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CSPA Action Alert: Legislation to Eradicate Striped Bass Introduced
by Dan Bacher
Friday Mar 20th, 2009 10:50 AM
Assemblywoman Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), at the behest of San Joaquin Valley agribusiness, has introduced legislation to eradicate striped bass in order to divert attention from the catastrophic impacts of water exports from the California Delta on delta smelt, longfin smelt, Central Valley chinook salmon, green sturgeon, southern resident killer whales and other imperiled species. Here is the action alert from John Beuttler, conservation director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance:
CSPA Action Alert 3-18-09

Legislation to Eradicate Striped Bass Fisheries Introduced! We need your letters and support!

AB 1253 (Fuller) Would abort the management of the public's striped bass fishery, open it to unlimited harvest, and send it to oblivion.

Apparently not satisfied that the litigation filed last year by agricultural interests will succeed, Assembly Woman Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) has introduced legislation to eradicate the fishery. She’s the front person for certain corporate agricultural growers and irrigation districts in the Central Valley that believe it is fine to destroy a public fishery to enhance their economic interests. They justify this based upon the contention that striped bass predation of ESA listed species impacts their ability to receive water from the Delta.

Unfortunately, their stealth attacks have gone unnoticed by most of the public, the state’s recreational fishing industry and anglers. But, don’t interpret this lack of awareness as meaning they are not deadly serious! They don’t want you to know it, but they are attacking sport fishing in the state because it has gotten in the way of their power play to eliminate anything they think stops them from getting water out of the Delta.

AB 1253 would prohibit the possession, importing, shipping, transporting, or planting of striped bass in any water within the state. It would fine any person who violates that prohibition up to $10,000. The bill would require the Department of Fish and Game to adopt regulations to carry out these provisions and it deletes all harvest restrictions that currently protect striped bass from commercialization. The bill would also delete the striped bass fishery from the fisheries for which Bay-Delta Sport Fishing Enhancement Stamp revenues are to be used.

The proponents of this bill justified their striped bass litigation in part because of their belief that stripers eat and caused jeopardy to Delta smelt protected under the Endangered Species Acts. When that misinformation was exposed as false based on the best science available in the opinions of the state’s foremost fishery scientists that include Peter Moyle, Matt Nobriga and David Ostrach, the proponents simply have change their propaganda to say the stripers eat salmon and steelhead protected under the ESA. However, the science shows the minute predation caused by striper bass is simply not a factor in the decline of winter-run and spring-run salmon and steelhead.

The science also shows that one of the most critical factors in the decline of the Delta’s productivity and its fisheries is WATER EXPORTS! But, instead of solving that problem, these pillars of industry have put a full court press on destroying fisheries that get in their way.

They don’t really care about the science, or about the collapse of all the fisheries dependent on the estuary over the past fifty years. And, they don’t give a damn about our state’s sport fishing industry that generates some $4 billion a year to the state’s economy, or about the salmon fishing closures and the destruction of the lives that hang in the balance.

They don’t care about you or your quality of life! They are conducting an undeclared war and you and the fishing you hold so dearly are the target.

Should they succeed in eradicating stripers, they will target the Delta’s black bass (largemouth) fishery, the smallmouth, American shad, crappie and any other fish that have a “non-native” status, because, like striped bass, they were introduced.

So, contact the Chairman of State Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and tell the committee this destructive legislation must be stopped! If you have a legislator on that committee, send them a letter as well. It doesn’t need to be long, or eloquent, but you do need to send it as soon as you can. The information below will tell you how to do it.

Follow this link to find sample letters and the addresses and E-mail addresses of the assembly members of the committee http://www.calsport.org/CSPA3-18-09a.htm. When you finished sending the letters, I hope you can make it your mission to get two of you friends, two fellow anglers, or family members to send letters as well. CSPA will lead the charge when the bill comes up for hearing, but without your letters we will not have the pubic support to make the outcome. It is time to stand up and be counted or else say goodbye to sport fishing as we know it.

John Beuttler
Conservation Director

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