California Fish and Game Commission Holds June Meeting Remotely

At its June remote meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from this week’s meeting.

The Commission acknowledged the sesquicentennial of the beginnings of the Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Staff had long been preparing celebratory activities throughout the year, but due to the global pandemic, those events were canceled. A video was shared at the Commission to honor the past 150 years of protecting and conserving fish and wildlife in the state.

After conversations with the petitioner and other stakeholders, the Commission continued to its August meeting the consideration and potential action on the petition to determine whether listing western Joshua tree under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) may be warranted.

The Commission and CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division David Bess announced Adam Kook as 2019 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year. Kook is a Deputy District Attorney in Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.

The Commission voted unanimously to notify the public of its intent to amend inland sport fishing regulations. The simplification of statewide inland fishing comes after immense effort by CDFW Fisheries Branch to clarify overlapping and often confusing regulations.

The Commission adopted commercial Pacific herring eggs on kelp regulations to implement the Pacific Herring Fishery Management Plan.

The Commission received CDFW’s evaluation of the petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network to list the Pacific leatherback sea turtle as endangered pursuant to CESA. The Commission will consider the petition, CDFW’s evaluation and public input at its August meeting to determine if it will accept the petition for consideration.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting budget gap in California, the Commission agreed that the remainder of this year’s meetings will be held via webinar and teleconference.

Commission President Eric Sklar, Commission Vice President Samantha Murray and Commissioner Peter Silva participated in the meeting. Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Russell Burns were absent.

The full Commission agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at fgc.ca.gov. An archived audio file will be available in coming days. The next meeting of the full Commission is scheduled for Aug. 19-20, 2020.

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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.

California Fish and Game Commission Emergency Meeting Will be Rescheduled for Next Week

Today’s emergency meeting of the Fish and Game Commission is being rescheduled. While the time and platform has yet to be determined, it will be delayed until next week.

Commission President Eric Sklar and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham made the following joint statement:Fish and Game Commission logo

“We are very appreciative of the passion we heard from those that were able to join this morning’s call. It is clear that the call volume was overwhelming and the technology wasn’t ready. We acknowledge that this is a challenge as we attempt to navigate new technology for meetings. We are frustrated by what happened today and are looking for a remedy now. We understand that many members of the public and media were unable to join the call and because we also understand the importance to many of you, we need to ensure that you have an opportunity to provide input.

“We want to make sure you know that we have received a great deal of input from counties and tribes, and we are grateful for that. You can always make comment for the record at fgc@fgc.ca.gov.

“We also want to make it crystal clear that today’s proposed decision was not about banning fishing statewide or locally. We are not contemplating statewide closure. The decision is to help prepare us to work with counties and tribes to make those decisions based on their requests. We are working on a tailored and surgical approach based on local needs and knowledge. We have already received some of these requests. Today’s proposed action was an effort to become more nimble and ready to react when asked by a local entity to act.”

When the meeting is rescheduled, it will be posted on the Commission’s website, sent out via listserv and advised to media.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission was set to discuss whether or not to temporarily grant authority to CDFW to decide whether to delay, restrict, or suspend sport or recreational fishing in order to prevent and mitigate public health risks that may arise when people travel for fishing trips or congregate while participating in available fishing opportunities. CDFW and the Commission have received requests from county representatives and local health authorities requesting delays to sport or recreational fish openers such as the Eastern Sierra trout opener scheduled for April 25, 2020. Because of overwhelming call volume, the call will be rescheduled.

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

trout in hand

Anglers Invited to Participate in Inland Trout Fishing Regulation Simplification Process

The California Fish and Game Commission will be hosting a special Wildlife Resources Committee meeting in Sacramento to discuss the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) efforts to revise and simplify state trout fishing regulations.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. at the Natural Resources Agency Building, Redwood Room, 14th Floor, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento, 95814.

At this meeting, CDFW will present its final proposed changes to the trout fishing regulations. CDFW staff will be available to discuss in detail the proposed changes and address questions on specific trout waters. Materials for this meeting will be available on the Commission and CDFW websites approximately seven days before the meeting.

CDFW is proposing to revise the current state trout fishing regulations as part of the Statewide Sport Fishing Regulations Revision and Simplification Project. The goals of this project are to reduce the complexity of the regulations, improve regulatory consistency across waters and align the regulations with CDFW’s current recreational fisheries management goals and objectives. CDFW hosted a series of public meetings around the state in the spring of 2019 to provide information and seek input on the proposed changes to the trout fishing regulations. CDFW revised the proposed regulations based on this public input including social, economic and public safety concerns.

CDFW is scheduled to submit the final proposal to the Commission in June 2020. The Commission will consider the proposal and take further public input beginning in June of 2020. Meeting dates and agendas can be found on the Commission’s website.

More information is available at https://wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/inland/trout-plan/regulation-simplification.

Persons with disabilities needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the public meetings or other CDFW activities are invited to contact the Accessibility Coordinator at (916) 653-9089 or send an email request to eeo@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Karen Mitchell, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program, (916) 376-1917

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Two men with ocean salmon catch

CDFW to Host Public Meeting on Ocean Salmon Fisheries

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend its upcoming annual Salmon Information Meeting. The meeting will feature the outlook for this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries, in addition to a review of last year’s salmon fisheries and spawning escapement.

The meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa.

Stakeholders are encouraged to provide input on potential fishing seasons to a panel of California salmon scientists, managers and representatives who will be directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in March and April.

The 2020 Salmon Information Meeting marks the beginning of a two-month long public process used to develop annual sport and commercial ocean salmon fishing recommendations. The process involves collaborative negotiations with west coast states, federal and tribal agencies, and stakeholders interested in salmon fishery management and conservation. Public input will help California representatives develop a range of recommended season alternatives during the March 3-9 PFMC meeting in Rohnert Park. The PFMC will finalize the recommended season dates at its April 4-10 meeting in Vancouver, Wash.

A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public engagement in the season-setting process is available on CDFW’s ocean salmon web page, wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon/preseason.

The meeting agenda and handouts, including presentations, will be posted online as soon as they become available.

Persons with disabilities needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the public meetings or other CDFW activities are invited to contact the Accessibility Coordinator at (916) 653-9089 or send an email request to eeo@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Pete McHugh, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2870

Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8933

North Coast Roosevelt elk herd

CDFW to Host Public Meeting to Discuss North Coast Elk

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public meeting on Monday, July 15 to provide information and receive input that will help biologists refine the management plan for the North Coast Roosevelt Elk Management Unit.

The meeting will be held at Lake Earl Grange Hall, 6820 Lake Earl Drive in Fort Dick (95538), from 3:30-5 p.m. It will be a drop-in “open house” format with staff presentations, including a status update on elk populations and current elk research studies in the management unit. The public will have an opportunity to offer recommendations for consideration in the update of the management unit plan. CDFW staff will also be available to discuss hunting and landowner programs such as the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program.

As potential regulatory changes are considered, other in-person opportunities to provide comment will be available at the California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee meeting in September, and at the December Commission meeting when potential changes may be formally proposed.

For more information about the meetings, or if you cannot attend and would like to submit questions or comments, please contact CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Shawn Fresz at shawn.fresz@wildlife.ca.gov. More information about CDFW’s Elk Management Program is also available on CDFW’s website.

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Media Contacts:
Shawn Fresz, CDFW Wildlife Program, (707) 445-7850
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988