Category Archives: Fisheries

California Fish and Game Commission Meets in Redding

At its June 2019 meeting in Redding, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. Commission President Eric Sklar and Commissioners Russell Burns, Samantha Murray and Peter Silva were present. Commission Vice President Jacque Hostler-Carmesin was absent. The following are just a few items of interest from the two-day meeting.

The Commission voted to move the policy on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fisheries management from the Wildlife Resources Committee to the full Commission for further review and potential changes. Scores of Delta anglers were drawn to the meeting for this item because it includes policy regarding striped bass and predation concerns on salmon.

“We hear you. We see you,” Commissioner Murray told the crowd as she thanked them for their public engagement. Commissioners explained that in their review of that policy, they would consider the anglers’ concerns about lost striped bass fishing opportunity on the Delta.

The Commission voted 3-1 to accept a petition to list four species of bumble bees for protection under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The action  begins a one-year status review of the species and following that review, the Commission will make a final decision at a future meeting. During the status review, the bee species have protections under CESA as a candidate species. Commissioner Burns was the dissenting vote.

The Commission voted 4-0 to accept a petition to list summer steelhead under CESA. This commences a one-year status review of the species and the Commission will make a final decision at a future meeting. During the status review, summer steelhead have protections under CESA as a candidate species.

The Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division David Bess announced Jessica Brown as 2018 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year. Brown is Supervising City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

The Commission consented to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s additional acquisition of 487 acres to expand the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

CDFW Marine Region staff informed Commissioners that effective July 1, 2019, electronic reporting of landing data is mandatory for fish businesses with a multifunction license, fishermen’s retail license or the fish receiver’s license who are reporting the sale or delivery of commercial fish landings. Two outreach events are scheduled for next week to assist businesses with this transition:

  • June 17, 2019 from 2-4 p.m. at the CDFW Office, 32330 N Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg.
  • June 18, 2019 from 1-4 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Office, 601 Startare Dr., Eureka.

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The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

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

Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Prosecutor Honored for Pursuit of Justice in Wildlife Crimes

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Fish and Game Commission are pleased to name Jessica Brown, Supervising City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office as 2018 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year. Brown oversees the Environmental Justice Unit in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, which includes a team of superb prosecutors, all of whom are highly dedicated to the successful prosecution of fish and wildlife cases.

Jessica Brown
Jessica Brown, 2018 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year

“The Los Angeles City Attorney’s team of Environmental Justice Unit prosecutors, and especially Ms. Brown, have worked tirelessly to prosecute poachers and to send a clear message that poaching and trafficking of wildlife will not be tolerated,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Ms. Brown is a true asset to the protection of California’s natural resources and has displayed exceptional skill and an outstanding commitment with her relentless pursuit of justice.”

The following are just a few examples of her tenacious work.

  • Brown and her team prosecuted some of the first ivory trafficking cases in California, including winning convictions in the first two ivory cases to go to jury trial, since the Legislature strengthened the law to prohibit ivory trafficking in July 2016. The multi-week trials involved litigating a vast array of legal topics related to the recently enacted statute, including developing jury instructions, crafting complex pretrial motions and arguing numerous legal concepts during trial. Brown and her team demonstrated exceptional cooperation with wildlife officers, wildlife forensic specialists and the CDFW Office of General Counsel throughout all stages of these trials, from pretrial preparation through sentencing. “It was critical to prosecute these first ivory trafficking cases right the first time since it would set the stage for future prosecution of similar cases,” said Chief Bess.
  • Brown and her team were instrumental in the filing of complex cases related to interstate seafood trafficking. This joint law enforcement operation involved wildlife officers from California, Maine and Hawaii and resulted in several Fish and Game Code violations against numerous retail establishments. During the operation, Brown went above and beyond in conducting her own investigations into records violations, which significantly contributed to the successful outcome of this case.
  • Brown and her team prosecuted a recent high-profile restricted species possession case involving a monkey. Another case involved a convicted drug dealer who illegally possessed a tiger. CDFW and the Commission hope the cases will have long-term deterrence impacts and help educate people that exotic pets do not belong in unpermitted homes, owned by people who lack the qualifications to properly care for them.
  • Brown and her team have also regularly assisted CDFW wildlife officers with marine enforcement cases involving unlicensed commercial passenger fishing vessels, resulting in positive marine conservation benefits for the state. Brown understands the importance of California’s ocean’s resources and takes action against those who illegally exploit them for personal gain.

If all this was not enough, Ms. Brown and her team have shared their knowledge and expertise with fellow prosecutors by spearheading a statewide prosecution task force dedicated to stopping wildlife trafficking. Prosecutors around the state now have additional resources to facilitate successful prosecutions of cases concerning the illegal commercialization of wildlife, with significant credit going to Brown.

“I certainly understand why the CDFW and the Commission are honoring Jessica Brown as Prosecutor of the Year,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “I’m a big fan. Jessica’s determination to protect the environment and our wildlife – and hold accountable those who violate the law – is an example for all of us. My colleagues and I are inspired by her commitment, passion and hard work.”

As the supervising attorney for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Environmental Justice Unit, Brown’s steadfast dedication to CDFW’s cases has earned her the respect of wildlife officers and she has been instrumental in advancing the successful prosecution of CDFW cases in California. Her devotion to the protection and conservation of California’s natural resources makes her worthy of this recognition.

 

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Annual Trout Fest to Make a Splash at Hot Creek Hatchery

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites everyone to celebrate our state’s fishery resources at the Hot Creek Hatchery Trout Fest on Saturday, June 29.

“Fish hatcheries are a terrific family destination and Trout Fest offers a variety of free, fun activities that will interest the angler and non-angler alike,” said Hot Creek Hatchery Manager Michael Escalier.

The many fun things to do at Trout Fest include:

  • Touch a fish – Trout skin is slimy, colorful and cool. You can learn all about these things at the Trout Touch Pool!
  • Feed a fish – Watch trout jump for joy when you toss them a handful of their favorite food. Learn what trout eat in the hatchery and in the wild at the Aquatic Insect Activity.
  • Catch a fish – Try your new skills to catch your very own “whopper” at our Small Fry Fishing activity (for ages 15 years and under only).
  • Clean a fish – Trout are easy to clean and learn how as we clean your whopper at our Trout Cleaning station!
  • Taste a fish – Fish are delicious! There are so many ways to cook a trout! Here’s your chance to try a few tasty recipes at our Trout Tasting booth.
  • Form follows function – Learn how a trout’s anatomy holds the secret to their survival at the Dissection booth.
  • Paint a Fish – Make some fishy art at the Fish Print booth.
  • Join a school of fish – Learn angling ethics, techniques and helpful fishing tips from expert anglers at our Knot Tying, Rigging, Casting and Fly-Tying activities.

Fishing, science, art and cooking are only some of the fun and interesting activities Trout Fest offers. Local fly fishing groups will provide individual fly-casting lessons and demonstrate the art of fly-tying and catch-and-release techniques. CDFW wildlife officers will also be on hand to answer your wildlife-related questions.

Hot Creek Hatchery is located at 121 Hot Creek Hatchery Road, Mammoth Lakes (93546), to the east of Highway 395. Hours for all events are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Parking, admission and activities are all free. Gear and tackle will be provided (fishing is for kids 15 years and under only). No outside gear is allowed.

Additional information can be found on the CDFW website.

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Media Contact:
Jana Leiran, CDFW Hatchery Interpretive Services, (916) 539-6644
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

New Native Trout Challenge Kicks Off in 12 Western States

Deep in the West, under a secret rock in a cool stream, lies a prize worth finding. Anglers of all skill levels are invited to participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge and put the lure of the West on their bucket list. In addition to earning bragging rights and Western Native Trout Challengeprizes at the Expert, Advanced and Master Levels, participants will help the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) conserve 21 species of native trout.

The 12 states where these native trout can be found are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The state fish and wildlife agencies in each of the 12 states are partnering on the effort, along with the U.S. Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management and Trout Unlimited.

“California’s Heritage Trout challenge takes anglers on an amazing fishing journey across the state,” said Kevin Shaffer, Fisheries Branch Chief for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.We’re pleased to partner on this new Western Native Trout Challenge that encourages an experience across the western states, which will promote a love of fishing, our western streams and rivers, and these amazing native fishes.”

Native trout are the embodiment of the West. The wild rivers, alpine lakes and trickling arroyos — the fiber of Western geography — are the habitat for the redband, the cutthroat and the Gila.

The Western Native Trout Challenge invites anglers to help celebrate this legacy by catching native trout and char in each of the 12 Western states, at their own pace. There are three levels of achievement. Participants who catch six trout species across four states will earn “Expert Caster” rewards. Those who catch 12 trout species across eight states will earn “Advanced Caster” rewards. And those who catch 18 species across all 12 states will not only enjoy the adventure of a lifetime, but will also be designated as a “Master Caster” with rewards to match.

Anglers can get details on which fish to catch and where to find them by registering online at WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org. Registration is $25 per adult and is free for those 17 and under. The vast majority (92%) of the fee will go toward helping conserve native trout populations for future generations to also enjoy.

“We’re thrilled to be launching this fun way to support native trout conservation across the West,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “For every $25 program registration fee, $23 will go directly back to conservation projects that are helping native trout populations thrive. We want anglers to learn about these unique species and where they can go to catch them. In addition, catching the selected species helps conserve them by promoting angling and fishing license sales for native trout species, which also supports conservation efforts. It’s a wonderful way to help conserve these beautiful species, in beautiful places, at your own pace.”

The Western Native Trout Challenge is complementing a similar effort in some states. Anglers can participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge at the same time they participate in state specific programs, including the Arizona Trout Challenge, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Nevada Native Fish-Slam, Utah Cutthroat Slam and the Wyoming Cutt-slam.

Learn more, and register at WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org.

Follow the action on:

  • Twitter: @WNativeTrout
  • Instagram: @WesternNativeTrout
  • Facebook: /westernnativetrout

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) and a nationally recognized partnership under the National Fish Habitat Partnership program that works cooperatively across 12 Western states to conserve 21 native trout and char species across their historic range. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed more than $29 million in federal, public and private funds to serve 139 priority native trout conservation projects. WNTI and partners have removed 87 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,130 miles of native trout habitat and put in place 30 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout populations.

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Media Contacts:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

Lydia Saldaña, WAFWA, (817) 851-5729

Inland Salmon Seasons Approved at Fish and Game Commission Meeting

California’s inland salmon anglers can look forward to a better salmon fishing season than last year. A projected return of 379,600 spawning Sacramento River fall-run Chinook Salmon to Central Valley rivers has allowed fishery managers to return to a two salmon daily limit with four salmon in possession. This is a welcome increase over last year’s regulations, which restricted anglers to one salmon per day and two in possession.

The Klamath River fall Chinook Salmon ocean abundance forecast of 274,200 adults allows anglers a daily limit of two Chinook salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 22 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 22 inches.

“It is excellent that the predicted Central Valley returns are high enough to offer anglers the opportunity to take two salmon daily and four in possession,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer. “Klamath River fall Chinook Salmon returns are predicted to be above average, and that should provide good angling opportunity.”

State and federal fisheries managers crafted conservative ocean seasons to return even more Sacramento fall-run Chinook Salmon back to the spawning grounds than normal this fall. This is required under the federal Fisheries Management Plan because long-term stock abundance has fallen below minimum management goals after several recent years when spawning salmon returns were too low. Inland fishing seasons adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission reflect this ongoing effort to rebuild stocks while providing angling opportunity.

The following bag, possession limits and seasons were adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission at its meeting earlier this week.

Central Valley Rivers:

Daily limit of two fish per day and a possession limit of four fish. On the American and Feather rivers, the general season opener is July 16. On the Sacramento River below Deschutes Road Bridge to the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, the season opens Aug. 1 and closes Dec. 16. From below the Red Bluff Diversion Dam to the Carquinez Bridge, the season opens July 16 and closes Dec. 16. Chinook Salmon fishing opportunity was expanded on the Mokelumne and Feather River. On the Feather River, the season change will extend fishing opportunity by additional two weeks. On the Mokelumne River, almost 10 miles of additional habitat is open to salmon fishing.

Klamath River Basin:

Daily limit of two Chinook Salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 22 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 22 inches. The Klamath River adult fall run Chinook Salmon quota is 7,637 adults and the season opens Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31, while the Trinity River opens to salmon fishing on Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31. Seasons and areas with defined sub-quotas are subject to closure once the quota is reached in each subsection.

The 2019-2020 sport seasons, dates, locations, bag limits and gear restrictions will be published in the 2019-2020 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted on the CDFW website in May. Additional season information can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW’s ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479.

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Media Contacts:
Kevin Shaffer, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916)-327-8840 

Wade Sinnen, CDFW Northern Region, (707) 822-5119 
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1160