discussing the RAFMP at their April 18-19, 2018 meeting in Ventura.

Jerry Kashiwada, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 964-5791
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Construction Set To Begin on New Boat-Launch Facility at Trout Lake

The construction of a new boat-launch facility is scheduled to begin May 15 at Trout Lake in Siskiyou County. This project will make access to Trout Lake easier and safer for anglers and other recreationalists.

In February 2017, the Wildlife Conservation Board awarded the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) $900,000 for improvements to fishing access to Shasta Valley Wildlife Area, located approximately eight miles east of Yreka.

Beginning on May 15, the existing boat launch facility, which is located in the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area, will be closed for three months for construction. Trout Lake will remain open to fishing but access will be temporarily reduced. Access to both the Trout Lake boat-launching facility and the adjacent parking lot (No. 6) will be closed, but anglers and visitors can park in parking lot No. 5 to access Trout Lake. Anglers can use kayaks, canoes and float tubes, but they must be carried in from parking lot No. 5.

The wildlife area attracts approximately 12,000 visitors per year, and Trout Lake is a popular destination for anglers hoping to catch trophy Eagle Lake rainbow trout and largemouth bass. The construction of the new boat-launch facility will include a new concrete boat ramp, a floating dock, an American with Disabilities Act-accessible fishing platform and paved parking. There is also an additional planned phase of construction at the wildlife area to rebuild the main access bridge, including a pedestrian lane, across the Little Shasta River.

This year, Trout Lake will open to fishing on April 28 and will close on Sept. 26. Fishing is only allowed on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. All regular Trout Lake angling rules will apply. Special angling limits at Trout Lake are two trout of any size and one largemouth bass over 22 inches per day.

Angling on Bass Lake, the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area’s other fishing destination, will not be impacted by construction at Trout Lake.

For more information on the wildlife area, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/shasta-valley-wa.

Media Contacts:
Patrick Graham, CDFW Northern Region Lands, (530) 459-3926
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications (916) 322-8958

 

2018 Invasive Species Youth Art Contest Kicks Off with “Pledge to Not Spread” Theme

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites young artists and future biologists to enter the 2018 California Invasive Species Youth Art Contest. This year’s theme is “Pledge to Not Spread!”

  • Youths in grades two through 12 are eligible to enter the annual contest and all types of media are welcome and encouraged – drawings, paintings, animations, comic strips, videos, public service announcements, etc. Entries should depict what Californians could do to stop the spread of invasive species, along with appropriate messaging (for example, a written pledge to not release pets).
  • A public service announcement or poster explaining the risk of a particular species.
  • Instructions for cleaning hiking boots, boat or fishing gear.

Winners will be chosen in three divisions: grades 2-4, 5-8 and 9-12. Winners from each division will receive awards and have their artwork displayed on CDFW’s Invasive Species Action Week webpage. The submission judged best overall will receive the “Invasive Species Program Choice” Award.

The deadline for submissions is May 4, and they may be sent by either email or regular mail. The entry form and the contest announcement flyer can be viewed at www.wildlife.ca.gov/cisaw.

The art contest is sponsored by CDFW’s Invasive Species Program as part of the fifth annual California Invasive Species Action Week (CISAW) June 2-10. The goal of CISAW is to increase public awareness of invasive species issues and encourage public participation in the fight against California’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources.

With the art contest theme, CDFW plans to spread awareness about the potential for invasive species introductions through everyday activities such as hiking, fishing and traveling, as well as through the dumping unwanted plants or animals. For example, New Zealand mudsnails spread on fishing boots and gear have impacted native fish and invertebrate populations in many streams in California and the western United States. The release of non-native crayfish used as fishing bait has likely resulted in the decline of California’s native crayfish and impacted other species dependent on the habitat. Simple actions, such as cleaning, draining and drying your gear, are effective ways to combat the spread of invasive species.

CISAW activities across the state will include invasive species presentations and exhibits, invasive plant removal efforts, habitat restoration projects and the announcement of the youth art contest winners. Opportunities for youths and adults to participate or volunteer will be available through participating agencies, organizations and volunteer groups, with information and details to be provided on the CISAW webpage.

More information about CDFW’s Invasive Species Program, including examples of invasive species currently affecting California’s wildlands, is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives.

Media Contacts:
Rachael Klopfenstein, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-3122
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958