To: California Fish and Game Commission
I am signing this petition to OPPOSE the proposal to repeal the 1996 Striped Bass policy and adopted the Delta Fisheries Management Policy in its place.
This item is not something that is new to CA fishermen. We have consistently opposed proposals by various interests to overturn long standing Commission policy to enhance recreational fishing opportunities, including, and in particular, striped bass. Our experience with previous proposals is that they come less out of concern for the wellbeing of California’s recreational fisheries and more about the ability to manage, export and deliver water supplies to California’s Central Valley agricultural regions and Southern California urban areas.
Anglers like myself see this latest effort as more of the same, with the convenient scapegoat of historically low salmonid numbers as the justification. I feel that the Striped Bass policy should remain in effect and to help further promoting recreational fisheries. I also support the CDFW R3 program. One of the R3 priorities speaks to increased access and opportunity. This fishery is one of the last decent fisheries in California with good opportunity for all to catch fish. Please embrace it. These fish have co-existed successfully with salmonids for over 125 years in the Central Valley and Delta watersheds.
Specifically targeting non-native species as “predator control” is misguided and runs antithetical to the mission of the Fish and Game Commission. The FGC should be about restoring all recreational fishing opportunities, not picking winners and losers and making judgement calls about the relative values of one recreational fishery vs another. Besides, there are many structural and natural pressures that have led to the significant decline of salmonids, starting with the fact that we have prevented access to hundreds of miles of cold, upstream spawning areas when we damned the Sacramento, Feather, American and many other tributaries. Our primary USFWS hatchery is located on Battle Creek, which does not have enough water flow to allow for trucking and downstream release of those smolts. Add to this mix intense droughts, reductions in pulse flows, outdated hatcheries at the state and federal level, lack of spawning and rearing habitat, failures of the Shasta cold water curtain, lack of food and biomass in the river systems, all of which are far more pressing stressors on the system.
Please continue with the current Striped Bass Policy and continue to protect the recreational fisheries of black bass, striped bass and others.