Q: Is the monarch butterfly now listed as endangered?
A: In July 2022, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) re-classified the migratory monarch butterfly as endangered on its “red list.” It had previously been classified as declining. IUCN’s action will help draw attention to the causes of the monarch’s decline, including habitat loss, climate change and pesticide exposure. The decrease has been steeper in the western population that overwinters in California than in the eastern population that overwinters in Mexico.
However, the IUCN classification does not translate to legal or regulatory protections for the species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that listing monarchs under the Federal Endangered Species Act would be warranted but is precluded due to other high priority species. Currently, the monarch is scheduled to be federally listed in 2024. Monarchs are not listed as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The process for CESA listing can be found at fgc.ca.gov/cesa.
In early 2022, new data showed that overwintering numbers for western monarch butterflies increased to almost 250,000. While these numbers are encouraging, this one-year trend does not represent a full recovery given that historically monarchs numbered in the millions along the California coast.
Nevertheless, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) remains cautiously optimistic and inspired to build on the past year’s success. We are focused on improving management of CDFW-owned overwintering sites, increasing the availability of early-season native milkweed to support first generation monarchs, and enhancing collaboration with state and federal partners to catalyze monarch conservation throughout California.
For more information visit CDFW’s monarch butterfly webpage which includes a section on frequently asked questions.
Q: When fishing for salmon, is it legal to use a jig over three ounces with treble hooks or does it have to be a single hook?
A: In the scenario you described, the angler would have to use a single hook only and not a treble hook. It is unlawful to use any multiple hook or more than one single hook on non-buoyant artificial lures exceeding one ounce. This information is covered in pages 17-18 of the California Freshwater Sportfishing Regulations. The regulation is designed to prevent the snagging of salmon.
Q: Is it legal to gaff a California halibut as long as it’s longer than the 22-inch minimum size limit? I’m curious about this for boating and shore fishing.
A: Yes, you may gaff legal-sized halibut. Gaffs may be used to land most species that are equal to or greater than the minimum size limit, per California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14, section 28.65(d). Gaffs are not allowed for the take of species that have a defined, allowed method of take or have a prohibition on snagging. Examples include, but are not limited to, sturgeon and striped bass. Section 28.65(d) also specifies that a landing net with an opening diameter of 18 inches or greater must be aboard when fishing from a boat or floating device in ocean waters.
For additional information see CDFW’s fact sheet on handling short halibut.
Q: I live in the north Bay Area and heard about a bear sighting in a residential area. What should I do if I see a bear?
A: If you see a bear in an urban area, we suggest notifying local law enforcement or your CDFW regional office. Your local police or sheriff’s department will be in the best position to respond quickly and secure the area if there is a public safety issue. Local law enforcement can also contact CDFW and animal control authorities for assistance. That being said, the appropriate response to seeing a bear depends on the situation.
• Note that when bears enter urban areas, they’re usually looking for food. The best way to keep a bear away from your property is to eliminate all attractants like unsecured garbage and pet food. For more tips, visit CDFW’s Human-Wildlife Conflicts Program webpage.
• Seeing a bear on the outskirts of town in a less populated area might warrant a call to your local police or sheriff department’s non-emergency number. You might consider programming your local law enforcement non-emergency phone number into your phone.
• If there’s a possible threat to public safety, call 911. For example, seeing a bear walking through a heavily populated area would warrant a 911 call.
• If an animal has damaged your property or you want to report an encounter with a bear, you may submit a wildlife incident report online to CDFW via the statewide Wildlife Incident Reporting System.
If you have a question you would like to see answered in the California Outdoors Q and A column, email it to CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.