At its Aug. 19-20 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 the recent meeting.
The Commission began a rulemaking process to extend the sunset date on the current recreational red abalone closure.
The Commission voted unanimously to notify the public of its intent to amend recreational take of crab regulations to provide additional whale and turtle protections in the trap fishery.
Also, commission members began a rulemaking process to amend regulations to allow, for a period of three years, both the unlimited recreational take of purple urchins at Caspar Cove in Mendocino County, and the unlimited recreational take of red and purple urchins at Tanker Reef in Monterey County.
The Commission determined that listing Pacific leatherback sea turtle as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) may be warranted. This begins a one-year status review of the species and the Commission will make a final decision at a future meeting. During the status review, the Pacific leatherback sea turtle is protected under CESA as a candidate species.
After presentations from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the petitioner, and comments from stakeholders and the public, the Commission continued to a future meeting the consideration and potential action on the petition to determine whether listing western Joshua tree under CESA may be warranted. While Commission members expressed support for moving forward with the listing process, the decision was continued to next month to allow time to develop options that could keep critical projects moving forward if the tree becomes a candidate species. Commissioner Russell Burns recused himself from this decision. The future meeting to consider whether listing is warranted will be announced through the Commission’s electronic mailing list.
As a reminder, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting budget gap in California, Commission meetings through June 2021 will be held via webinar and teleconference.
The full commission – President Eric Sklar, Vice President Samantha Murray and Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin, Russell Burns and Peter Silva – was present.
The agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at http://www.fgc.ca.gov. An archived audio file will be available in coming days. With the exception of the special meeting that will be scheduled in September, the next meeting of the full Commission is scheduled for Oct. 14-15, 2020.