August 25, 2016

California: Anti-Sportfishing Proposal Withdrawn From Commission

On August 23, petitioners proposing to eradicate smallmouth, largemouth, and striped bass from the California Delta withdrew their petition from consideration by the California Fish and Game Commission. 

The groups behind the petition argued that with less water and habitat available to native fish, wildlife managers will have to find other ways to relieve and reduce stress on native fisheries that have faced decline in recent years. Under the proposal, the size limit on largemouth and smallmouth bass would have been reduced from 12 to eight inches, and the bag limit would have been increased from five to 10 fish per day. The daily limit for striped bass would have increased from two to six fish and the size limit would have decreased from 18 to 12 inches. 

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation joined a large group of fishing conservation organizations in the Golden State in opposing the proposal. In their letter to the Commission, the groups, which represent millions of sportsmen and women across the country, highlighted that the proposal is not based on sound science. The proposal to “fish out” bass in the Delta and elsewhere is predicated on the hypothesis that these sportfish have a significant negative impact on salmon populations – an assertion that has not been substantiated by the scientific community.

Each year, California’s more than 1.6 million anglers spend over $2.3 billion, supporting close to 36,000 jobs, and generating over $334 million in state and local taxes.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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