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Daily Reports is a WON service to readers looking for the latest and hottest news in the state and Baja. If you like to contribute a report we can immediately post after approval, e-mail pat@wonews.com
Recreational Dungeness crab and rock crab season closed!
SACRAMENTO — Following late checks on Dungeness crab off the northern California coastline that showed toxic levels of domoic acid, the California Fish and Game Commission held an emergency meeting Nov. 5 and voted to close crab season, which was scheduled to open Nov. 7.

California Fish and Game Commission voted on Nov. 5, just two days before the scheduled Nov. 7 opener, to “prohibit recreational take and possession of Dungeness crab and all rock crab from oceans water, including bays and estuaries, north of the Ventura/Santa Barabara county line.”


Closure of the fisheries shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and no longer recommends the fisheries be closed.


The Commission also directed the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to maintain a list of closed ocean waters of the state and update that list on Wednesday of each week by 1 p.m. It shall be the responsibility of any person prior to taking Dungeness crab to call the department's hotline (831) 649-2883 or visit the department's website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories to obtain the current status of any ocean water.


The recreational Dungeness crab season was scheduled to start Saturday, Nov. 7


CDPH, in conjunction with DFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September and results from the most recent tests showed that the health risk to humans is significant. CDPH issued a health advisory on Tuesday. OEHHA followed that with a recommendation for delays and closures.


DFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened.


Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, epilepsy, and can in some cases be fatal.


Domoic acid is produced from some species of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. Currently, a massive toxic bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia has developed, significantly impacting marine life along California's coast. Biologists tested crab from eight ports from Morro Bay to Crescent City, and determined that domoic acid levels are exceeding the State's action level.


Algal blooms are common, but this one is particularly large and persistent. Warmer ocean water temperatures due to the El Niño event California is experiencing are likely the cause of the size and persistence of this bloom.


Commercial fisheries are also affected by domoic acid levels. DFW has authority to delay or otherwise restrict commercial fisheries and is developing an emergency rulemaking under that authority. The commercial Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to open Nov. 15.


Dungeness crab season postponement recommended — high Domoic acid levels
SACRAMENTO — On Nov. 4, just 3 days before the scheduled opening of the California Dungeness crab season, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a health advisory warning individuals to avoid eating rock and Dungeness crab due to the detection of high levels of domoic acid. The advisory was followed by a recommendation from the Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to the California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to delay the start of the Dungeness crab season and close the rock crab fishery. These actions would apply to each fishery from the Oregon border to the southern Santa Barbara County line.

The OEHHA recommendation has prompted an emergency meeting of the Commission, which will take place at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 (agenda and meeting information). At that time, the Commission will consider voting to delay the opening of the recreational Dungeness crab fishery. The recreational Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to start Saturday, Nov. 7.


Also based on the recommendation from OEHHA, DFW will act on its authority to delay the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season. The commercial Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to start Sunday, Nov. 15 in most of the state.


Similar action will be considered by the Commission and DFW to close the recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in the affected area. Both recreational and commercial rock crab seasons are open all year.


"These are incredibly important fisheries to our coastal economies and fresh crab is highly anticipated and widely enjoyed this time of year. Of course, delaying or closing the season is disappointing," said DFW Marine Regional Manager Craig Shuman. "But public health and safety is our top priority."


DFW, along with the OEHHA and CDPH, has been actively testing crabs since early September. OEHHA announced today that consumption of Dungeness and rock crabs is likely to pose a significant human health risk as a result of high levels of domoic acid. DFW will continue to coordinate with OEHHA and CDPH to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened.


Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and can in some cases be fatal.


Domoic acid is produced from some species of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. Currently, a massive toxic bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia has developed, significantly impacting marine life along California's coast. State scientists have been testing crab from eight fishing ports from Morro Bay to Crescent City, and have determined that the neurotoxin has spread throughout the fishery grounds.


Algal blooms are common, but this one is particularly large and persistent. Warmer ocean water temperatures associated with the El Niño event California is experiencing is likely a major contributing factor to the size and persistence of this bloom.



12-month license considered by commission
F&G Committee backs license plan

 

SACRAMENTO -- On Sept. 22, the California Sportfishing League announced that the California Fish and Game Commission will consider a plan to transition the state from a calendar-based fishing license system to one that is valid for a full 12-months from the date of purchase.

At its Oct. 8 meeting in Los Angeles, the Commission will consider the recommendation of its Wildlife Resources Committee (WRC) to support in concept a 12-month license, despite objections presented by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Both Commission President Jack Baylis and Commission Vice President Jim Kellogg stated at the meeting that they believe switching to a 12-month license will increase license sales.

“The high cost of fishing has contributed to an unprecedented decline in annual fishing license sales,” said Marko Mlikotin, CSL’s executive director. “Our aim is to increase participation rates by making fishing affordable and accessible, which will have the added benefit of protecting jobs and communities dependent on outdoor tourism.”

At the WRC’s September 9, 2015 meeting, the California Sportfishing League introduced examples of states such as neighboring Arizona and Utah where the transition to a 12-month fishing license program resulted in an increase in fishing license sales and revenue. In 2015, the states of Maryland and South Carolina transitioned to a 12-month system, and numerous other states have recently adopted innovative marketing strategies designed to retain and grow fishing license programs. Despite a national movement to increase fishing participation through innovation, California remains committed to an antiquated system that has not undergone significant changes in decades.

“While California’s fishing participation rates continue to decline, the Department of Fish and Wildlife fails to recognize the urgency of reforming an antiquated fishing license program that funds fishery management, fish hatcheries and habitat conservation programs,” said Mlikotin. “There is no question that the failure to act will result in major financial problems for the department down the road.”

CSL is the sponsor of Senate Bill 345, state legislation authored by Senator Tom Berryhill, that includes several provisions to reform California’s costly fishing license program, including a provision that transitions the state to a 12-month license system.

The California Sportfishing League (CSL) is a nonprofit coalition of fresh and saltwater anglers, and small business owners devoted to protecting access to recreational fishing. Recreational fishing contributes over $4.9 billion annually to California’s economy, a major contributor to outdoor tourism and jobs.

To learn more visit www.SportfishingConservation.org  
Senate Committee Guts Fishing License Reform Bill
Supporters vow to restore 12-month license provision

SACRAMENTO — On Thursday, May 28, the California State Senate Appropriations Committee passed the California Sportfishing Stimulus Act of 2015, clearing the way for fish license reforms to advance to the full Senate floor.


Unfortunately, the Committee gutted a central provision of the bill that aimed to address California’s unprecedented decline in fishing participation and license sales. The amended legislation no longer includes a provision that would establish an adult fishing license that would be valid a full 12-months from the date of purchase.


“We are very disappointed that the committee gutted the bill, removing a provision that would establish an adult fishing license valid for a full 12-months from the date of purchase,“ said Marko Mlikotin, executive director for the California Sportfishing League. “This provision was critical to reversing California’s unprecedented decline in fishing participation, and protecting the communities and jobs dependent on outdoor recreation and tourism.”


A coalition, lead by the California Sportfishing League and the legislation’s author, Senator Tom Berryhill, is fully committed to establishing a 12-month fishing license.


“I am not giving up on creating a more convenient and practical license system, but this is clearly a set-back,” said Senator Tom Berryhill. “California’s fishing license purchases have been on a free fall for years. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has no plan to revitalize a system on which environmental and habitat restoration depend. This is an example of bureaucrats standing in the way of progress.”


“Efforts to reform California’s costly and antiquated fishing license program are still within reach,” said Mlikotin. “It is our hope that the State Assembly will recognize the need to abandon a fishing license system that has contributed to an unprecedented decline in fishing license sales. It’s time for California to embrace reforms that have increased fishing license sales and revenue in other states. We look forward to working with Senator Tom Berryhill and Assemblyman Frank Bigelow to make sure that California establishes a 12-month fishing license.”


As introduced, SB 345 aims to:


  • — Make an annual fishing license valid for a full 12-months, rather than just the calendar year.

  • — Create a junior fishing license at a reduced base price of $8.25 (not including special permits), similar to the state’s junior hunting license.

  • — Allow charitable organizations to use fish caught by anglers for charitable and organizational functions, and not subject the charities to fines if an event exceeds possession limits.

Support for license bill needed
License bill to heard May 18 in Appropriations

 

Needs on-site support


SACRAMENTO -- Senate Bill 345, the Sportfishing Stimulus Act of 2015, by Sen Tom Berryhill, will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee, State Capitol, Rm. 4203, Monday, May 18 at 10 a.m.


I am urging readers to support this bill that is endorsed by more than 25 industry and tourism associations.


“It would help as a strong turnout could determine the outcome of this bill,” said Marko Milotkin of the California Sportfishing League that is pushing this legislation that is long overdue.


Anglers can also help by visiting the League’s website, www.SportfishingConservation.org to join the online petition — and the group that has pushed this bill, Sportfishing Conservation, is urging its members to contact their State Legislators.


“On May 18, California could be one step closer to reforming a costly and antiquated fishing license system — beginning with a fishing license that is valid a full 12-months from the date of purchase,” said Milotkin.


Go to wonews.com for the link, or go to www.sportfishing Conservation.org for more background material for SB 345, including a list of over 25 associations who support the legislation: The link is

http://www.sportfishingconservation.org/index.php/the-sportfishing-stimulus-act-of-2015-sb345


A 12-month fishing license from the date of purchase is needed and we see no reason for the DFW to oppose this bill that would spur license sales. This writer once asked former DFG (when it was called that) Ryan Broddrick why a license that would be good for 12 months from the purchase date could not be instituted, he said the department did not have the digital capabilities to make the change. That was 10 years ago.


The DFW now has those digital capabilities, and it is time to make the change, and others.


This is the California Sportfishing League’s position:


The Sportfishing Stimulus Act of 2015 (#SB345), authored by Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte), provides common sense solutions to addressing California’s declining fishing participation rate which has dropped to dead last in the nation.


#SB345 would:

-Establish an annual fishing license that is valid for a full 12 months


-Establish a discounted junior angler license for 16/17 year olds (base price: $15.12).


-Kids under 16 would continue to fish for free.


-Exempts bona fide charitable organizations from possession limits for donated sport fish.


This would allow non-profits to solicit donations in recreationally-caught fish without being over the organization’s possession limit. For example, an organization may wish to solicit recreationally caught fish for a Feed the Hungry event. The same exemption for non-profits and hunted game was recently signed into law by Gov. Brown.

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