California Fish and Game Commission Meets in San Diego

At its October 9-10, 2019 meeting in San Diego County, the California Fish and Game Commission discussed and took action on several items that relate to California’s natural resources.

The Commissioners unanimously adopted regulations to issue experimental fishing permits to support sustainable fisheries and promote innovation in California. The new regulations allow experimental fishing permits to be issued to those fishermen who participated in the 2018 box crab experimental gear permit program. Next year, the Commission will consider adopting regulations to establish an experimental fishing permit program.

The Herring Fishery Management Plan (FMP), and accompanying Pacific Herring regulations, were also unanimously adopted. The FMP formalizes Pacific Herring management strategies that are responsive to environmental and socioeconomic changes while also preserving the sustainability of the fishery within the context of the entire ecosystem. Among other changes, the regulations establish a recreational bag limit for Herring and allow for the regulation of the commercial Herring fishery under the Herring FMP.

The Commission also evaluated and discussed a state water bottom lease application from the Malibu Oyster Company, which is proposing to locate a shellfish aquaculture operation in Santa Monica Bay, approximately a mile offshore in Malibu. Preliminary considerations for the Commission included previous leases or uses of the site granted by State Lands Commission (of which there were none) and whether there were any known water quality issues (there were none at this time). Additional assessment of environmental impacts and public concerns still lie ahead. The Commission unanimously voted to allow the proposal to move forward for environmental review, tribal notification and public noticing. The proposal is still in the early stages of review and must gain many additional levels of approval, including from the Coastal Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies, before the project comes to fruition.

All members of the Commission were present at the meeting, including President Eric Sklar, Vice President Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Commissioners Russell Burns, Samantha Murray and Peter Silva.

The full Commission agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at www.fgc.ca.gov. An archived video will also be available in coming days.

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Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

CDFW Celebrates Contributions of California’s Hunters and Anglers on National Hunting and Fishing Day

National Hunting and Fishing Day will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 28. In conjunction with this annual observance, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds Californians of the plentiful opportunities to enjoy hunting and fishing in the state and commends them for their commitment to conservation.

President Richard Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1972. It is annually held on the fourth Saturday in September to promote outdoor sports and conservation. Shortly after this proclamation was signed, participation in hunting and fishing started to steadily decline in California and nationwide. Because of the important financial and volunteer contributions that hunters and anglers make to conservation and wildlife management activities, the decline in participation poses an ever-increasing threat to our natural resources. As a result, CDFW is leading the effort in California to increase participation through its involvement with the nationwide campaign to recruit, retain and reactivate (R3) hunters and anglers. The California R3 effort is engaging diverse hunting and fishing stakeholder groups to turn barriers to hunting and fishing into opportunities for participation.

California is the third-largest state in the nation and approximately half of its land is publicly owned. That translates into millions of acres of huntable public property on which CDFW offers varied hunting opportunities.

In 2018, 269,277 licensed hunters contributed approximately $26.2 million toward wildlife management and conservation activities in the state. Wildlife management and conservation activities have resulted in many success stories for various species around the state, including the Tule elk, wild turkeys, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Aleutian Canada Goose, numerous ducks, among others, over the years in California.

Fishing opportunities also abound in the more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers in California. The state features more than 1,100 miles of coastline that is home to hundreds of fish and shellfish species.

CDFW offers two “free fishing” days each year in the state, and this year prospective anglers received those opportunities on July 6 and Aug. 31. Fish production is also an important CDFW activity which in 2018 produced millions of pounds of trout for recreational angling.

Last year, CDFW issued 1.77 million fishing licenses and those licenses (including report cards and validations) generated $66.9 million in funding for fisheries management and protection.

Fisheries management and conservation activities have also resulted in numerous success stories over the years in California for various species around the state, including wild trout, landlocked salmon, Largemouth Bass and the Alabama Spotted Bass.

These management activities are funded by hunting and fishing dollars. In order to help increase the number of success stories and contribute to these important conservation and wildlife management activities, consider helping by signing up to take a hunter education course, visit the CDFW website to learn more about participating in fishing and hunting opportunities, or reach out to your local CDFW office or the statewide R3 coordinator to seek guidance on getting started.

Many hunting and fishing seasons are currently open and provide opportunity to acquire lean, antibiotic-free protein sources such as wild trout and other fish, deer, bear, dove, tree squirrel, rabbit and other upland game.

For more information on hunting and fishing opportunities in the Golden State, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov. For information on hunter education, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education. For information on how to purchase a hunting or fishing license, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales. For more information on National Hunting and Fishing Day, please visit www.nhfday.org.

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Media Contact:
Jen Benedet, CDFW Hunter and Angler R3 Program, (916) 903-9270

 

Registration Now Open for San Joaquin County Sandhill Crane Tours

Each September, more than 10,000 sandhill cranes descend upon the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where they spend five months roosting and foraging in a protected wetlands area just west of Lodi.

During their stay at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve and surrounding areas, the birds captivate onlookers with expressive song and unique social behavior, including a “dance” thought to be connected with courtship and bonding.

Registration is now open for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Sandhill Crane Wetland Tour, which offers guided tours of sandhill cranes in their fall-winter habitat. Guided tours, which begin Oct. 5, are offered mid-to-late afternoon during the first three weekends of each month from October through February.

“The sandhill cranes’ fly-in around sundown can be nothing short of spectacular. It’s a very worthwhile tour,” said CDFW Interpretive Services Supervisor David Moore.

Registration and additional information can be found at the CDFW Bay Delta Region’s Sandhill Crane Wetland Tour page.

The Woodbridge Ecological Reserve is also accessible at any time for self-guided tours. A series of informative displays are located at the reserve’s southern unit at 11154 W. Woodbridge Road in Lodi. Reserve staff recommend that guests stay through sunset to witness the sights and sounds of groups of sandhills returning to their roosting spots for the evening.

Please note that visitors who are age 16 or older must purchase a one-day Lands Pass or have a current hunting or fishing license in possession in order to access the reserve. Proceeds from Lands Pass purchases (which are less than $5) go toward wildlife conservation.

CDFW is also proud to co-sponsor the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival from Nov. 1-3.

Media Contacts:
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
David Moore, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 766-8380

 

CDFW Expands Statewide Sampling for Chronic Wasting Disease

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is increasing the scope of its monitoring and testing efforts for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in California’s deer and elk herds.

“While California has never had a report of CWD, increased testing is needed to establish with a high degree of certainty that there are no deer with CWD in California,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian Brandon Munk. “Keeping this disease out of our state is a top priority, both for wildlife managers and for hunters.”

CWD is always fatal to deer and elk, and is an ongoing concern for hunters and managers throughout the country. Once CWD enters a herd, it is nearly impossible to eradicate. Although there are no known cases of CWD being transferred to humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends not consuming meat or organs from any animal that tests positive for CWD.

CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory has set an ambitious goal to test 600 deer statewide during this year’s hunting seasons and increasing that number to 2,000 statewide in the upcoming years.

Continued hunter cooperation will be key to achieving the CWD deer testing goals. CDFW will set up check stations during the various deer seasons, and hunters will be asked to bring their deer in for the quick removal of a lymph node for testing. CWD testing of hunter-taken deer is voluntary, and no meat is taken.

Information about specific locations and times of operation of CWD check stations in each of the state’s deer zones and control hunt areas will appear on CDFW’s website. Hunters can also contact regional CDFW offices to get check station schedules. Some offices may also offer onsite deer testing.

Some professional meat processors and butchers throughout the state are also partnering with CDFW to take samples from deer at the hunter’s request. Hunters who may be unable to visit a check station or CDFW regional office for sampling are encouraged to ask their butcher ahead of time if sampling is available at the time of processing.

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Media Contacts:
Brandon Munk, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-1194
Nathan Graveline, CDFW Big Game Program, (916) 445-3652
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

tree squirrel

General Tree Squirrel Season to Open Sept. 14

California’s 2019-2020 general tree squirrel season will be open from Saturday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. Tree squirrels may be taken only in the open zone during the open season, from between one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. A map of the state’s tree squirrel hunt zones can be found on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website, along with the full tree squirrel regulations.

Four types of tree squirrels are game species in California. The Western gray squirrel and the Douglas squirrel are both native to California while the Eastern fox squirrel and the Eastern gray squirrel are introduced and not native to the state. These tree squirrels can be hunted in the open zone during the open season under authority of a hunting license in California. No other validations are required.

A fifth species of tree squirrel, the Northern Flying Squirrel, is not a game species and may not be taken. Flying squirrels are small, native tree squirrels that are seldom encountered due to their nocturnal nature and preference for mature forest habitats with complex canopy structure.

Tree squirrel population levels fluctuate from year to year based on prevailing weather conditions and the annual production of nuts, acorns and seeds for forage.

California received above-average rainfall during 2018-19, with a particularly wet spring season. “With a return to favorable weather patterns, and good acorn production, there should be ample opportunities to hunt tree squirrels this year,” said Matt Meshriy, an environmental scientist with CDFW’s Upland Game Program.

In recent years, approximately 10,000 to 15,000 hunters have reported hunting tree squirrels annually and their combined statewide bag has ranged from 50,000 to 75,000.

National forests provide some of the best opportunity to hunt tree squirrels in California. Bureau of Land Management lands and CDFW wildlife areas may also provide opportunity for squirrel hunting. Please note that nonlead shot is now required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. Please plan accordingly. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Meshriy, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 322-6709
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988