At its mid-October 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 meeting.
The Commission adopted changes to the statewide sportfishing regulations to make them more user friendly. The regulation is the culmination of years of work by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife including input from stakeholders to overhaul and simplify these regulations. This effort will result in a 52 percent increase in fishing opportunity in special regulated waters and open up significant opportunities for the remaining inland waters across the state. The regulation is expected to take effect March 1, 2021, after final approval by the Office of Administrative Law.
Recreational and commercial groundfish regulations were adopted for consistency with federal regulations.
Three new wild trout waters were designated as Trout Heritage Waters, while the designation was removed for one section of waterway.
The Commission heard from stakeholders about extending the sunset date on the current recreational red abalone closure, amending recreational take of crab regulations to provide additional whale and turtle protections in the trap fishery, and amending regulations to allow for additional recreational take of sea urchins. The items were discussions only and no action was taken.
In a unanimous vote, the Commission determined that changing the status the Mohave Desert Tortoise from threatened to endangered under the California Endangered Species Act may be warranted.
The full commission – President Eric Sklar, Vice President Samantha Murray and Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Peter Silva – was present. President Sklar announced that former Commissioner Russell Burns recently resigned from the Commission and the seat he vacated is now open.
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 agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at www.fgc.ca.gov. The next meeting of the full Commission is scheduled for Dec. 9-10, 2020.
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.