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 CSPA Action Alert 3-8-10

 

Legislation to Eradicate the
Striped Bass Fishery Re-Introduced!

 

By John Beuttler, CSPA Conservation Director

March 8, 2010 -- Assemblymember Fuller has introduced AB 2336 to terminate the management and protection of the publicís striped bass fishery that inhabits the Bay-Delta estuary. The bill mandates the elimination of all regulations that govern the legal harvest of the fishery thereby eliminating its sport fishing protective status. Even though this would virtually destroy the fishery, the author alleges this is necessary to reduce striped bass predation on salmon and Delta smelt protected by the state and federal Endangered Species Acts.
 
This bill is similar to the one the Fuller introduced last year that was defeated by a coalition of anglers who care about the fishery and that acted in concert with sportfishing and environmental groups lead by CSPA. That bill was killed in its first committee hearing because the false arguments used by the author significantly overstated the impact of striped bass predation. Scientific testimony provided during the hearing made it clear that striped bass rarely, if ever, eat Delta smelt and that predation on listed salmon is so low that it does not impact the population level of the listed salmon.
 
This bill is different in that it calls for the elimination of ďthe program enhancement, expansion or improvement of the fisheryĒ. Ironically, such programs do not exist! It also requires that the Delta Stewardship Council to establish programs to discourage the promotion of the Bay-Delta striped bass as a sport fishery. It further requires the Stewardship Council to evaluate predator suppression options and make recommendations to remedy these problems. 
 
CSPA finds it absolutely arrogant that Fuller and her billís supporters would advocate the destruction of this valuable public resource again! Why should they be allowed to usurp the professional management and legal authority the government has given the Department of Fish & Game and the federal fishery agencies to protect listed species? The fishery agencies and their scientists know a great deal more about the striped bass fishery and the impacts it has on species of concern. They also understand and what it means for fisheries to co-exist in a dynamic estuarine ecosystem.
 
So, why are the billís proponents focused on destroying the striped bass fishery instead of dealing with the huge problems caused to all the fisheries dependent on the estuary for survival? Why arenít they fixing the problems cause by the state and federal water projects that have destroyed the estuaryís natural hydrology and the resiliency of its ecosystem? Why arenít they immediately reducing the significant over allocation of the publicís water exported out of the Delta?
 
The billís supporters all seem to be dependent on water exported from the Delta and this attack is simply another way to misdirect the government away from the real impacts associated with the development of the publicís Delta water supplies.
 
CSPA is calling on anglers and the public to help us make another legislative stand by raising your voice in opposition to this bill. In addition to the sending a letter or FAX to the committee that will hear the bill, please remember CSPA needs your financial support to continue our efforts to protect and restore Californiaís fishery resources. Send what you can afford to support these efforts by using Pay Pal or mail your contributions to:
 
CSPA
6597 Cane Lane
Valley Springs, CA 95252
 
Send your letters to Jared Huffman, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife (as addressed below), and be sure to copy your Assemblymember and specifically request they support your opposition to AB 2336 by letting this committee know of their opposition! The Committee Chairman is a strong supporter of the professional management of the publicís fish and wildlife resources, but we need a majority of the committee to oppose the bill.
 
Sample letter Ė be sure to put this in your own words. The Committeeís FAX number is 916-319-2196.
 
Assemblymember Jared Huffman, Chair
Assembly Committee on Water, Parks & Wildlife
1020 N Street, Suite 160
Sacramento, CA 94249
 
Re: My Opposition to AB 2336 (Fuller) - Striped Bass Eradication
 
Chairman Huffman and Members of the Committee:
 
I am writing to express my complete opposition to AB 2336. Iím outraged over supporters of the bill who think they have a right to destroy the striped bass fishery owned by the public. This fishery has co-existed with all the fisheries in the Bay-Delta estuary for 130 years and it has collapsed right along with our salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and the other fish dependent on the estuary. Even in its degraded state it still manages to generate some $250 million annually to our stateís trouble economy.
 
The issues of striped bass predation should be left to the state and federal fishery agencies that are charged with managing the publicís fishery resources. These are the professionals and scientists who have the expertise know how best to manage our fishery resources.
 
It is time the Legislature sent a message that divisive bills such as this one will not be tolerated. Instead, the Legislature needs to focus on correcting the ecological crisis in the estuary that is destroying our fisheries, including the immense impacts of excessive water development and export out of the Delta.
 
I will greatly appreciate your efforts to help protect our priceless fishery heritage!
 
Sincerely,
 
Name
Address