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Old 03-18-2010, 08:17 AM
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Default Striped Bass Eradication Bill to be Heard on April 13

by Dan Bacher Indybay.org - Link
Wednesday Mar 17th, 2010 8:14 AM
Everybody who cares about striped bass and other collapsing fish populations on the embattled California Delta should attend the Committee hearing on April 13 and write letters to show their opposition to Fuller's striped bass eradication bill.

Striped bass, rather than being a "cause" of the Delta smelt and Central Valley salmon population crash, are victims of the same massive water exports and agribusiness pollution that have resulted in the collapse of salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, green sturgeon and other Delta fish populations. An alarming report released by UC Davis Professor David Ostrach in 2008 documented the maternal transfer of pollutants to striped bass fry in Central Valley rivers and the California Delta, resulting in stunted and deformed fry (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/12/08/18554034.php).

Photo: The top fish is a normal striped bass larva from a hatchery mother. The bottom fish is an abnormal striped bass larva from a river mother. The green arrows indicate areas of abnormal fluid accumulation, yellow areas indicate blistering and dead tissue, and red arrow indicates skeletal abnormality/curvature of the spinal cord. (David Ostrach/UC Davis)


Striped Bass Eradication Bill to be Heard on April 13

Huge Turnout Needed to Stop Big Ag from Killing Delta Fish!

by Dan Bacher

The Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee will hear AB 2336, the "striped bass eradication bill" sponsored by Assemblywoman Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), on Tuesday April 13th at 9:00 am in Room 437 on the Assembly side of the State Capitol. Everybody who cares about striped bass and other collapsing fish populations on the embattled California Delta should attend this hearing and write letters to show their opposition to this bill.

"Here we have another back door attempt by corporate agribusiness to bypass the state regulatory agencies," said Mike McKenzie of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). "If they are successful using these tactics, they will soon be after every game fish in the state. As an angling community that does not support this bill we need to, once again, pack the hearing room and the hallways with as many people as we possibly can."

Assemblymember Fuller has introduced AB 2336 to "terminate the management and protection of the publicís striped bass fishery" that inhabits the Bay-Delta estuary, according to John Beuttler, CSPA conservation director. The bill mandates the elimination of all regulations that govern the legal harvest of the fishery thereby eliminating its sport fishing protective status. Even though this would virtually destroy the fishery, the author alleges this is necessary to reduce striped bass predation on salmon and Delta smelt protected by the state and federal Endangered Species Acts.

"This bill is similar to the one the Fuller introduced last year that was defeated by a coalition of anglers who care about the fishery and that acted in concert with sportfishing and environmental groups lead by CSPA," said Beuttler. "That bill was killed in its first committee hearing because the false arguments used by the author significantly overstated the impact of striped bass predation. Scientific testimony provided during the hearing made it clear that striped bass rarely, if ever, eat Delta smelt and that predation on listed salmon is so low that it does not impact the population level of the listed salmon."

Beuttler noted that this bill is different in that it calls for the elimination of ďthe program enhancement, expansion or improvement of the fishery."

"Ironically, such programs do not exist!" said Beuttler. "It also requires that the Delta Stewardship Council to establish programs to discourage the promotion of the Bay-Delta striped bass as a sport fishery. It further requires the Stewardship Council to evaluate predator suppression options and make recommendations to remedy these problems."

"CSPA finds it absolutely arrogant that Fuller and her billís supporters would advocate the destruction of this valuable public resource again!" continued Beuttler. "Why should they be allowed to usurp the professional management and legal authority the government has given the Department of Fish & Game and the federal fishery agencies to protect listed species? The fishery agencies and their scientists know a great deal more about the striped bass fishery and the impacts it has on species of concern. They also understand and what it means for fisheries to co-exist in a dynamic estuarine ecosystem."

Beuttler asked, "So, why are the billís proponents focused on destroying the striped bass fishery instead of dealing with the huge problems caused to all the fisheries dependent on the estuary for survival? Why arenít they fixing the problems cause by the state and federal water projects that have destroyed the estuaryís natural hydrology and the resiliency of its ecosystem? Why arenít they immediately reducing the significant over allocation of the publicís water exported out of the Delta?"

The billís supporters all appear to be agribusiness interests dependent on water exported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. This attack is simply another cynical way to misdirect the government away from the real causes of the Central Valley salmon and Delta smelt collapse - massive water exports to corporate agribusiness and southern California, declining water quality and the failure of the state and federal governments to install state-of-the art fish screens at the Delta pumps.

The striped bass eradication bill was introduced as one of series of recent attacks by corporate agribusiness and their allies against Central Valley salmon and Delta fish populations. These include Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign to build a peripheral canal and new dams and Senator Dianne Feinstein's sponsoring of an amendment to bypass Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for Sacramento River chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, green sturgeon, Delta smelt and southern resident killer whales.

The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, an "Astroturf" organization that is comprised of San Joaquin Valley water agencies linked to agribusiness tycoon Stewart Resnick, has also launched a lawsuit against the California Department of Fish and Game to remove fishing regulations that protect stripers supposedly to "protect" Central Valley salmon and Delta.

Striped bass have successfully coexisted with salmon and Delta smelt since being introduced to the estuary from the East Coast in 1878. Stripers, rather than being a "cause" of the Delta smelt and Central Valley salmon population crash, are victims of the same massive water exports and agribusiness pollution that have resulted in the collapse of salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, green sturgeon and other Delta fish populations. An alarming report released by UC Davis Professor David Ostrach in 2008 documented the maternal transfer of pollutants to striped bass fry in Central Valley rivers and the California Delta, resulting in stunted and deformed fry (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/12/08/18554034.php).

CSPA is calling on anglers and the public to help us make another legislative stand by raising your voice in opposition to the Fuller bill. The Committee must have the letters by no later than April 7, 2010 ( the Committeeís FAX number is 916-319-2196 916-319-2196 )

McKenzie noted that there will most likely be (as before with AB1253 last year) no time for anyone to speak other than to line up at the microphone and state that one does not support the bill. "If we get a good turn out with lots of live bodies, we could have a fair chance of stopping this Bill at the hearing," he stated. "We also need as many people as we can possibly get, to write or Fax the Committee, letters against the Bill."

"I cannot stress how important a large turnout and lots of letters is to the defeat of this bill," McKenzie emphasized.

In addition to the sending a letter or FAX to the committee that will hear the bill, please remember the CSPA needs your financial support to continue our efforts to protect and restore Californiaís imperiled fishery resources. CSPA is a fantastic organization that constantly stands up in the Legislature, court and water board hearings for our embattled fish populations and fishing communities. Send what you can afford to support these efforts by using Pay Pal, http://www.calsport.org/paypal.htm, or mail your contributions to: CSPA, 6597 Cane Lane, Valley Springs, CA 95252.

A sample letter is below - using your own words to paraphrase the letter would be most effective:


Assemblymember Jared Huffman, Chair
Assembly Committee on Water, Parks & Wildlife
1020 N Street, Suite 160
Sacramento, CA 94249

Re: My Opposition to AB 2336 (Fuller) - Striped Bass Eradication

Chairman Huffman and Members of the Committee:

I am writing to express my complete opposition to AB 2336. Iím outraged over supporters of the bill who think they have a right to destroy the striped bass fishery owned by the public. This fishery has co-existed with all the fisheries in the Bay-Delta estuary for 130 years and it has collapsed right along with our salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and the other fish dependent on the estuary. Even in its degraded state it still manages to generate some $250 million annually to our stateís trouble economy.

The issues of striped bass predation should be left to the state and federal fishery agencies that are charged with managing the publicís fishery resources. These are the professionals and scientists who have the expertise know how best to manage our fishery resources.

It is time the Legislature sent a message that divisive bills such as this one will not be tolerated. Instead, the Legislature needs to focus on correcting the ecological crisis in the estuary that is destroying our fisheries, including the immense impacts of excessive water over-allocation and export out of the Delta.

I will greatly appreciate your efforts to help protect our priceless fishery heritage!

Sincerely,

Name
Address
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  #2  
Old 04-20-2010, 12:12 PM
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Default California stripers: good or evil?

California stripers: good or evil?
ESPN article
By James Swan
www.ESPNOutdoors.com

People wearing black and white striped clothes are generally referees or convicts. Fish that sport the same pattern, striped bass, are either one of of the great sport fishes, or according to a bill recently introduced into the California Assembly, an evil monster that needs to be eradicated.
When the first streams of white people crossed the Sierras and settled in the San Francisco Bay area, they found abundant steelhead and salmon in the Sacramento River system and in the ocean, but none of their favorite East Coast fish ó striped bass.
Firm and tasty flesh, good fighter, prolific breeder in the right conditions, and very catchable on just about anything that looks like a minnow or small fish, striped bass are a fisherman's dream.
So, in 1879, 132 fingerling striped bass were carted by train from the Navesink River in New Jersey and released into the San Francisco Bay. Three years later, another 300 fingerling striped bass made the coast-to-coast trip.
Stripers found an empty niche in the food chain of the Bay-Delta region, and their population quickly took off. By 1889 the population of striped bass in San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento River had grown so much that it was sufficient to support a commercial fishery that lasted until it was closed in 1935 when striped bass were declared a sport fish.
Stripers are originally anadromous, spawning in freshwater but living the rest of the lives in brackish or saltwater. The Sacramento River and Delta are prime spawning grounds in California.
Stripers spawn in water 61-69 degrees from April thru mid-June. Then they move down into brackish and salt water. Sustainable populations can also be established in freshwater if there are tributaries with moving water where the fish can spawn.
The California state record striped bass is 78 pounds, caught in 1910 by a commercial fisherman. The sport record is 67 Ĺ pounds ó caught in O'Neil Forebay ó freshwater reservoir.
In the 1960s, it was estimated there were three million striped bass in the Sacramento Delta. By the 1990s, the population had shrunk to 750,000 . Recent estimates have dropped to 300,000, although the bite in the Bay and Delta is still pretty decent.
Right now a lot of folks are having good luck with shiners throughout San Francisco Bay, according to Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Live Bait in San Rafael.
What happened to the most successful large fish transplant in the Bay-Delta history?
The same refrain that has been heard for salmon: water diversions ó the State Water Project and The Federal Central Valley Project, resulting in reduced water outflows; unscreened pumps that suck up and kill young bass and salmon; water pollution from industrial and urban discharges, fertilizers and pesticides; toxic chemicals and trace elements; dredging and soil disposal that silts over eggs and organisms; poaching; exotic aquatic organisms; Bay-fill projects; commercial Bay shrimp fishery; and diseases and parasites.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta area, which is the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast, has its problems, symptoms of which include dramatic declines in the king salmon run in the Sacramento River, and the Delta smelt, which is on the Endangered Species List.
These problems were spotlighted by the recent Salmon Summit held in San Francisco.
As if the stripers did not have enough problems, California Assembly Bill 2336 introduced by Assemblywoman Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), calls for establishing a new Delta Stewardship Council to develop a new management plan for the Bay-Delta.
This sounds good, but if you read further, it also calls for the abolition of protection for striped bass, (a non-native, and therefore "invasive species").
The author of the bill believes stripers need to be culled to reduce predation on salmon smolts that pass through the Delta, and the endangered Delta smelt. Reducing or removing the striped bass will take the blame for declines in salmon and smelt away from pumping water from the Delta for agriculture, Fuller believes, thereby freeing up more water for agricultural and industrial demands.
According to the California Sport Fishing Protection Alliance, "even though this (bill) would virtually destroy the fishery, the author alleges this is necessary to reduce striped bass predation on salmon and Delta smelt protected by the state and federal Endangered Species Acts."
According to CSPA Conservation Director John Beuttler, this bill is similar to one Fuller introduced last year that was defeated by a coalition of anglers and fisheries biologists. Scientific testimony provided during that hearing made it clear that striped bass rarely, if ever, eat Delta smelt and that predation on listed salmon is so low that it does not impact the population level.
To me, striped bass in the Bay-Delta region are like salmon that were introduced into the Great Lakes after an invasive species, lamprey eels, decimated native lake trout. Someone realized that there was an empty niche in the food chain that could be filled by a valuable species from someplace else, and the result has been a boon to recreational sport fishing, while the native lake trout population slowly has come back.
Whenever such wise transplants are made, it's crucial to insure that native species are not decimated by the new species. Think what has happened with nutria, kudzu vine, Burmese pythons, starlings, English sparrows, etc.
The Central Valley of Sacramento is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the US. Assemblywoman Fuller represents the views of some of those farmers in her district who are making a lot of noise about reduced water diversions from the Delta to feed water hungry Central Valley agriculture. In politics it helps to have a villain, but striped bass are not the bad guys.
Stripers, salmon and smelt have been getting along just fine for over 100 years in the Bay-Delta area. The striped bass fishery has collapsed right along with salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and the other fish dependent on the Bay-Delta, because the Bay-Delta ecosystem has some serious water quality and quantity problems.
Even in its degraded state, the striped bass fishery still manages to generate some $250 million annually to the state economy.
Don't blame the fish! This is a human problem about conflicting water uses.
If you would like to have your thoughts on AB 2336 known, you can take an online survey about striped bass at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/37KRVG7 and find more details on what to do at CSPA website.
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Old 04-20-2010, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: Striped Bass Eradication Bill to be Heard on April 13

Ok - so dont get involved.
Thank you for all those who did.
The bill has been ammended

Document associated with AB2366

BILL NUMBER: AB 2336 AMENDED
BILL TEXT


AB 2336 as introduced
AB 2336 as ammended
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY APRIL 19, 2010
The striped bass part of the bill has been ammended to reflect strikethroughs on the bill

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE: 04/19/2010
LAST HIST. ACTION : Read second time and amended.
COMM. LOCATION : ASM WATER, PARKS AND WILDLIFE
COMM. ACTION DATE : 04/13/2010
COMM. ACTION : Do pass as amended and be re-referred to the Committee
on Appropriations.
COMM. VOTE SUMMARY : Ayes: 10 Noes: 01 PASS
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